I’ve talked to my team a lot over the last several years about the ups and downs of the business and in particular the competition we have with other companies. It’s been an interesting dynamic to watch. As our company became more and more competitive with the established consulting firms we began hearing feedback regarding what people were saying about us, especially to our clients. Any sign of weakness and some of our competitors were there to remind our clients of how we were a “start-up”, that we were “unstable”, that we could fail at any time. In fact I even heard it from individuals we interviewed to fill positions with our company. To be honest, it caused a deep pain in my heart. I have only ever wanted to create a company that takes care of our clients, challenges the industry to be better, and in the end helps to sharpen the entire community in which I work.
What I have realized in starting my own company is that I am part of a broad community. If we’re ever going to get better and improve the quality of what we do we have to work together. We need to push one another, challenge one another, and even help one another. Yes, there are times when you have an advantage and you ride the wave of that advantage while you can realizing that everyone else will be catching the next wave right behind you. In our business it doesn’t take long until someone else figures out what you’re doing and how to duplicate it.
However, at the end of the day, for me, competition comes down to respect. Sure, I want to win every time I compete, but everyone I’m competing against are people worthy of my respect; they have feelings, they have families, they have purpose, and they have dreams just like I have. So when I win, I want it to be in a way that treats others with respect. In the end, the way we win matters.