Importance Of Community Over Competition In Business


Importance of community over competition in business by CulturallyOurs Why community over competition matters in business by CulturallyOurs

Importance Of Community Over Competition In Business

Show Details

In this bonus episode for Season 02, we explore community over competition, one of the most common terminologies used in the business world today. We also talk about practical ways you can incorporate this in your life and business. Competition gets a bad rep in terms of how it can lead to unhealthy feelings of anger, jealousy and fear. But when competition is looked at as a force of good, as a way to band together to serve the broader collective, it becomes more about community and less about individual achievement. 

Show Notes

Karthika shares a bonus episode around community over competition, one of the most common terminologies used in the business world today. She talks about practical ways you can incorporate this in your life and business. Competition gets a bad rep in terms of how it can lead to unhealthy feelings of anger, jealousy and fear. But when competition is looked at as a force of good, as a way to band together to serve the broader collective, it becomes more about working together as a community and less about individual achievement. 

The Transcript

We’ve probably all seen this happen before. We meet people at a networking event or even online and are immediately struck by how successful they are. They seem to have it all – career, life, family, health – the prefect everything. And if they happen to be in the same industry as us, that can sometimes make matters worse. Negative thoughts, feelings and emotions take over and we immediately disconnect.

Competition, if not handled properly, can lead to arrogance, an inability to sympathize and even indifference. Let us start looking at competition in another way. Competition doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Competition can yields positive results. It fact it helps us work smarter, hone our skill set, builds character and makes us better versions of ourselves.

Start thinking of competition in a community mindset. Your competition – that is people who are doing the same thing or similar thing as you, are nothing but a group of like-minded people who are passionate about the same or similar things as you. Your worth or the worth of your company does not depend on them – it solely rests on how you run your business.

When I used to work in Corporate America, one of the things I really enjoyed was my annual performance evaluation. I know that probably makes me a little bit of a weirdo but I actually really did love looking back at my year and figuring out all the things I did well and all the areas that I wanted to improve or do better the following year. One of the companies I worked for during my 15+ years in Corporate America had a 360deg approach to performance evaluation.

So basically a person’s performance was measured by input from 4 areas – people who they reported to, people who they worked with on the same team and other cross-functional teams and people who reported to them. And sometimes these lines were dotted. What this meant was that through out the year you had to actively engage with your managers, your peers as well as junior staff and find ways to collaborate and work together on projects for a greater good.

I thought this was brilliant. Not only did it emphasize the importance of individual performance, but also made me realize team work, collaboration and working together to solve problems that make an impact, are crucial for my career growth and emotional development.

So how can we use this 360deg approach in areas of our business and business growth? Let us look at some ways you can effortlessly practice community over competition in the business world

1) If you admire something about someone, let them know

Often times when we see something amazing or something well done by a peer, we feel like it is a poor reflection on us and our performance. It goes back to what we talked about earlier about a candle not losing its brightness when it is used to light other candles. So if you see your competitor doing something good or a peer achieving a noteworthy accomplishment, pay a compliment for a job well done. It can be a comment on social media, a like, a share or even a tweet. If you are face to face with your peer, congratulate them or even take them out for a coffee or lunch treat. Don’t make it about you, make it about them without expectations for anything else in return.

Do you remember Maggie O’Reilly from Mayta Collection in Season 02 of the podcast? I will link to Maggie’s episode in the show notes so you can go back and take a listen. She has an amazing attitude when it come to competition. As an ethical fashion and lifestyle brand, Maggie operates in a fairly crowded space. But just because there are a lot of players, doesn’t mean business has to be a struggle. Maggies knows her ideal customer and her customer lifecycle well. Conscious fashion shoppes value a brand’s ethos as much as they do getting a good deal. Maggie talked about how she is not afraid to reach out to other players in the space and say hello, ask questions and make connections. She also routinely highlights ethical and inspiring companies and small business on social media – those that are doing good and doing well. And by communicating and showcasing others in the space, Maggie is setting herself as an authority in the overall ethical fashion and lifestyle movement – not just a small business focused on sales.

2) Give others a hand up

If you are in a position to help your competitor or your peer in any way, offer your assistance. Perhaps they are having a hard time fulfilling orders, or perhaps they just need an extra pair of hands temporarily. Maybe you see something that could be done more effeciently or cost-effectively. Don’t be condescending. Instead, offer to assist purely for the sake of being friendly and helping out. When you meet someone for the first time especially in a business setting, don’t immediately think about what they can do for you. Instead think about how you can help them out.

Do you remember Minh Cao from Season 01 of the podcast? Minh and I met as photographers on Instagram. We connected over a shared love for lifestyle editorials and the desire to bring more authenticity in our work. As people of color, we both wanted our unique cultures and creative voices to be heard. At that time, technically Minh and I were what you would call competitors. We were both photographers doing similar things. But instead of looking at it from that lens, we chose to collaborate. Minh actually opened her home and her business to me, a complete stranger, and we collaborated on a couple of editorial photoshoots. She hosted me, fed me and gave me a couch to sleep on for a weekend and all we did was share life stories, talk business, dream big and create amazing work that was published in a few leading blogs. Till date, I smile when I think about our weekend of business ideation and content creation. I will link her episode in the show notes so you can listen to her story as well.

3) Invest in relationship not business transactions

Have you ever met someone who seems so present and interested in what you are saying that you feel as though you might just be the most interesting person they’ve ever met. Their encouraging smiles, meaningful eye contact and relaxed attentiveness just makes you feel empowered. It is so easy to get caught up in our own thoughts and what we need to do that day that we end up only half listening to people when they are talking us. I know I am guilty of this too many times.

So the next time you’re talking to a colleague, peer or business contact, try to actively listen and engage with them, ask thoughtful questions and give them your full attention. The energy that you send will make them feel appreciated and empowered.

I love competition. It is such a core part of a civilization’s foundation. It actually is the catalyst for progress. Competition is healthy when it’s not at the expense of others. Competition is never meant to hold people back or put people down, but instead to push people forward. Competition is a healthy part of life, but life is not a competition. Life is about relationships.

The best businesses aren’t those who are concerned with how much of their competitor’s business they are taking. Rather, the best businesses are concerned with how to best serve their customers. This means business is inherently community-based. Society, and the world, starts to get better because people compete – looking for new ideas, new ways to do old things and do it well for the greater good and not just to financially succeed.

I also love community because people are designed to be in connection with one another. We are not meant to be alone, and lives are enriched by strong family bonds, friendships, and relationships. Life is better when it’s lived alongside as well as for others.

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