By Doug Ross

How do you and your company compare? Are you the one who sets the bar? Or are you content to achieve what another individual has determined is the best or good enough?

I had always been encouraged, in fact directed, to invite guests for a tour of our facility. The reasoning behind this practice is that the tour offers a great opportunity for building relationships, increases the chance of buy-in from your customer, and displays the capabilities of both you and your team. The results have proven remarkable, with the majority of guests becoming lifelong friends.

Our competitors also began the practice of inviting customers for tours, which raised some concerns with the both the inside and outside sales teams. I recall one particular comment from an outside sales representative, “Why do we want our competitors to see what we do and how we do it? “.

Our CEO, who personally oversaw our guest tours, responded in a manner that caught most off guard but opened all of our minds. “As a company, we strive to be setting the bar, doing it better than anyone else. We want our customers AND competitors to understand we take their business seriously; from the beginning stages of engineering all the way to customer service after the sale. We want the “awe” factor. If we learn through this practice that we are not the “bar setter” or that we are lacking in any area, we want to know.”

This made an impact on me, but not as much as my next revelation. Am I setting the bar in my field, my position? What can I do better? How can I assure myself that others are not out performing me? The real question being, “Would I invite others to tour my part of the business and how I tend to business on a daily basis?” Once you ask yourself this question, chances are you review all of your actions and make some changes. To strive for anything other than your personal best will leave you short of the goal that leads you to be successful in life, family and work.