I don’t know about you, but there are a few business magazines that I really enjoy, and Harvard Business Review and Fast Company are pretty high on that list. Today I was reading this month’s Fast Company, which features a front page article on the world’s 50 most innovative companies. As I browsed the article (which I was thoroughly enjoyed since I’m an innovation geek) I saw that one of my company’s primary competitors made the list. Bummer!
I was reminded that I shouldn’t let my competitive nature get the better of me. One person who let a prideful, competitive mindset hurt him was King Saul. David (who at the time was a young, small shepherd boy) stole a lot of King Saul’s limelight as Israel’s commander-in-chief when he defeated Goliath. Saul ultimately threw away his kingdom when he became utterly consumed with David’s popularity (1 Sam 18) and became willing to sacrifice everything to remain the most popular in the eyes of the people. They key learning is this: if you focus too much on beating them, you’ll lose what makes you great.
In truth, it didn’t really bother me too much that our competitor made the list – what bugged me is that we didn’t. In the end, that’s probably a good thing. The truth is, without good competition we’d be much less inclined to be our best. We need them and they need us. As much as it might pain us, we should be thankful for good competitors.