Archive for the ‘competition’ Tag

Priorities

Sig at the thingamy blog talked the other day about organizations concentrating too hard on the latest utility software while delaying imperatives to grow and truly innovate.  It’s as if you were to concentrate on the best toilets, he says, which also are necessary for your smooth operations, but hardly central to progress.  Sig says, “What they need is a tool that allows and strengthens the ability to combine and recombine. That’s what they should focus on. “

This is tied, in my mind, with the gradual dissolution of competition as a force in global economy, as it is being replaced by cooperation.  Coming out on top of the pile loses its attraction when it’s realized that the pile could be dead bodies.  Today’s challenges are about use of natural resources, overpopulation, and terrorism.  In the world of commerce, the question today is: How can I best fit my talents with the needs of the world?  The question used to be: How can I get more than my fair share?  These two queries may as well exist on separate planets.

But it is an exceedingly difficult transition to make, and it seems that only a very few understand it.  I did some writing recently for a large organization, filling it with optimism and a cooperative spirit, and it was edited by the client to be the statement of competitive force that habitually shores up his confidence.  And that no one is likely to read with any enthusiasm or hope.

One can rail and preach, but it’s rather pointless.  The truth will assert itself and hardly needs assistance.  In all our endeavors, we are now challenged to ‘combine and recombine’ for our very lives.  Any effort that sets me ahead of others is an illusion:  it is only when I’m able to set others ahead that I’m actually progressing.

Copping a different beat

Time for another dollop of everyday creativity development.  This is the next installment in a long line of tiny little actions you can take, whenever and wherever, to help develop your creative abilities.  A well developed creative sense is the first step towards fulfillment in life.  Our western economy has all but destroyed individual creativity, and huge numbers of us don’t even know what the term means. 

If the analysts are right, though, the economy now developing – which is undeniably of global concern – depends on such precise self- and business-definition as to render competition irrelevant.  This means that you have so distinctly defined your particular gifts that you can be characterized in a way that’s entirely different from anyone else in the world.  Pretty tall order, huh?  All very well for Google and Twitter, but my individual path surely can’t be that creative.

Au contraire, we must remember that all businesses are made up of individuals just like us.  The only difference is that some individuals have taken the time to become deeply acquainted with their creative selves, and the groundbreaking advances their enterprises offer are the result.

So here’s today’s pointer.  A while ago I posted about habits, and how it’s helpful to switch them out now and then.  This is a related concept: dig deeper into your creative sense by trying out new responses to the same old same old.  Do you always grumble a brief “‘Mornin'” to your coworker upon arriving at the job?  Just once, try looking them in the eye and asking sincerely, “How are you today?”  Do you always hold staff meetings in a conference room?  Try scheduling one standing up around the office, or at the cafe down the street.  Is there a task at work you find distasteful and generally avoid?  Try facing it head-on despite your reluctance, pretending you’re thoroughly enjoying it.

Especially poignant is a new approach to someone who generally peeves you no end.  What if you refuse to respond at all to them?  What if you smile sweetly instead of allowing yourself to be frustrated?  Most likely, any kind of new and different response from you will make all the difference to your whole day.

Doing anything in a different way from the norm will open your eyes; and clarity in perception is a greatly helpful tool as you seek your creative potential.

A final note for all my fellow aging baby boomers:  switching out your responses, practicing variety in your actions, simply doing old things in new ways is a powerful weapon to combat dementia.  Want to stay alert through your old age?  Then do everything you can to climb out of your mid-life rut right now and enter into full realization of possibility.

Metaphor

This door represents the specificity of one business.  Note that there are doors everywhere, and they tend generally not to compete with one another.  But the opening of one often leads to the opening of another.  And note the tremendous personality one door can have.  Note how much one glance at it can tell you.  Note not only the visual experience, but the emotional one.  You get a feeling from this door, as well as factual info. 

There are millions of doors, but none exactly like this one.  This one services a few people, and they are grateful.  It does its job, it prospers. 

Can your business be so specifically and personally described?  Is it known and loved the way this door seems to be?  Does it have a well cultivated, useful, proud personality that is not afraid or suspicious regarding other businesses, but serves its own purposes faithfully?

Specificity in business

There’s an old fashioned notion still strongly prevalent in small business circles, one that works against success in today’s economy. But people cling to it like a right and priviledge of which they’re proud. And the issue relates directly to all my previous blather about specificity.

Newly established as a small business, and needing to make my presence and services known, I joined a couple business networking/referral groups. It’s been useful and fun so far, and I’m happy to contribute. But there’s a dyed-in-the-wool rule these networking groups abide by that deeply turns me off: no two businesses of the same type can be members simultaneously. So the group has one realtor, for example, and all others in town are barred. The thinking is that in referring business to one another, there will be no conflicts.

It used to be that one realtor in town could cover the needs, and if another set up practice, that meant dividing the spoils. But any aware person nowadays knows no one organization can answer the needs of our mushrooming population. There is plenty of room for the energies and innovations of all of us, and the more we open up channels of communications, the better off we all are.

A small business distinguishes itself through specificity. An individual business becomes successful through careful identification and cultivation of individual strengths, always unique, always useful in some way, to some people. Realtor A is not inherently better than Realtor B. If they have both precisely identified and defined the specifics of their services, they’ll each find more-than-sufficient markets. And in the meantime, they can help one another to self-define, if only they’ll open up communications!

I would love it if other virtual assistants were in my networking groups. I prefer to see other people in my field as friends, not competitors. In a global economy, competition retards growth, while cooperation makes clear the specific offerings of each.

So far, however, I see no cracks in their armor, and raising this issue with the groups to which I belong is not likely to happen anytime soon. The pride and paranoia are impenetrable! But I’ll chip away behind the scenes, perhaps, because change is inevitable eventually.