Miyagi once said that the best way to block is to not be there.
It’s counterintuitive, but it works. We can’t get it hit if we’re not there. Evasion is the highest form of blocking. And although he was referring to the world of martial arts, his karate principle applies to the business world too.
Because there isn’t a company in the world who doesn’t want to become a monopoly. Who doesn’t want to evade the competition. Gates said it best in his interview about achieving corporate dominance.
Accept that your true aim is to be as near to a monopoly as you can and the law allows.
Zappos is the prime example. Not only are they the best at what they do, but they’re the only at what they do. And that’s precisely why they have wider latitude to obsess about their workers and products and service and culture impact on the wider world. Because monopolists can afford to think about things other than making money. They’re not burning valuable calories trying to control and manipulate and compete with anyone. And that frees up their energy to focus on what matters.
The challenge, then, is bursting outside of the boundaries of our business preconceptions. Rejecting the widely accepted gospel that competition is the best structure invented by humankind.
It isn’t. Competition is a waste of time. It’s a misappropriation of assets. It’s grounded in scarcity thinking. What’s more, it’s a tell. A projection. Look around. If a company is pathologically obsessed with defeating its rivals, it’s probably because their product has no substantive differences to focus on.
As a therapist friend of mine likes to say, if I can just point out how broken you are, I don’t have to deal with my own pain.
And so, never limit your vision to serve petty competitiveness. Do everything you can to block the punch by not being there.
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Are you making war with the competition or making love to the customer?
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That Guy with the Nametag
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