Some people would argue that competition is the lifeblood of business. In a recent blog entry for the Harvard Business Review, author David Shields talks about A More Productive Way to Think About Opponents. In the piece, he reveals that an unhealthy and unproductive mindset towards competition comes from a shift from a “partnership metaphor” to a “war metaphor” in dealing with the subject. Shields uses the term decompetition referring to the context of competition as “striving against”, as opposed to “striving with”, which is, he says, the riginal definition of the term. He then proceeds to describe the consequences and negative effects of a culture of decompetition among business organisations.
Of course, the article also recognises that it is not easy for most people and organisations to get rid of this kind of mindset, as it is pretty deeply embedded in modern business culture. In my opinion, however, it may be almost impossible to completely eliminate these competitive practices; perhaps it is a better option to focus on the general attitude rather than the practical specifics.
I think every businessperson would agree that competition is an essential aspect of business. In fact, one of the most crucial things to do before setting up a business is making a competitive analysis, or an overview of the business environment in which one would be competing. In this context, for example, rather than asking the question of how to “overpower” or outperform the competitors, a much better driving point for businesspersons is to think of new and innovative ways to complement or supplement current solutions offered in the market and how to make their own mark through such solutions.
Knut Harald Nylænde is the founder and CEO or Moxie AS, a rapidly growing investments group in Norway. With his professional and personal interests ranging from investments, business, politics and defence, Knut writes about relevant issues that spark his attention in his various blogs.