Sometimes I come across teams who find competition threatening or even debilitating. I think that comes from a negative view of competition and a fear of losing, rather than considering the upside of finding a worthy competitor.
Some of the most amazing inventions and innovations have come about because of a healthy, relentless rivalry. These rivalries normally had an element of respect to them as well.
Consider Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. They had a rivalry like few others in the age of technology. They respected each other. They wanted to outdo each other. They sometimes disliked each other. But they needed each other to push the limits. Their different worldview, perspective and approach fueled each other. They partnered. They invested in each other. Without one, the other might never have succeeded.
The same can be said of the Wright Brothers, Google, Watson, and Crick. They all had competitors who were seemingly in a better position to succeed.
It’s important to understand what makes your competitors tick. To truly understand why they are taking the approach they are taking can give you an edge. Instead of seeing it as a negative, figure out how you can learn from them and improve on their ideas. It will definitely help you learn faster!
Who are the competitors in your space that you admire and can learn from? Identify 3 things from each competitor that you think do it better than you. How can you use that to your advantage?