The idea of benchmarking, looking at other companies and industries to see where you relate according to their level of excellence, has been around a long time but that doesn’t mean it’s grown stale. In fact, it may be more important than ever.
With the pace of change due to technological shifts happening ever faster, we need to keep our eye on where trends are headed – and there’s no better way to do this than to look at a few excellent outliers to see where you might develop and improve.
Even though I run a non-profit organization I have found it helpful to study great companies from totally other industries. Here are a few of them and what I’ve studied and examined to better our organization, or at least to build my understanding:
Apple – There are many lessons here – Their commitment to quality, retail model, genius bar, handheld checkouts, self-checkout apps, launch strategy, willingness to eliminate and simplify their product lines & products. I could go on and on.
Wall Street Journal – Their online strategy, video strategy, and content layering (print, video, analysis layer so that you can get content how you prefer it).
Coffee shops – Starbucks Roy St. Coffee model store was an inspiration for some of our classroom redesigns.
Magazines – There’s only been two magazines launched in past few years that have made any money…Monocle is one of them. I picked up so much from them on how they are using content to connect with subscribers at different levels. It’s euro-centric and not my kind of magazine generally, but it’s well done on that point.
Metropolitan Market – Every time I go into this market I’m impressed at how different they run it, present the food, and curate for the customer. It’s not your average grocery store… I wish there were more like it.
What are you learning? Who are you learning it from? If you have any great companies – big or small, that you are benchmarking pass it on so we can all learn from it.