Competition – Or Are They?


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October 6, 2017

Last week, Kash Gokli, Professor of Manufacturing Practice and Director of the Engineering Clinic at Harvey Mudd, and I led our most recent Harvey Mudd executive roundtable on this topic.  We created these roundtables to bring Southern California executives together to network and discuss timely topics for organization success.  We had a fascinating discussion about two general themes – how to develop a strategy where you stand out from the crowd so you have no competition AND how to collaborate with your competition for win-win success.  In today’s Amazon-impacted, competitive world, it is wise to be thinking about your competition unless you’d like to be left in the dust.  

One tip to implement this week: 
Let’s start by making sure we know our competition.  Certainly, as an executive, you’ll know your competition.  The key question is most likely – could your teams identify the competition?  Which competitors are most prevalent in your industry?  Now for the clincher – how well can you and your organization describe how you stack up vs. your competition?  Start here.

Next, let’s move on beyond understanding our competition.  Do we understand our vision and whether we are fighting it out on a weekly basis or do we have a strategy for how we distinguish ourselves from the competition such that for all intensive purposes, we have no competition?  Easier said than done but definitely worth considering.

And let’s not forget collaboration.  Almost every attendee could come up with an example of how they were collaborating with a competitor for the “right” situation at the “right” time.  Can you find ways to collaborate for win-win success?  It might just pay to remember that your relationship network is one of your most valuable assets.