It's easy to pinpoint an isolated trait of a successful company and declare that other companies wanting to be successful need to -- must! -- do something similar.
For example, Philip Morris changed its name to Altria
Strong management skills
But there are characteristics that can be singled out as having a direct bearing on a company's success. At Motley Fool Hidden Gems, we try to find these commonalities in our quest to unearth the most promising small-cap companies. Take strong leadership. While mediocre management can certainly get by when its company is selling products people want, it's when the going gets tough that the true nature of management shines. In such situations, people naturally think of the reigns of Jack Welch at General Electric
The recent announcement that Lee Raymond, chairman and CEO of ExxonMobil
Aligning interests with shareholders
Most Hidden Gems selections have management teams with established track records at the company and a personal financial stake in the business.
Igor Khandros, CEO at FormFactor
Exxon's Raymond owns some 3 million shares of his company's stock. He's certainly not the largest shareholder, but it is a significant holding that undoubtedly causes him to want the best performance from his company.
The Foolish focus
While there are a number of factors Fool co-founder Tom Gardner considers when finding the next home run stock, management quality, integrity, honesty, and length of tenure play a large role. As you consider the next company for your investment dollars, look "inside" to get a better view of things.
For related Foolishness:
Fool contributor Rich Duprey owns shares of Wal-Mart and FormFactor, which is a Hidden Gems recommendation. He does not own any of the other stocks mentioned in this article. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy.