Don't Compete - Collaborate

Western Society is obsessed with competition. We want to be ‘Faster – Higher – Stronger’ than our competitors. We want to beat them to a pulp so we win the business from them, then receive the accolades – the applause – the money. It’s so beautifully machismo. And it’s so beautifully out-dated.

It’s also dangerous. Because it forces us to stare at our competitors, and take our eye off our customers and ourselves. Because while we’re playing ‘get me a ruler, I think mines longer than yours,’ the customer moves on elsewhere. We lose focus on the people we’re here to help and whom we depend – our customers, and obsess about something we can’t control – our competitors.

It also saps our power to create. Because we’re focusing our attention on the opposition - that’s where our power goes. It leaks out of every pore in the organisation – instead of going into growing our potential to deliver amazing things to the client. We are effectively giving our power away in this obsessive climate of competition.

And it comes from our solid, unwavering belief in scarcity - that we’ve all been brought up on. There’s not enough to go around, so steal it off someone else – before it’s all gone.

So here’s another model to consider. There’s plenty to go around, because what you have to offer is so unique, so special, so precious – no one else can offer it. You and you along possess a gift that helps people in a completely unique way. There’s absolutely no one else on the planet that can think or create in the way you can – so what you offer can’t be copied, borrowed or stolen. Because only you know (intuitively) how to do the thing you do.

It’s like having an invisible patent protected by the universe. No one can touch your gift.

So now when we approach the market we can think and act differently. There’s plenty of space for other players – because what we offer can’t be replicated, and the people we offer it to intuitively know that we are the only ones that can give it to them.

Now we can look at our competitors as potential partners. Richard Branson has been doing it for years – because he’s confident in his skin. Sure he's fallible – he doesn’t get it right all the time – but he seems to know what he’s worth. Despite all the challenges of being dyslexic, he’s come through as a success story. He doesn’t get obsessed or flustered by bigger and stronger competitors. Instead he focuses on what he’s good at – and gives it to his customers. And then he looks around at other like-minded players in the market with whom he can team up.

So rather than obsessing about who’s better - us or our competitors - let’s all start focusing on developing our unique gift. Then we can obsess about the best way to deliver this gift to our willing and grateful clients.

Justin Cooper