12 DECEMBER 1987, Page 29

Every virtue, every grace

-THANK you for the cardinal virtues. Asked what I looked for in assessing a company, and feeling that my answers honesty, competence, flair — had left something out, I appealed last week for better ones. Sir Patrick Sergeant, first off the mark, replied in bold capitals: LUCK. Sir Roger Falk, whose handbook The Business of Management remains a classic, goes for decisiveness. Ross Harvey's test of a company is that the things it makes should work. Query: where does this leave GEC, as our leading supplier of telephone equipment, airborne warning systems, high-tech torpedoes, and light railways? I offered a magnum of Taittinger, through the kindness of Matthew Clark and Sons, for the best idea of corporate virtue, and this appears to have influenced Oliver Wynn James. He writes: 'Matthew Clark is a fantastic company, because I am very .thirsty and prefer to receive magnums which save time in uncorking.' More vir- tues welcomed.