The New York Yankees of the '50s and the Chicago Bulls and Dallas Cowboys of the '90s had one crucial element in common: consistent excellence in their organizations and performance. If you think such a rare accomplishment could never occur in your portfolio, think again. Carefully chosen dividend-paying stocks could be your key to superstar returns.

Build the next investing dynasty
These long-haul outperformers can help you build your fortune, as studies from investing gurus such as Jeremy Siegel have shown time and time again. Finding them is our Motley Fool Income Investor service's mission.

Procter & Gamble (NYSE: PG), for example, has returned 28% since February 2009, and it currently is rewarding investors with a 2.8% yield. Or consider Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO), which has climbed 27% since March 2009, atop a current 3.1% yield. While these stocks happen to be Income Investor recommendations, you don't need to be a subscriber to get these great gains.

Identify new talent
With the help of Motley Fool CAPS, we'll search for the best dividend-paying stocks around. Here are several dividend picks that have also earned high ratings from the 150,000 members of our CAPS community:

Company

Yield

CAPS Rating (out of 5)

General Electric (NYSE: GE)

2.49%

****

ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP)

4.17%

*****

China Mobil (NYSE: CHL)

3.16%

*****

ABB (NYSE: ABB)

2.12%

*****

Automatic Data Processing (NYSE: ADP)

3.26%

****

Sources: Yahoo! Finance and CAPS.

Any one of these quality companies would add some dividend pizzazz to your portfolio. Let's take a closer look at how China Mobile stacks up.

Does my dividend have a glass jaw?
The last thing we want in a dividend-paying company is the risk that the company will fall off a cliff and have to pull back its dividend. This usually ends up being a double whammy; you lose your dividend payout, and many of the dividend-loving investors who own the stock run for the hills, causing the stock price to fall.

With that in mind, there are three places that I immediately tune into when kicking the tires of a dividend payer -- dividend history, financial statements, and business stability.

Financially, China Mobile offers just about as much as a dividend investor could want. While its dividend yield isn't incredibly high, it offers the potential for growth, and the company's payout ratio remains well below 50%. The company does hold nearly $5 billion in debt, but it also has close to $40 billion in cash and equivalents, so I think we can say that the balance sheet is pretty sound.

China Mobile's cash from operations for the 12 months ended in June of last year was more than four times the dividend payout, and even with huge capital expenditures over that period, it was easily able to cover the dividends.

Meanwhile, as a telecom operator, the company has a very stable business, which should let it continue to pump out reliable cash flow year after year. As an added benefit, operating in China gives the company more opportunity for growth than major telecom providers in the developed world.

Is there anything to worry about? Sure. First and foremost, the company is still majority-owned by the Chinese government, which may not always have shareholders in mind when it pulls China Mobile's strings. Just last week, rumors started circling that China Mobile would make a near-$6 billion investment in Shanghai Pudong Development Bank as part of the countrywide effort to shore up banking balance sheets.

What the bulls say
While puppeteering by the Chinese government is a legitimate concern, the financial strength and stable business behind China Mobile could make the stock a worthwhile bet.

The CAPS community certainly seems to think that China Mobile's stock is a hot pick. More than 3,400 CAPS members have rated China Mobile an outperformer, while just 89 tagged it an underperformer. The China Mobile bulls include mattro88, who gave the stock a thumbs-up last month, writing:

Hundreds of millions of people more and more dependent on wireless telecommunications. China's economy continues to improve while the US is saddled with debt. Good time to buy because Chinese stocks have been driven down by overblown fears of a real estate bubble. Chinese individuals carry close to zero debt so bubbles have fewer repercussions than in the US.  

Get into the action
See who else has been bullish on these stocks, and chime in with your own thoughts, by heading over to CAPS. You may also want to check out a few of the other top-rated dividend payers above while you're there.

Dividend stocks could help you transform your portfolio from the flash-in-the-pan Florida Marlins into the dependable New York Yankees. And if you hate the Yankees, it's probably because they're so darn good, so darn often.

Want more stocks that deliver on the dividend front? My fellow Fool Dan Caplinger has five dividend stocks for the next 50 years.

Coca-Cola is a Motley Fool Inside Value pick. ABB is a Global Gains recommendation. Automatic Data Processing, Coca-Cola, and Procter & Gamble are Income Investor recommendations. The Fool owns shares of China Mobile and Procter & Gamble. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

Fool contributor Matt Koppenheffer owns shares of Coca-Cola, but does not own shares of any of the other companies mentioned. You can check out the stocks he's keeping an eye on by visiting his CAPS portfolio or connect with him on Twitter @KoppTheFool. The Fool’s disclosure policy pays its dividends in reliability.