Class Best vs. Best in Class

This is an intriguing concept. The majority of firms are fiercely competitive.

They strive to outperform their competitors. They occasionally try to out-service their competitors.

They will sometimes cut their pricing to compete with their competitors. The point is that all they care about is the competition.

What if they took a step back and looked at the bigger picture? What if they had a look around?

Ace Hardware is one of my favorite companies to write about. I even published a book called Amaze Every Customer Every Time, in which Ace served as the role model throughout.

It's a great illustration of the concept. First and first, Ace aspired to be the best hardware and home improvement store in the world.

It was successful in this endeavor, as evidenced by multiple JD Power awards. That wasn't enough, though!

Ace Hardware didn't stop at being the best in the business when it came to home renovation. The company aspired to be recognized as a global retailer.

They aspired to broaden their horizons beyond their own sector. That is exactly what they did.

They excelled to the point where companies from industries other than hardware and home improvement sought to understand their secrets.

This is a path that has been taken by other brands. The Disney Institute offers courses in customer service and experience, leadership, and more that educate the Disney way.

Companies can hire The Ritz-team Carlton's of trainers to master the secrets of providing world-class hospitality and service. Zappos.com offers a program called Delivering Happiness.

These are all well-known brands that teach others how to accomplish what they do so well.

However, you don't have to be a household name to get compensated to teach the secrets of a company's success. Barry-Wehmiller, a conglomeration of enterprises mostly in the manufacturing industry, is probably unfamiliar to you.

This business has a strong reputation for quality. Its chairman and CEO, Bob Chapman, has a simple formula. Take a fantastic business and combine it with a deep concern for people, and great things will happen.

Chapman and his colleagues have done such an excellent job that they are in high demand to educate others how to do it. As a result, they are instructing other businesses, both within and outside their industry.

They are not just the greatest in the industry, but also the best in their field.

You've probably heard the phrase "think outside the box." Now I want you to think about things that aren't related to your field.

Consider what it takes to be a world-class athlete. That's what the most successful businesses are doing, and you can too!

Thanks to Shep Hyken at Business 2 Community whose reporting provided the original basis for this story.

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