Competition or cooperation

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What is better? 

When in business we are thought to perceive other businesses as our competitors. Our models, theories all stress the importance of competition. In a business plan it is one of the most important section. But does it always have to be like that? 

Would the world look better with more focus on cooperation?

Competitors are a bit like an enemies, we view them as someone who will take from us: our clients, our profit. We want to outsmart them. They are the others. But is this true? Afterall we are serving the same purpose; we want to provide services to people. Why do we need to fight, why do we need to see each other are enemies? Wouldn’t it be better if we can work together, support each other, learn from each other? 

Abundance is another word used so often; have an abundance mindset, but wouldn’t abundance mindset tell us that there is enough for everyone? So why, talk about competitors? There is enough of service to provide for all of us.

What if we work together and see what can happens, at least at the start. Let’s not look at each other as enemies.

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I remember my first consulting job long time ago privatising Polish Shoe industry.

At that time, Spanish shoes just started to be known internationally and I had the privilege to meet the man who created this growth of shoe industry in Spain. 

His thinking was one of abundance, he asked other shoe manufactures in Spain: why do we compete with each other; the world is a big space, we can cooperate and extend our market. We can learn and teach each other, share our innovations, produce better products more efficiently, make Spanish shoes valued and desired by people all over the world. It is through this cooperation that Spanish footwear industry grew, become more profitable and know around the world. 

Such cooperation works based on the law of reciprocity; players that do not contribute are weeded out, just like in team sport you would not keep unperforming players on your team.

Coming to think about it, this is a very old idea – guilds associations of craftsmen and merchants in medieval times. We still admire them after all this time and throw away the new ones.

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