I love to run.
When I started running marathons, I used to focus on one person I wanted to beat. I just ran them into the ground. Until I passed them and I had to find another competitor to beat.
That worked well for a few miles but around Mile 15, I lost my stride and focus. Putting all my effort into beating the competition, made me forget to focus on the little things: My posture, the stride, breathing, my mental state, my exhaustion level. All have to be fine-tuned while running or Mile 22 will became the torture mile.
That’s a very common mistake.
Very common for brands, organizations and people. We focus so much on the competition that we lose sight of our mission, vision and performance.
It happened to Toyota when they were focused on beating GM.
We need to use competition to improve ourselves. The competition is there to help us be better, learn from them. What are they doing right in marketing and product development? How are they dealing with customer services challenges? What decisions are turning customers into ex-customers? Collect all of them and delight them with your product/service. Don’t be ruthless against your competition. But ruthless when it comes to your brand. Ruthlessly improving.
When I run now, I focus on myself and try to learn from other fellow runners at the same time. Once I learned enough, I’ll pass them.