What is the Role of Competition in the Sharing Economy?

In considering The Problem with Competitive Awards in the Sharing Economy I raised the eyebrows of competitive individuals. They struggle to see the Sharing Economy fosters collaboration over competition, insisting that we will never get rid of competition.

To their surprise, I agree. There will always be competition, however, competition is changing.  As disruptive leaders, we are all competitng with someone but in the sharing economy, who we compete with and how we compete have changed radically.  Here are just five of ways that come to mind.

First, there are More Competitors.

Technology has flattened competition, making it easier for the small organization to compete with the larger organizations, leading to many more competitors for the same services.  Where once a company had to be large and powerful to disrupt, now much smaller companies are more noble and out maneuver the traditional giant.  For example, TriplePlay digital signage is offering a service that is consistently beating the much larger competition, like Cisco.

Are you prepared to face more competition for your products and services?

Second, Competition is More External than Internal.

The Industrial Age fostered internal competition to produce the best results.  That is changing in the Shared Economy but won’t be eliminated.  Teams today are built upon collaboration to create the disruptive innovation that provides the edge over competition. Internally, everyone needs to be on the same page. Processes and information must be shared in an open, supportive environment to leverage the leadership power to provide the best competitive advantage in the marketplace.

What new ideas will your team generate when they are free to collaborate with their colleagues?  

Third, Competition is Quicker.

It is no secret that our world is changing radically but that it is also that the speed of change is increasing steadily.  We no longer have the luxury of  delays in decision-making.

That is why savvy organizations today leverage their resources much different from even 20 or 30 years ago.  Instead of owning their real estate and equipment, they lease it.  Some lease their workforce while many more are using only a skeleton crew to collaborate with others outsource important processes.  Did you know that Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce giant outsources its entire manufacturing cycle?  Gigwalk works with companies to supply “on demand” personnel.  Without the cumbersome bureaucracy the organization is free to quickly create disruptive products and services.  In the old industrial model, the size of the organization made quick decisions impossible.

How can you make great decisions quicker?

Fourth, more Customers love to play Competitive Games.

Millennials and Gen X have grown up playing video games and love a virtual world filled with competition.  Companies like Nike, M&Ms and the U.S. Army have built raving fans by offering their customers an opportunity to compete for prizes, perks and privileges. How many contests have you seen on Facebook that test the number of states you have visited or the knowledge of a popular television show?  While these may seem totally disconnected with your business, they do generate traffic to sites and build communities. How can you use gamification to build your community of raving fans?SolvingImportantProblems

Fifth, Competition is less Self-centered and more Altruistic.

Greed drove much of the industrial age competition while altruism drives much more of the Sharing Economy.  Don’t get me wrong, greed hasn’t disappeared nor will it.  My point is that more and more people are collaborating to solve persistent human problems.  Drew Houston, founder of Dropbox, believes that, “The most successful people are obsessed with solving an important problem.” No wonder employees are choosing to engage with companies that work ethically and morally.  Younger workers are demanding more from producers, choosing to buy what was produced in safe conditions.  Consumers want the best products but also want to know how the company operates.  They want to know a company’s “why?”

  • Why are you in business?  
  • Why are you important beyond the profit you make?
  • Why should we care about you?

Be B.O.L.D.

Be Decisive

Become the Disruptive Leader

I am Dr. Loren Murfield and I work with aspiring and emerging leaders to become disruptive leaders, doing the impossible by changing the paradigm of their thinking and telling powerful stories.  If that is your desire, contact me today.

Checkout my online leadership platform. Power University

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(c) Murfield International, Inc. 2017


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