April 15, 2021

Want to Rise Above The Competition?

I remember the first time that I became caught up in That Game.
I couldn’t have been older than 7 years.

It was in the days when they used to send boys and girls to convalesce, after a serious spell in hospital.
And I was seated with half-a-dozen other children… on the way to spend weeks at a seaside resort.
Broadstairs, I think.

“How old are you then?” the conversation would start.
I’d mumble or squeak something.

“Oh, is that all!
Well, I’m 10 years old.
So I’m cleverer than you.
And my Dad is really important.
And I bet he’s bigger than your Dad.
So, watch it!”

The Comparison Game. The No-Win Game.
Older than.
Bigger than.
More important than.
Prettier than.
More qualified than.
Famouser than.
Wealthier than.

It haunts all of us. All of our life.
In business.
And without.

The Game skews our behaviour.
Shapes it in the most dysfunctional way.
The whisper that punishes our peace.
The toxic acid that corrodes our confidence.

Coerces us to make decisions which – in hindsight – are unhelpful (if we’re lucky).
Downright daft, disturbing and debilitating, more often than not.

We know we shouldn’t play The Game.
We even tell each other so (whenever we give advice that nobody actually asked for).

But we carry on doing it, nonetheless.

Recently, I was asked by a director of an investment group…“So, who do you regard as your competitors?”Commercially, a perfectly normal question.
Something to help make a discerning judgment, perhaps?

But, The Game, all the same.

I thought for a few seconds.
And said.
”Actually. Nobody!”

Did that sound arrogant?
Perhaps. But I continued.

“We’re completely different in what we do… and how we do it.
We behave differently, because we see the world differently.
So, not ‘Better Than’.
But definitely ‘Different To.’‘“

His response?

“That’s interesting!
Because we feel the same.
We’re so different in what we do that business leaders struggle to compare us against any other organisation.
We’re in a Class of One.
And, right now, that works well for us.”

What about you?
What about your firm, practice or organisation?

How easy is it for people – your potential clients, future employees – to pigeon-hole you.
And so, easily compare you against someone, something, else?

Or have you exercised the rare courage to go out on a limb.
To be considered unusual; even weird?

Is what you’ve designed and deliver utterly different to what’s on offer from The Herd?
So different that you’re in a Class of One?

So different that your peers hardly understand what’s happening?

What d’you think?
Cos, if you are…
If you’re different-er than them.
Well, the others had better Watch It, eh?