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Competitor or Challenger - how do you view your competition?

Let's begin with Rapaille who has developed "The Culture Code" for his clients - the code that must be honoured in order to realize the success they seek. Here's an excerpt from a March 2007 article in the Toronto Star:

Canada's culture codes are deeply rooted in our experience with winter, says Rapaille. "Canadians learned from the beginning to use what they call `winter energy' to act so as to conserve as much energy as possible." Because of this, he says, "Canadians do not seek leaders with vision, capable of making major breakthroughs." Instead, they elect prime ministers who serve as guardians.

"If the culture code for the American presidency is the biblical figure Moses, a leader who could make his people believe they could do the impossible, Canadians seek leaders who are capable of maintaining the culture. The culture code for Canada is 'To Keep.'

My most memorable experiences with "the competition" are in business working in Canada and in America. What I found profoundly different was each country's perception of the competition.

An American, when meeting the competition, or when reconnecting with a former colleague who is now working with the competition, invites the other to sit and share. Not competitive secrets but overall industry knowledge, perspectives and common challenges they may be facing. Or, perhaps, it's an opportunity to "scope out the competition" - either way, it's communicative.

A Canadian, when meeting the competition, or when reconnecting with a former colleague who is now working with the competition, well, that doesn't happen.  I have found, in my personal experience, Canadian don't mix with the competition.

Why? Maybe it has something to do with the Canadian "to keep" code and America's "can do the impossible" code.

So, where does that leave me? The American-born, Canadian-raised entrepreneur.

I'm left simply with this.

Even the perception of competition is counter-intuitive and counter-productive. Athletes see other teams not as competition but as challengers to their own skills and abilities.

Competition is: something you fight. You want to get rid of it, not have it in your world. Like a fire-breathing dragon.

Challengers make you better at what you do because they push you to greater heights.

My competition are my challengers, I welcome them, embrace them and I want to be with them. In my world there are no fire-breathing dragons, only strong, astute, intelligent warriors who I want to fight with, not against.

What world do you conceive and perceive? A world of competitors or one of challengers?