Thursday, December 22, 2011

Compete or……..?

by Steven Worth

As a rule whenever anyone faces competition there are four healthy ways in which to react:  1) we can choose to compete heard-on, if we feel we have a competitive advantage; 2) we can abandon the field to the competitor and choose a less crowded and more profitable area in which to compete; 3) we can find ways to co-exist with the new competition through partnership or some other form of accommodation; or 4) we can retrench and redefine the way in which we are going to compete.

Each one of these four options are different and worthy of book-length discussions of strategies in their own right—depending on the field and the nature of the competition; but they all share a common attitude—a realistic look at the competition and a desire to find a winning strategy.

When one looks at the growth rates of the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) in a wide variety of fields, it is possible to forecast when each will surpass the US—provided all current conditions remain the same.   This last phrase is key, and therein lies the future for US-based organizations.

The four options outlined above are not the only options we have of course.  Here are four more options that some find appealing:  1) keep doing what we have been doing and ignore the competition; 2) resort to brute force (such as the threat of litigation or government-imposed trade barriers for example) to frighten the competition away; 3) keep focused on positive thoughts until they become reality; or 4) accept the inevitability of being something less than number one. These options too share something in common—they all ultimately lead to failure.

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