April 2010 - The Power Of Rivalry
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- 1. April 2010 The Power Of RivalryThe Power Of Rivalrypeople to stop him", Bobby remarked. JimmyHoffa was convicted in 1964 of jury tampering,Great Rivalries attempted bribery and fraud in 1964 andsentenced to 13 years in prison.It was Friday, October 4, 1957. News leakedrapidly that the Soviet Union had successfullySports and Businesslaunched a satellite into low earth orbit. It wasnow official. The Soviet Union was ahead of the It is well known that NASCAR drivers like to paceUnited States in the drive to be the first to enter behind and "draft" off a lead car right up until thespace. Occurring close to the height of the Coldlast lap of the race. Then they make their move toWar the reaction in the US was near panic.pass the lead car and grab the checkered flag.Repeatedly told that the US Vanguard programDistance runners do the same thing. They like towas far ahead of the Soviets, the American public pace behind a top competitor through the majoritywas caught totally off guard. What followed was of the race and then in a burst of adrenalthe election of President John F. Kennedy and his acceleration they attempt to slingshot past andbold statement that America would send a man to cross the finish line first. It is well documentedthe moon and bring him back safely. This speech that when two top contenders in any sport attemptignited the start of what became known as the to pace off each other they often match or beatSpace Race and resulted in some of the most their individual best performances often resultinginnovative and commercially useful technologies in new world records.ever produced in the United States, all in the spanof less than ten years. And as we all know, we didIt is similar in the field of business. Microsoft andland a man on the moon and bring him back Apple battled it out for years. During their rivalrysafely in a time long before hand held calculatorsboth companies had a string of incrediblyand personal computers. innovative product development launches. On thehardware side Intel and AMD were arch rivals forRobert Kennedy had been tracking the illegaldecades. Again, both companies not onlyactivities of Jimmy Hoffa, the president of the dramatically drove their own technology andTeamsters Union for years. He was determined to product development roadmaps but the resultantbring Hoffa to justice when he was installed as exponential increase in processing power droveAttorney General under his brother Jack. Hoffa'sthe entire PC and server industry. The ultimateoffice at the Teamsters Union was located inwinner of both of these rivalries was the customerWashington D.C. approximately two blocks from who benefitted from ever cheaper and higherthe Attorney Generals office. Often when Bobbyperforming computing power. Hertz vs. Avis.Kennedy would be heading home late at night heRemember "We try harder"? Ford vs. Generalwould see the light on in Hoffa's office. He wouldMotors. You get the idea.then immediately turn around and go back to hisoffice and resume his investigation of Hoffa. "If The Exponential Power of RivalryHoffa was working late committing his crimesthen I can work equally late for the American So what can the power of rivalry do for yourcompany? 377 North Avenue Tel: 781.710.4064SM Rockland, MA 02370 Fax: 617.716.5573Building Better Businesses www.Rockland-Group.com
2. April 2010The Power Of Rivalry - A Healthy Paranoia - When a top competitor is plans. Instead, have your managers give you a hot on your heels or you're on his you get acompetitive assessment of how their departments constant healthy dose of paranoia. You know atare performing relative to their rivals. Most all times that if you slow down or screw up yourimportantly, do the same for yourself, publicly. competitor is literally ready to pass you, maybe forever. When you race without a rival you- Being The Best Is The Most Dangerous Position automatically default to your comfort pace. That is - One of the reasons I believe that the United why athletes rarely set records in this situation.States is going through such difficult times is that Your competitor literally makes you better. Itwe no longer have a Soviet Union to focus our works the same with companies.attention on and drive our efforts. We lack a comprehensive rival. The same holds true for - Make It Personal - Bobby Kennedy made itcompanies. Most companies (and countries) personal. When I ran my last company I had abegin their descent shortly after attaining frame hanging on my office wall right in front of dominant stature. Lacking a top competitor to my desk. In it was my top competitor's logo, apace them they default to their comfort pace portrait of their CEO, and a picture of their latestwhich naturally decays over time. By the time competing product. I respected the CEO in thatthey realize what has happened it is often too frame but I wanted to beat him and his company. late. This has occurred from Rome, through I studied his strategies and tactical moves and Spain, France, and Britain over the centuries. All listened to his quarterly investor telecons to better were at one time global superpowers. When you understand his thought processes andachieve a dominant market position it is weaknesses. Often when I was tired, especiallyimperative to retain a healthy paranoia and after a flight back from the Far East, I would start"reverse" draft off your closest rival. packing, look at that picture, and sit back down with renewed vigor. I made him make me a better Far too many leaders and managers today hide leader. I paced off him.behind their company's identity and size and allow themselves to toil away in anonymous - Stop Hiding Behind The Company - Have eachisolation. There is a security in this but there is no department of your company engage in a rivalryenjoyment or sense of accomplishment for them with your top competitors corresponding or their employees. So I challenge you to step out department. When I ran a product developmentfrom behind the curtain and onto an open playing group I researched the development group of our field with your toughest rival. Make it personal key competitor. I educated everyone in our groupand make it public so it will hurt if you lose. You about our rival groups strengths, weaknesses, will be surprised at your true capability (and your and accomplishments. We did not control the company's) under these circumstances. company we worked for but we did control our product development group. We challenged each other to develop faster, better, and cheaper products than our rivals. In short, we did not let the product development group work in a R&D Bill Gately - Principal bunker within our company but we competed onTel: (781)-710-4064 an open field against our rival group. The resultsE-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org were amazing. Because we were now competing against a rival group in a similar profession itCopyright 2006 - 2010 The Rockland Group, Inc. became personal. We were not going to lose. SoAll rights reserved. Reproduction without don't just review project schedules and marketing permission prohibited.