Although there is a great deal of discussion about high performing information systems (I/S) organizations, little is known about the characteristics and practices they use. A field study was conducted to learn what principles are applied in organizations widely acknowledged to be high performers. The sample of companies for this field study was chosen by a core team of 15 consultants, practitioners, and academic researchers. On-site, structured interviews were conducted with 105 executives and managers in both the functional areas and the I/S groups of the firms. The findings show that a common set of principles are applied in high performing I/S groups. At the same time, there are distinct differences between these leading companies. The results provide useful insights for practice and for future research.