Crushing the Competition

Prize for the Winner

Whether your disposition tends toward competitiveness or no, as business organizations we need to outperform others in our industry. To not do so puts all stakeholders at risk–employees, investors, lenders, customers, vendors, etc. But, when a headline like the one above is read, it can cause some to bristle. Why is that? Probably because we have all seen the abusive pursuit of a goal cause collateral damage. And, yet, “crush” seems a little strong…

A conference of HR professionals that concluded in Raleigh today (#12hrmc) carried the above title. One of the speakers made the insightful comment that, while larger companies can boast greater revenues or number of employees, but  “no one can take away a competitive advantage of preferred culture.” This sentiment is great news for managers in organizations that are playing ‘catch up.’ If you find yourself in just such a situation, read on! There’s opportunity to be explored, but it may just require a reinvention of yourself and the structure around you. Innovation will be key to repositioning. Jacqueline Byrd (@creatrixinc) describes the type of innovation required as a combination of creativity and risk taking.

Byrd isolates four key components of creativity: ambiguity, independence, inner-directedness, and uniqueness. Ambiguity describes an employee’s ability to work without clear input. Independence is the competency wherein the individual can work in solitude and make progress. “Tuning in” to your inner voice to find calling is inner-directedness. Differentiation from one’s self and others defines uniqueness.

Risk-taking competencies include: authenticity, resilience, and self-acceptance. Authenticity equates to speaking what is top of mind, yet not necessarily harsh or brash. Believing everything will work out if we but persist is resilience. Those who can see shortcomings and lack of success as “learning” rather than “failure” are masters of self-acceptance.

Organizations that foster creativity and risk-taking, learn how to build innovation systems into their DNA, and celebrate both success and attempts that do not succeed are rare. They usually are very effective in:

  • attracting top talent
  • offering products and services with the “wow” factor, and
  • carving out a competitive advantage that can be sustained

If you work in a culture that resembles this pattern, chances are very good that you are crushing your competition–even if that is not your personality;)


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