Dec 28th, 2017

Business Is Not, I Repeat, Is NOT a Battlefield

The words we use to describe the world of business all too often seem to come straight out of a war story. Take this excerpt from a book I recently (tried to) read, comparing business to the way dogs and cats hunt and fight:

“Consider the mental image conjured up by a dogfight, where rival dogs (firms) scratch and claw for territorial dominance (market share), often battling with largely similar tactics (products and services). […] Cats are agile and innovative, and seek their prey (customers) with tactics that dogs cannot easily replicate.”

After reading the paragraph (which appears in the foreword!), I tossed the book.

Customers as prey, firms scratching and clawing for dominance?!

I get that being in business can be unforgiving and harsh – but focussing your energy on fighting with other companies, conjuring up mental images of warfare and fighting until the last man stands is not only stupid but also the wrong way to focus your energy.

Instead of exhausting your energy in “battle,” I’d instead focus on what matters: Caring for our customers, teams, and partners; creating nurturing and mutually beneficial relationships and creating products and services which solve our customer’s needs; delight her and – in doing so – create long-term sustainable businesses.

The purpose of business is to create value – everything else is a function of this.

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