Turn competitors into advocates
“Co-petitor.” If you Google the word, you won’t get the definition I want to articulate here. And, if you ask around, some people may say the idea is crazy. However, I’ll go out on a limb and say the more local tech companies can partner with each other, the more opportunity we have as a community to grow and prosper.
I know, we are taught at a young age that healthy competition is good. However, there is strong evidence to show competition can negatively affect productivity in the workplace, and I would bet this is true when we extend those findings to a community of workers, too.
So, let’s look at this through a different lens. Instead of seeing our peer companies as opportunities to compete, let’s consider them opportunities to cooperate. Let’s consider them our co-petitors.
We are very fortunate to live in a region where the philanthropic community and area nonprofits are recognized for being highly collaborative. Why? Because they recognize the need to pool resources to make all of our lives better. I propose we take the same approach in the tech community.
We are all painfully aware of the talent shortage, especially in the tech world. Instead of robbing Peter to pay Paul, we could leverage our peer companies’ strengths to achieve goals.
Here’s an example: My company was presented with an opportunity to reply to the largest RFP in our history. The only way we could be successful in our bid was to partner with other local tech firms with expertise in areas in which we fell short. No, we didn’t try to steal those people and hire them for ourselves. Instead, we opted to look at this as an opportunity to cooperate and collaborate for the benefit of not only our firm, but theirs and the client’s as well.
And guess what? It worked! Our team is growing, not only from a revenue standpoint, but in knowledge, as well. This allows us to improve retention rates, increase profitability and, in turn, have another advocate for what we do — from the firms we’ve partnered with. And on top of it all, we are delighting the client with the work.
It’s a win for everybody.
Next time you are faced with an opportunity to compete, think about how you can become a co-petitor.