Companies benchmark innovators all the time: Microsoft, Ben & Jerry's, Toyota, and Southwest Airlines all do it. But Bob Davis, CEO of Davis Cos., has identified a heretofore-overlooked role model: Chevron Chemical, the oil company. That's right, Chevron--the $43-billion giant at which his father worked for 36 years. "It was a style, a mind-set of the people running Chevron," says Davis. "Nobody ever wanted to leave that company. People went to work every day to use their hearts as much as their heads." To that end, Davis holds Chevron-like company retreats, where employees and their families spend three days each year bonding. "My experiences as a child were that my parents worked for people I had an egg toss with, people I was on a first-name basis with," Davis says. Hey, maybe he's onto something: his temporary-staffing company appears on the Inc. 500 for the fourth consecutive year.
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