It's lonely at the top. Once you've crushed your enemies, seen them driven before you, and heard the lamentation of their shareholders, what more is there to aspire to? In other words, what does the world's biggest (and, many would say, "best") company do to top itself?
Apparently lacking any better ideas, General Electric
It's an ambitious statement, brimming with confidence, but also laden with risk to the company's investors, should GE become priced for a perfection that it ultimately fails to achieve. Even though it's not easy to discern the true dangers that could lie ahead in a conglomerate as vast and complex as GE, let's take a look at two possible risks to shareholder returns.
Risk No. 1 is that old Fool foil, and a stain on the reputation of otherwise admirable companies like IBM
Risk No. 2: getting paid. Companies facing tough economic times are sometimes tempted to resort to accounting shenanigans to keep sales rising, at the expense of making sure they get paid in a timely manner -- with Lucent
Does either of these risks represent a disaster in the making? For GE investors' sakes, let's hope not. But both bear watching, as GE strives to fulfill its ambitious two-year plan.
One column can never do justice to a company the size of GE. Read more about it in:
- InVision Sees End of Tunnel
- GE's Diversity Yields Strength
- How Do You Repossess a Whole Country?
- GE to Sell "Outhouse"
- GE Banks on Russia
Fool contributor Rich Smith holds no position in any company mentioned in this article.