We all get consumed by thoughts of our competition:
What is X Company doing better than us?
Is X Company too big for us to compete with?
What does X Company know that we don’t?
Don’t get me wrong, competitive intelligence is a key business competency. However, I’m here with some good news for you: every organization has a common ground. No matter your size, experience level or revenue number, you have an even playing field in at least one area that you can constantly improve upon to get a leg up on your competitors.
(The answer likely won’t come as a surprise.)
I don’t care who you are, what you do or who you work for. I don’t care if it’s vendors, clients, prospects or coworkers. At some point, your and your company’s values will be determined by how well and how efficiently you can get work done with others. Period.
Collaboration is more important today than at any time in history. The increasing prevalence of knowledge workers, the shift toward flexible and remote work, the globalization of business and the speed of information means that everyone needs to collaborate effectively in order to be successful. Whether it’s in-person or over audio, video or IM, whether it’s one-to-one, one-to-many or many-to-many, whether it’s on a desktop, laptop, smartphone or tablet—people have to work together.
You have to do it. Your competitors have to do it. And whoever can do it better, whoever can navigate the structural and technological challenges and put processes in place to encourage collaboration will have a competitive advantage.
That’s the main reason I’m still so passionate about connecting businesses after nearly 25 years in the industry. Everyone needs to communicate and collaborate more effectively. There is no “target” to hit, no quota number on collaboration that we can reach and feel good about ourselves. It’s a skill that can always be improved upon, just as the technology that facilitates it is constantly improving.
We’re not talking in terms of nice-to-haves anymore. These are table-stakes skills and capabilities for companies of all sizes.
So, by all means—continue to scout your competitors’ sales and marketing tactics, product offerings and campaign strategies. But don’t forget about a truly transformative internal competency that will pay dividends across your entire business. Don’t forget about the common ground you share with every business all over the world.
Collaboration is everything.
For more insights from Boland, read his latest contribution to Entrepreneur.com – “Go Ahead, Destroy Your Comfort Zone.”