Defeating Your Competitors

Success does not come by chance; it requires hard work, focus and diligence. Winning is not achieved through luck but by knowing what it will take to overcome all competitors and being able to deliver on that. In your business, in your markets, are you defeating your competitors?


Active Knowledge Question:

What will it take for you to defeat your competitors?


Defeating One and All

There is a saying in strategy that holds truth, and that is that ‘the ability of a competitor to defeat me lies in my hands, not theirs’. And what that means is that a competitor can only defeat you if you let them.

It was not that they were better than you, but that you let yourself be lesser than them. You could excuse yourself and say that on the day they were better than you, but you could also take ownership and say I did not bring my best to the day and I let them win.

It is an interesting position to take where you do not allow victory to rest in a competitor’s greater capability but in your failing to exceed. It is not about fault and attributing blame because that only undermines one’s ability to exceed. It is not about focusing on what you did wrong as that will only reinforce the likelihood that you will repeat those failings.

It is about uplifting what you did well and how you can do that much better. Winning and stepping ahead of defeat requires that you reinforce and focus on that which allows you always to win.

Enduring success requires:

  • Knowing what it will take to win.
  • Developing the capability (the talent) to deliver on that winning outcome.
  • Being focused on the capability not the winning of the prize.
  • Possessing the mental and emotional strength to deliver every time, and at the most critical times.
  • Always being formless.

In business language, that means:

  • Understanding customer value through the customers’ eyes.
  • Delivering more customer value than anyone else.
  • Building and growing the capability to deliver that value.
  • Being focused on customer value and not profit.
  • Being competitively fit and strengthening the competitive engine in your business.
  • Continuously evolving your customer value and delivery.


Where We Get It Wrong

In business there is a tendency to always look at the number of medals we have won each and every day – the medals being profit – and to totally miss that which allows that profit to be earned.

Businesses can often be internally focused and:

  • Focus on the service/product they produce and not be focused on the value that the customer is seeking.
  • Seek to balance margins against customer value, always trimming customer value back to increase profit.
  • Not really know at what they excel as a business and ensuring this aligns with, and enables, the value customers seek.
  • Are led by a profit-first motive rather than a motive to compete.
  • Do not understand what underpins their ability to be competitively fit as a business.
  • Lock into an approach that has made them successful in the past and find it difficult to shift from this formula.

The outcome of being internally focused is to be constantly battling to win and fighting each and every day against self-interest, politics and short-termism being what an internal focus tends to seed.


A 180 Degree Turn

To change the way your business operates requires that you no longer look inward but that you look outward. You know longer look to blame, to find failings, to credit your competitors with winning, to always be obsessed with the prize.

You know that the prize, that winning, is an outcome of defeating everyone on the day. And that you will only win if you are the best, in all respects.

You focus on building the ability, the capability, to win, and then you bring all of that to bear every day. But every day you seek to do that better than the day before. Because you also know that the moment you stop and take form, someone will catch up to you. And you will have then let them defeat you.

In a constantly evolving marketplace, you take hold of a relentless focus on the value customers are seeking, and you deliver more value than anyone else.

And you achieve this through the strength of the competitive engine that exists in your business.



An entirely new level of performance.

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All the best in the success of your business,

Richard Shrapnel