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A Culture of Excellence

A Culture of Excellence

BLD Connection Magazine Industry News/Information Bryan Rice

Bryan Rice

A Culture of Excellence

For over forty years, I was extremely fortunate to work alongside tremendous teammates, suppliers, and customers at Lampert Lumber, UBC/Pro-Build, and Mead Lumber.  All three of these companies were extremely valuable in providing me and others a solid foundation, helping to build homes and communities across our footprint.  

Within the past two years, I have had the opportunity to get to know and work with some strong independent lumber yards and regional companies in my consulting and roundtable leader liaison endeavors across the country.  I cannot tell you how much respect I have for each of you, and how much I continue to learn from you.

Gleaned from the above forty years of hands-on experience coupled with the last eighteen months of consulting activities, it has been my experience that the companies and people that are top-shelf have developed a culture of excellence that perpetuates development, growth, and results.

While each company has their own strengths and culture, there are some commonalities.  Here are some of those commonalities along with relating excerpts:

  • Build a Culture of Excellence.  Good is the enemy of great.  Set high expectations for yourself.  No excuses.  “Do what you are supposed to do.  All the time” - Tony Dungy
  • Make the Customer Number One.  “The secret of successful retailing is to give your customers what they want.  Whoever said retail is detail is 100% right.  On the other hand, it is simple.  If the customers are the bosses, all you have to do is please them. “- Sam Walton.
  •  Work Hard.  There is no real substitute for a strong work ethic.  I know, work smarter is techy and important but sometimes you simply need to put in the time.  It is not the will to win but the will to prepare to win that is important.
  • Be Pro-Active.  A call, a note or better yet an in-person job site visit gets you a leg up on the competition. We need to be careful of complacency, or taking business for granted.  Your customer is not, nor perhaps are your competitors.
  • Take Care of the Little Things.  In his book ‘Good to Great’ Jim Collins describes how companies transition from being good companies to great companies, and how most companies fail to make the transition. Collins brings home the point that great people/companies simply do the best in taking care of the daily little things.  Sometimes we spend a lot of energy on trying to develop something “magical,” yet in reality-no big “secret sauce” here.
  • Be a Team Player.  None of us is better than our weakest link, so build each other up.  Sometimes one plus one equals three, no matter what you may have learned in kindergarten.
  • Execute the Game Plan.  Be really good at what you do, at a ground level.  In tennis, while the big serve draws the applause, it is usually the one with a solid baseline game that wins the match.  This point got reinforced the other day watching Coco Gauff at the US Open.  So, it is with business and life.  Keep it simple.


All good, but do not forget to celebrate success and have some fun along the way. Let us enjoy each other’s wins and enjoy the moment.  While we work hard, create balance and have some fun - light moments are a good thing.  As I reflect, celebrating UBC’s 150th anniversary on the banks of the Mississippi with our leaders and associates, key customers and suppliers accompanied by the Winona High School band was a major highlight, as was celebrating other key milestones across the three companies. 

The everyday engagement means even more.  The interaction and memories with the associates (customers and suppliers as well) across the spectrum are priceless.  Each of them, in whatever role they performed, was very valuable to me, and to the team.  A warm greeting. Buster Bars® on a hot day, especially if we met a goal.  Watching one of their kids in an event of some kind.  Checking on our customer’s projects.  Having a laugh on some side-bar conversation. Finishing a (off) note on some song bite.  A note of appreciation.

I look forward to working with you within key subject areas in future BLD issues and endeavors including Sales Development, Operational Excellence, Supply Side/Purchasing, Marketing, ERP/Technology, Human Resources, Succession Planning and more.  All of these are important, but secondary to a culture of excellence and your most important asset - your people!

Bryan Rice is a Building Materials Advisor/Consultant. Committed to sustainable and profitable growth, Bryan brings over four decades of hands-on experience in the Building Materials Industry, demonstrating expertise and insight. He can and will assist your organization as a Board Member, Business Advisor, or as a Roundtable Facilitator, working together with you and your team to help determine and to meet your organizations goals. For more information visit

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