Learning from a strong competitor
I was hearing a 2006 speech of Jack Ma, the self-made billionaire from China. He made a very interesting comment about his competitors, Google and eBay. He said that he was honoured to have strong competitors like them, since they made him learn a lot and become wiser and stronger. He was thankful to them.
I pondered over his comment, and got thinking about the reality and relevance of his comment. It occurred to me that he was so true. Each one of us have been aspiring to become No.1 in our field, which happens only by taking over the competition. Having a stronger competitor certainly makes life difficult, but makes one equally opportunist, if one has the passion and energy. We can embrace both Progress and Growth owing to a strong competition, and this happens at a fast speed, owing to the dynamic drive it offers. The only thing that is important in this approach, is a sharp focus and commitment, like Jack Ma. If we see his journey over the past 10+ years, he has been able to exponentially grow and has reached the pinnacle, inspite of having strong competitors. He continues to outperform his competition owing to his hunger and aspiration.
We all have a wonderful opportunity of learning from our competition, especially when it is a strong one, who has been the leader in his field. Challenging situations often make us agile and superior, since they make us introspect ourselves and ponder over our capabilities. On the other side, having a watch on competition, in a way, also enables us avoid getting trapped into the vicious circle of complacency. The worst part of complacency is that it retards the pace of progress and eventually destroys the existence of a company or team.
We need to have an analyzing mindset, so as to notice and work on each of the competitor’s move. We need not be followers everytime, however need to vigilant. Leaders always make their own path and are unique in their style – at times, difficult to emulate.Their conviction and courage is the main recipe for their success. They tread their path carefully with razor sharp focus on their goals.They are visionary and assemble their own team of people who enable them to succeed. They monitor their progress and continuously work on thinking ahead of time. Success is an outcome of a systematic way of working with discretely defined process with minute details. Every such effort does have a result. Winning for them, becomes a passion, that drives them. They learn to relish each win and draw inspiration from such win for subsequent ones, thereby forming a culture and institutionalizing it. Harvard has several such case studies being taught to their students.