The traditional mindset in business is to “destroy” your competition. The warlord analogies are rampant and the strategy is firmly entrenched in me versus you. Well the difference between sports and business is that in sports, only one team can be the official winner. But in business, there can be many winners. The most important win, in my view, is to create a business that deeply satisfies the owner and its employees. Each owner is going to define her/his satisfaction in diverse ways, even if the majority share the core desire to make a lot of money.
I am not inclined to want to crush anyone. I believe there is plenty of market share available in our industry and therefore plenty of room to be successful without destroying anyone else in the process.
So I was intrigued to read in the March issue of Inc. Magazine that research out of the University of Texas, Austin (of all places!) demonstrates that “rival CEOs who form friendships are at a distinct advantage over those who go it alone.”
So I am coining “R2R” – rival to rival – as a new way to approach business management. The internet brought us B2B and B2C. The internet is bringing us increasingly customer-dominated purchasing and selling patterns. The internet is developing previously unthinkable markets and services. If you want to serve your customers, then being on good terms with your competition can help achieve that goal.
It’s difficult to be all things to all people. When we can refer someone to a colleague who offers something we don’t (including lower prices) we earn respect and potential future referrals. We also convey confidence instead of neediness, professionalism instead of pettiness.
People who used to be considered our rivals are now working with us because we have each learned to identify our core skills and have realized we can be more successful collaborating.
It’s difficult to know everything. What a joy it is to do business when I know I can ask or answer a question with a colleague. I love that there are so many ways to differentiate ourselves in the marketplace; nuance can now be communicated powerfully and with relatively minimal effort.
Viva the blog and the podcast for encouraging this R2R dialog among peers.
AUTHOR: Mary Schmidt
DATE: 04/23/2005 01:05:18 PM
Absolutely! It’s an increasingly small world – and the person you’re beating the heck out of today – you might want to work with tomorrow.
Brings to mind a old General’s comment about war “There are no winners in war, only victors.”