Competition is also “to search for together”
I have the privilege of being in business and really love strategic thought and debate. One of my highs during my work day, week or month is when we conclude a business transaction with a client. Nothing gives me a greater thrill, from a business point of view, than delivering successfully on a client request.
I truly believe in business and think that when a business links all of its desired outcomes together and delivers successfully that a client truly appreciates it. Those that work with and know me, understand the frustration I feel when things don’t run as planned and a client is disappointed.
Part of what makes business such a great thing is the competitive element. I love competing against other businesses and feel absolutely devastated when a proposal that we have put together, is turned down in favour of another proposal. I am not much fun to be around when we have failed in the execution or missed a trick that another supplier has managed to deliver on.
One of my pet hates though is when the only differentiating point is price. This typically results in one or both parties just about killing each other to get the order. They expend equal parts of effort in fighting off the other by “sharpening their pencils”. The client all the while licking their lips at the prospect of getting a deal concluded at a price that suites them.
Now, let me quickly add that I am not opposed to the haggle, just that something someone told me recently has made me sit up and look at these interactions a little differently. You see I was told the other day that the Greek word for competition also means “to search for together”.
Clearly the accepted understanding of competition is one just that….we compete against each other in order to see who prevails. However, approaching business with the other meaning of competition may offer some interesting opportunities and insights. I have for sometime marvelled at just how cut throat certain industries are. Clearly adopting strategies that are not sustainable and which may lead to them closing their doors, ultimately.
I have also been challenged as a consumer. Sure I want to get the best price that I can, but surely I should be opting to get the best overall deal that I can instead. Perhaps allowing suppliers the room to compete by “searching for together” as opposed to “killing each other over” a deal, I may just walk away better off overall?
So my challenge…..I am going to be looking a little differently at business. I will be looking at ways in which I can get an excellent overall deal, while allowing active competition, thereby securing my products and/or services but ensuring that the suppliers can still remain in business. Maybe we all should?