The Impact of Excellence

The Impact of Excellence

The Wawa Way–Is It The Answer to World Peace?

A new Wawa station in Orlando.
A new Wawa station in Orlando.

The Orlando Sentinel recently reported that Wawa’s arrival in the Central Florida area over the last couple of years has had a ripple effect on other companies wanting to do business in Orlando. That is the effect when great organizations do well. And Wawa is a great organization.

While Wawa’s arrival to Florida is recent, its ethic and organizational culture goes back many decades. As they note in the book, The Wawa Way, it’s not simply a motto, a logan, or the tile of a business. It’s a way of life. Unlike other companies that try to spread out, this organization targets a market and then dominates that market. They report that in Philadelphia, almost three-quarters of all trips to a convenience retailer are to a Wawa store. And 25 percent of breakfast products sold every morning are at a Wawa retailer, with a greater market share for coffee than McDonald’s, Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts. They have surpassed ExxonMobil, Sunoco and Hess for gas sales and market share. Part retailer, part gas station, part restaurant, it provides an experience for those on the go that you can’t get elsewhere.

To create this sort of leadership, they have defined six values that they believe constitute the Wawa owner’s manual:

  • Value People
  • Delight Customers
  • Embrace Change
  • Do Things Right
  • Do the Right Thing
  • Have a Passion for Winning

The result of instituting these values is huge customer loyalty. Clearly they know how to create results. But do they create something more? In her enthusiasm, Carol Bryant Jackson  published a guest column in 2007 in the Delaware county Daily Times under the headline “Gotta Have Civility? Gotta Have a Wawa.” She stated:

Does it seems like the world’s moving backward in the civility department?

The war in Iraq, the war in Afghanistan and closer to home, the settling of disputes with handguns right here in the streets of Philadelphia.

With all that chaos in the world stressing your mind, here’s a suggestion with a bright ray of hope: Get to your nearest Wawa store.

I can’t help but wonder if anybody sees what I see every time I go through the doors of a Wawa store. No matter who it is, little old lady, leather-wearing biker, tattooed scary looking guy, belligerent teenager, everybody holds the door open for someone else.

And when the door is held for someone, it never fails, they always say thank you. Always…

Who knows? Common courtesy, civility and world peace might be right around the corner at a Wawa store.

My initial thought is this column seems over the top. But then I think about going into my Wawa store. It is true–the courtesy demonstrated there seems to make you want to hold the door open for someone else. And they always reply with a “thank you”.

What if every organization created a place that people really wanted to go to? A place that inspired people to be a little better than they currently behave? What is the impact of excellence?

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