COMPETITION IN THE APPROPRIATE ARENA
I am amazed at how often I see entrepreneurs fight for social justice or environmental activism and then turn around and want to discuss their position in the marketplace or how to optimize their talent pool when hiring. Both concepts: positioning and optimizing talent stems from the idea that to be successful in business, you need to compete because the market is limited. It perpetuates the myth that growth means dominance. Competition in business is different than competition in a sporting event. I am all about competition in the appropriate arena (at times too enthusiastic about it!). But business is not a competition, no matter how much MBA programs want you to believe.
Competition, outside of the appropriate arena, is born of scarcity—fear masked as dominance. It assumes that the market is limited, instead of understanding that we create the market for both our products and our teams. Scarcity shows up in business when we believe that we need a position to win or when we need to have employees with predictable behavior to grow.
To believe in competition outside of the appropriate arenas is fundamentally at odds with wanting to bring social justice and environmental integrity to the world. There is no "yes and" to competition and collaboration. They do not dance, they duel. And the defensive shield of competition in the market and management is the persona.