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Top Secret

What do the leaders of top companies have in common? Learn their secrets.

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This story appears in the June 2005 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Jason Jennings sorted through 70,000 American companies to find nine whose consistent growth in profits and revenue put them in the top one-hundredth of 1 percent. After studying each in depth, including interview-ing top leaders, he reports what makes them so special in Think Big Act Small (Portfolio, $24.95).

So what's the most striking commonality among the excellent nine? They all have humble leaders who are willing to get their hands dirty. Jennings points to CEOs of companies like North Carolina's SAS Software and Virginia's Strayer Education Inc., both billion-dollar enterprises where members of the top brass routinely do grunt-level work.

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