Best-kept secrets of the world's best companies
25 tricks of the trade for everything from finding great employees to sparking creativity and even knowing when to pass on a deal.
By Paul Kaihla, Business 2.0 Magazine senior writer

(Business 2.0 Magazine) – Not even the most successful companies in the world are managed by the book. Great management formulas aren't handed down on stone tablets, or found in the writings or speeches of gurus and consultants. They emerge from years of experimentation, trial and error, regime change, reorganizations, crises, and employee suggestions.

In that spirit, Business 2.0 magazine sent senior writer Paul Kaihla and a team of reporters on a quest to find some of the best "best practices" in business today. The companies they interviewed have stumbled upon their own unique methods for doing everything from running meetings and generating product ideas to troubleshooting M&A deals and keeping board directors on their toes.

Photo GallerylaunchSee more photos

Following are 25 ideas that are truly gems, broken down into five categories: finance, HR, management, marketing, and R&D. They're methods that help keep some of the best-run companies, like Procter & Gamble (Research), Google (Research), Southwest Airlines (Research), Microsoft (Research), Intel (Research), and Coke (Research), at the top of their game. You've probably never heard of most of these practices -- but you might want to start implementing them tomorrow. Click here for a photo gallery of the full list.

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What is your company's best management secret?

Every company has its own in-house way of doing things, from brainstorming ideas to running job interviews. Click here to tell us about the methods your company uses, and we'll publish the best in an upcoming issue of Business 2.0Top of page

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Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.