News & Views

Handling Rankings: A Four-Step Guide


Forbes has recently released its “Best [insert geography here] For Business.” You eagerly open the link and scour the rankings to find that your community isn’t included, or worse, it’s rounding out the bottom.

At DCI, we are frequently asked if or how rankings can be changed. To find out, we went straight to the experts to get their insights on how rankings are created, and what a city, state or country can do when unhappy with the results. Based on the insights from our experts, we’ve put together a How to Guide on handling rankings.


Step 1: Keep Calm and Reach Out

If you’re unhappy with a ranking’s results, set up a time to speak or meet with the organization that administers the ranking to understand the process behind it. View it as a “seek to understand” mission.


Step 2: Factor Check

If there was a misunderstanding on qualitative data, work with the authors to correct the issue. If the factors that are negatively affecting your community are a legitimate competitiveness issue, keep an open mind and explore policy changes that could improve future rankings.


Step 3: Assess, Don’t Detest

Not all rankings are created equal. According to our experts, a high-quality ranking is a transparent ranking. High-quality rankings are also built upon comparable, objective and actionable data


Step 4: Focus on the Good

Nothing great happens overnight. While working on changes, emphasize the factors where the country is competitive and ranks well.




For a full overview of 10 highly reputable “Best Countries for Business” rankings, insights into how they are created, and which countries came out on top, you can download DCI’s “Best Countries for Business: An In-Depth Look at Rankings” Q report.

Thank you to our research experts, Rita Ramalho, Kurt Badenhausen and Erik Petersen.

Written By

Kate Penniall

Kate has worked in research for a variety of entities from a large public company to a local arts and music festival. As DCI's Research Associate, Kate assists both economic development and tourism clients with their research needs.

More Articles by Kate Penniall

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