They are in front of you, behind you and running right alongside you. They are sometimes real; other times they are imaginary, created by fears you have of finishing second or, worse, last. Who are they? Why your competition, of course.
Stop Looking Over Your Shoulder as a Creative Business Leader
It’s easy to get so caught up in what other creative business leaders in your industry are doing that you lose focus of your company’s mission and goals. If you’re a creative business leader who regularly attends conferences, trade shows and other public sales events, you may find yourself sitting next to other leaders in your industry, making it hard for you to avoid asking how their companies have been performing in certain pockets.
Even if you try to bury your curiosity beneath mounds of small talk, other business owners likely know what you’re doing. But who cares how your competition is performing? Is your company meeting the goals and objectives you set for it? Are products you announced during a press release ready to be shipped on time to distributors for consumer purchase? Are your company’s customer service ratings improving year-over-year? Is your business in the black?
Keep Your Sights on Your Creative Business Progress
Clearly, just focusing on your company will leave you with little to no time for worrying about what the competition is doing. Furthermore, competition often lies about results, exaggerating successes. Fiction writers are familiar with this tactic as it’s not uncommon for other writers to exclaim that they sold thousands of copies of a recently released book when, in actuality, they may have only sold several hundred copies. The banking and mortgage market crash of late 2007 showed how companies falsify information, claiming that their businesses are healthier than they actually are.
Keep your sights on your company’s progress, goals and objectives you have set for it. Take strategic action to expand your market and measure the results of your efforts. Take steps to connect with communities your creative business operates in. Focus on developing your talent pool. Communicate openly and honestly with clients, customers and employees, for as Mihaly Csikzentmihalyi, author of the book, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience said, “In large organizations the dilution of information as it passes up and down the hierarchy, and horizontally across departments, can undermine the effort to focus on common goals.” (Although generally not as frequently, the same can occur at small firms.)
Finally, recall the words of Chin-Ning Chu, “A successful life is one that is lived through understanding and pursuing one’s own path, not chasing after the dreams of others.”
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