What has now developed into an eagerly awaited spot in our annual calendar, this feature provides the opportunity for manufacturers, suppliers, contractors and specifiers to boast about what makes their products, designs, systems or services special and a leader in its field, and highlights the best that the flooring and design community has to offer.

Although it is largely represented by our industry leaders, this feature always gains the interest of the professionals, because architects, interior designers and property developers like to be kept in touch with the finest available products and companies in the floorcovering industry – and people like to deal with successful companies.

In this issue we have decided to highlight the products and services that have appeared in this feature previously, and it is interesting to note that although polished concrete has been the leader of the pack over the past couple of years, gaining good market acceptance and penetration, it did not feature prominently in our 2011 Performers piece.

Environment-friendly concrete and resilient screeds made an appearance, and epoxy and polyurethane floors were well to the fore – emphasising the benefits they provide for the healthcare and food industry applications – and maintaining their position as a regular top performer, but hollow concrete slabs, high-performance cast stone, and the healthcare treatments for concrete floors did not appear again this time.

Quality carpets also set the pace in 2011, with both new and proven products featuring strongly, and supported by (no pun intended!) eco-friendly underfelt.

Finally, as a cosy reminder that winter was on its way, the benefits of modern floor heating set out to take the edge off the forthcoming cold weather.

Will these products feature again this year? What innovations will now attract the attention of the marketplace? Which companies feel they are doing exceptionally well? Read on, and enjoy!

Are you a good company or a great one?
In his bestseller book Good to Great business guru Jim Collins says that good is the enemy of great.

“The vast majority of schools, governments, companies and people never become great, precisely because the vast majority become quite good – and that is their main problem,” he says.

Collins had a team of 20 researchers working for five years examining the performance of 28 companies over a period of 15 years, some large, well-known companies – others unknown and from ‘dormant’ industries, and came up with some truly surprising results.

Two important early paragraphs in the book are worth repeating verbatim:

First Who …. Then What. We expected that good-to-great leaders would begin by setting a new vision and strategy. We found instead that they first got the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the right seats – and then they figured out where to drive it. The old adage “People are your most important asset” turns out to be wrong. People are not your most the important asset. The right people are.

Confront the Brutal Facts (Yet Never Lose Faith). We learned that a former prisoner of war had more to teach us about what it takes to find a path to greatness than most books on corporate strategy. Every good-to-great company embraced what we came to call the Stockdale Paradox.  You must maintain unwavering faith that you can and will prevail in the end, regardless of the difficulties, AND at the same time have the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.

(This latter statement must bring to mind a certain person an event in recent South African history).

This is a fascinating book, well written, understandable, and a must for any company that aims to achieve greatness.