Opponent or Competitor based Leadership

Companies and countries reflect their leaders, how those leaders drive forward as people is how the company moves forward. We see this in our country today. For the first time in decades we have a leader who is opponent based, looking at the world in a finite Zero Sum manner. I win or you win, you see this in the leaders favorite sport basketball. This is a sport where I try to achieve a goal and you defend or block your turf. One on One is the apex of the sport for a star. Even other territorial sports are not best One on One, ever hear of one on one football?

Competitor based sports see the goal more the way a competitive market is in the business world where multiple players put their best foot forward to win market share. This is the act of winning over others with better ideas and execution.

Leaders in business fight on the field of ideas and execution to win market share. We pull the best from out teams to win hearts and minds of prospects. The old adage that negative advertising does not work is a truth, while recently we have seen some attempts at this with Apple and Mac even done cute it grates on our cultural norms over time. Recently Apple had that strategy turned on them by Samsung and one of the reasons it worked was they played on Apples earlier arrogance.

When a leader drives to pummel their opponent they are not focused on the market and customer, they are not fighting for you they are fighting for themselves. The focus is not innovation and solving problems the focus is their position relative to the other, Zero Sum thinking. Zero sum is not a future based mind set, there is no room for others there is only you and them.

How can someone join if the field is full, why would I join if it is all about you? Leading teams and winning hearts and minds is about taking your eye off yourself and seeing beyond what is there. This is where innovation happens. This action gains true support from your customers because it is inclusive

My sport is Cycling, individuals compete to be the best, they also know that without each other they can’t win. There are starts and support, there are differing skills required like climbers and sprinters. Many winners at various levels, teams, rookies, king of the mountain! Even Football had linemen and runners and receivers. We do talk about the quarterbacks but great QBs without the tools to receive are failures.

Think about how leadership works for you. Are you finite in your thinking or do you compete to be the best for your customer? When Coke and Pepsi changed their focus from opponents they both grew and innovated with new brands and I personally love the new multi-flavor dispensers.

Focus on the customer and be your best, Markets reward competitors especially when they are competing for them.

Tim Bates