Your Own Worst Enemy

Treating everyone like a competitor hurts your chances for establishing complementary partnerships.

No name has left a more indelible mark on strategic thinking inthe late 20th century than Michael Porter. Executives throughoutAmerica and the world have studied his books, CompetitiveAdvantage and Competitive Strategy. Porter'sinsights into gaining and sustaining competitive advantage aregreat, but critics contend there's one big problem with hisbody of work: the word "competitive." Isn'tcompetition good? Yes, but not every company is your competitor.Advocates of the partnering school of thought have been quick todifferentiate between companies with which you compete and thosethat are complementary. When a business considers everyone to beits enemy (or competitor), then almost all business relationshipsend up as win-lose situations in which the key is to avoid beingexploited by the other company. In contrast, an eye forcomplementary business activities results in creating mutuallybeneficial, win-win partnerships.

Excerpted from Ben Franklin's 12 Rules of Management

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