Best in Class Versus Best in Industry

Here is an interesting idea. Most businesses are competitive. They want to be better than their competition. Sometimes they try to out-service their competition. Sometimes they lower their prices to beat their competition. The point is that they are only looking at the competition. What if they looked beyond the competition? What if they looked at the world?

One of my favorite companies to write about is Ace Hardware. I even wrote a book, Amaze Every Customer Every Time, in which I used Ace as the role model example throughout the entire book. It is a perfect example of this concept. First, Ace wanted to be the best of all hardware and home improvement stores. It accomplished that and has received numerous JD Power awards to prove it. But that wasn’t enough!

Ace Hardware stores didn’t stop with being world-class in the home improvement industry. The company wanted to be known as a world-class retailer. They wanted to go beyond their own industry. And they did. They became so good that other companies, completely unrelated to the hardware and home improvement industry, wanted to learn their secrets.

Other brands have gone down this path. Disney Institute teaches the Disney way in the form of courses on customer service and experience, leadership, and more. The Ritz-Carlton has a team of trainers that companies hire to learn the secrets of creating world-class hospitality and service. has its Delivering Happiness programs. All of these are iconic brands that teach how they do what they do so well.

But you don’t have to be a world-renowned brand to be paid to teach the inside secrets of a company’s success. You most likely haven’t heard of Barry-Wehmiller, a conglomerate of companies, primarily in the manufacturing business. This company has built a reputation for excellence. Bob Chapman, its chairman, and CEO, has a simple formula. Take a great business and a profound care for people and watch great things happen.

Chapman and his team have done such a good job of this that they are in demand to teach others how to do the same. The result is that they are teaching other companies, inside and outside of their industry. They are not only best in industry, but best in class.

You’ve heard the expression, “Think outside the box.” I now want you to think outside your industry. Think about what it takes to be world-class. That’s what the best companies are doing, and you can do it too!