The Death of the Competitive Era and the Birth of the Collaborative Era

  • Posted on: 10 January 2016
  • By: LMP

We are at the beginning of the transformation of modern business, a transition from the competitive era to the collaborative era. You might be scratching your head. Let us explain a bit further....

Throughout most of the 20th century, even as the world became smaller and business moved into a global scale, businesses operated under the assumption that they could only succeed by competing with other companies to provide either a cheaper or better service or product than the competitor. The philosophy and mode of thinking of the day was easy to understand. Competition meant another business that provided a similar product or service, either locally or on a larger scale. Competition has long been the cornerstone of business and of policies both in businesses and in government. This is not the case anymore.

As the technology sector began to take hold of nearly every aspect of business and as business itself became a global force rather than national, regional or local; the new school of thought began to change. Strategic partnerships began to take hold. Of course, there has always been this type of strategic positioning with acquisitions, partnerships and supply chains; but technology made access to ownership entry easier. As that has taken place, competition seems to have held less weight in the big scheme of things. How can a company that is accustomed to competing with maybe a dozen or so companies now compete with a million different companies?

The truth is they can't. It's statistically impossible. When so many organizations and individuals are competing against one another, the only feasible option left is to partner rather than compete. As they say, "if you can't beat 'em then join 'em." Beyond the mathematical and economic dilemma, however, is a much deeper issue. Millennials in particular, the future and current leaders of business and politics, are more conducive of collaboration than competition. They were brought up working and playing with computer technology and they were also the generation that virtually invented social entrepreneurship, that is making profit while helping people and acting in the public good. They actually give a damn about society and success equally.

Of course, there is still competition and companies still need to compete, but the playing field is much different and more diverse. There are more opportunities to collaborate than ever before. What are your goals really? Do you aim to be a dictatorship that squashes, provokes or conflicts with others simply to be number one? This strategy will fail you from here out in the new collaborative era. You won't have the stamina, resources or sheer power to do so any longer. You need to start thinking more democratically and running your business as an open platform to collaborate with others who also want to make money and solve problems. After all, this is the purpose of a business: to solve problems and provide solutions. Remember this other adage: "Two heads are always better than one."

If you have noticed a significant negative change in your operations, profitability, employee morale, employee retention, generational division and/or business development, chances are it could have something to do with the company's strategic philosophy about competition and collaboration. In fact, many companies are struggling to understand why their turnover rate is suddenly so high and why they can't keep talented employees. The answer is simple. They don't want to work for you. And the truth is they don't have to. They will find a company that understands the above philosophical difference and will adapt to the change in labor practice and business operations. LMP can consult with your business on your operations, marketing, brand awareness and collaborative strategy to transition your company into the age of collaboration.

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