Focusing on strengths and finding opportunity in change

Resilience, adaptability, and a focus on the ability to scale and grow distinguished this year’s cohort of companies, writes Brian Murphy, lead Deloitte partner, Ireland’s Best Managed Companies

Brian Murphy of Deloitte: “More and more businesses are recognising the benefits of having diversity of thought in their organisations and are looking to engage non-executive directors and outside views to challenge them”

It is a privilege to be the lead Deloitte partner for Ireland’s Best Managed Companies in what has been another extraordinary year. Businesses continued to face numerous challenges and uncertainties, from worldwide economic disruption and the end of emergency state support for businesses during the pandemic to the rapid rise in mainstream use of AI and geopolitical uncertainty. Undeterred by the headwinds, Irish companies have driven success by focusing on their strengths and embracing change.

As we celebrate 15 years of the Best Managed Companies programme this year, I’ve reflected on how the challenges facing businesses have evolved since 2008. While challenging economic environments aren’t new for these businesses, they present different opportunities for companies to grow and scale. Digital transformation and sustainability are also driving change and expansion for a lot of these businesses.

Adaptability and agility

In this environment of constant change, it was the adaptability and agility of businesses that stood out in this year’s winning cohort of Best Managed Companies. Across all their business operations we saw a sharper focus on corporate governance and increased flexibility in their talent strategies. With reporting becoming an increasingly important aspect of doing business, more and more businesses are recognising the benefits of having diversity of thought in their organisations and are looking to engage non-executive directors and outside views to challenge them, particularly on navigating the ESG landscape. This brings an objective perspective to scrutinise business strategies and support businesses in putting their best foot forward. Sharpening the focus on governance has been a standout area for the Best Managed Companies this year.

New modes of working

Finding and retaining talent has also continued to be a critical issue for businesses of all sizes across industries. Over the last few years, workplace models have shifted with how and where we work being transformed. Now as we look to the future of work, employees are searching for greater flexibility and choice in how they work. Even though Ireland has reached full employment, there are competitive ways companies can fill roles with the right people; for example, businesses that have adapted to new modes of working drive the greatest talent strategies.


Similarly, Irish businesses that appreciate the benefits and opportunities in bringing their business offering to an international market have demonstrated confidence in their ambition to scale globally. This ambition is a clear sign of the rising self-assurance of our indigenous organisations and shows an innovative approach in their plans to grow and scale. Two examples of companies internationalising are Kent Stainless and MTM Engineering, who were both first-time winners at last year’s Best Managed Companies awards. As companies within our local network continue to expand to international markets or strive to enter new markets, the Best Managed Company accolade supports them on their growth trajectories. Over the 15 years of Best Managed Companies in Ireland we’ve also seen the strength in connections that the companies build internationally, through access to the international network of BMC businesses of over 1,288 companies across 46 countries.

Largest in Europe

Ireland’s BMC programme is the largest network in Europe, which is testament to the strength of our business hub. The longevity of the BMC programme reflects the incredible development of Irish businesses over the past 15 years and showcases our indigenous companies’ ability to find opportunity in change. In an ever-changing environment, it is inspiring to see these Irish businesses contributing to the economy both at home and abroad.

Brian Murphy is lead partner, Ireland’s Best Managed Companies, Deloitte Ireland