Strategic transformation has been a high corporate priority for the last 20 years. But very few companies manage to transform themselves before they are forced to by financial crises. The ideal, of course, is to maintain long-term superior financial performance while undertaking the necessary strategic transformations that sustain that performance. We set out to learn whether any companies have pulled off this magic double trick and how they did it. We investigated 215 of the largest publicly listed British companies. We found that only 28 (or 13% of the 215) achieved consistently superior financial performance over the 20 years from 1984 to 2003. Then of these 28, only four (fewer than 2% of the 215) also achieved successful strategic transformation. We carried out interviews with 46 senior executives, tracing back management processes for over 40 years in three of these four ”successful strategic transformers” (SSTs), pairing them with three comparator companies, to understand how they did it. We found that the SSTs developed four historical traditions over a 40 year or longer period, each of which contributed to the companies’ ability for strategic transformation. These traditions are those of continuity, anticipation, contestability, and mobility. This talk explains these traditions and how other companies might develop them.