Lance Malone


HVACR News and Information
Be the Best!
Some of you have probably heard me say that one of my primary goals is “To Be the Best”. You may have even heard me say it is more important to me than how big we can grow or how much profit we generate. I read an article several months ago that made me realize such a statement can be misunderstood if some context is not given, so I decided to write my own article on the subject.
The article I read was called “Stop Competing to Be the Best” by Joan Magretta and was published in the Harvard Business Review last November. The just of Ms. Magretta’s article was that businesses should “stop competing to be the best” because there is no best in business. Here’s a direct quote from the article that illustrates the point: “The first problem with the competition-to-be-the-best mindset is that, in the vast majority of businesses, there is simply no such thing as the best”. She argues that in war and sports, there is a winner, but in business there are many winners and nobody is truly “the best”. Well no offense to Ms. Magretta, but I have to disagree with her Harvard philosophy on this topic.

In my mind, being the best means something different than what it seems to mean to her. I don’t consider being the best a matter of one company being the “winner” and the rest being “losers”. To me, being the best means we strive to be the best that we can be. It means that our customers, those whom we choose to target and do business with, see us as the best supplier they have. It means that we are the best at the strategies that we choose to implement that separate our company from the rest of our competitors. It means that we are the best at finding new and better ways to help our customers. It means that each of our coworkers is empowered to reach their fullest potential in their career and be the best that they can be.

There is one statement in Ms. Magretta’s article that I definitely agree with. “Focus on innovating to create superior value for your chosen customers, not on imitating and matching rivals”. Now I didn’t go to Harvard, but in my mind that is the precise definition of “being the best” in business. Imitating our competition will never be a strategy employed by our companies. Our goal will always be to find things that our competitors can’t/won’t do that make our customers more successful and implement those things quickly and successfully. If we can achieve that goal, then we will definitely “Be the Best”!