I read a great blog over at Outspoken Media by the great Lisa Barone on how the power of competition can be a great motivator to start laying out a game plan. Lisa freely admits that she is a fierce competitor, but not in the crazy way – in a way that has made her a better business woman. In order to win on the web, you must be competitive.
Lisa talked about many aspects that your competitive sprit can help you come out swinging and kick some butt, but the two that I think are the most important are to know your strength and know your team. Since I’ve never been competitive in the traditional sense, I’ll give you a different scenario – Intercollegiate Debate. We fought with words and quick wit, thinking on our toes. So, with Lisa’s thoughts in mind, how can I define my strengths and my team in terms of what I learned in debate.
In debate, everyone you could go up against more than likely has the exact same facts and words ready to twist the tables around on your argument. (Remember 8Mile when B-Rabbit said all the things the other rapper could say about him and completely threw him off – yeah, it’s a lot like that.) We all had words – we couldn’t use those right out of the gate, and what I learned was my strength was to wait for the right time. I knew when to make those twists and I have been told that I never looked like I was that “fierce” of a debater. Many of them ignored the pant suit clad, glasses wearing nerdy looking girl who was sitting at her desk, prepping. By being surprising, I knew I had an edge.
Here I like to keep the element of surprise in how I do things. I’m dealing in another world where everyone has the same words, and it’s just going to take something to flip it around. I always liked being that something.
Before rounds, there were piles of college students with laptops and books (yes books) looking up information regarding various topics. Those who were seasoned debaters were with the novice kids, teaching them how to prep fast and go into what could be their first ever round to compete. Our team never had any drama and we always had a great time on tournaments. There was always something to celebrate, even if we didn’t break out into out rounds, we were proud of the work we had done that day.
Now, in the working world, I feel like our team does the same thing. If I have a question, there are a number of people I can ask, and if there’s something I can’t fully explain, someone will teach me how to explain it. And when that doesn’t work, I can transfer the customer to speak to the person who handles the question. Not only will the customer be happy, but he will also come out and show me what he sent to the customer, so I can understand it better, should the issue ever arise again.
That’s back up right there. For me, that’s the strongest part of any company – your people know their strengths, and the higher ups are willing to get involved in order to have our backs. So now I ask you – are you putting your own strengths and teams to work to get the best out of them and the best out of business?