12 July 2011 - Realise2 Strengths Dynamics #14
The strength of Competitive is all about winning. But its strengths dynamics will very much influence how Competitive plays out in practice. For example, depending on the other strengths with which it combines in our Realise2 profile, we might strive to out-work, out-think, out-perform, out-stretch, out-argue or even out-shine our competition - as we explore next.
Out-work. "Effort brings its own rewards." If this is your philosophy and you have Competitive, it's likely that you'll try to out-work your competition in order to win. When Competitive is paired with Drive, Mission, Persistence or Work Ethic, the commitment to the task is what will get you through. If this were an organisation, it could be GE.
Out-think. If your brainpower is what makes the difference, out-thinking your competition could be the way to go. Combine Competitive with Creativity, Innovation, Judgement or Strategic Awareness and you'll be well on your way to the victory you seek. Think of an organisation like this, and it could be Apple.
Out-perform. When quality and delivery are what differentiates, out-performing against your competition will be the thing that makes the difference. The strengths dynamics of Competitive with Improver, Personal Responsibility, Pride or even Time Optimiser will help you here, since you will get more done, to a better standard, more quickly, and more reliably than anyone else. The archetypal organisation that fits this bill could be Amazon.
Out-stretch. If taking the risk to go above and beyond is where it's at for you, out-stretching the competition is your best solution. To do this most effectively, look for strengths dynamics between Competitive and Adventure, Bounceback, Courage or Resilience. These will all help you have the guts to step beyond the safe and secure, and reach out into the stretch zone. An organisation that has done this consistently is Virgin.
Out-argue. When the debate is the decider, you need to be able to make your case better than anyone else around you. To out-argue your competition, look to combine Competitive with Counterpoint, Explainer, Narrator or Persuasion. When you do so, you'll find that you are able to charm the birds from the trees. Innocent (at least pre-Coca Cola) would have fitted the bill here.
Out-shine. If captivating people's attention is what makes the difference for you, then look to meld Competitive with Spotlight. When you hold the audience in the palm of your hand in this way, nobody else gets a look-in. When you think of an audience being captivated like this, think of Ben Zander's Boston Philharmonic Orchestra.
So, there we have it, six ways to out-compete and the strengths dynamics that enable them. But is winning everything? For people dominated by Competitive, it may be. For the rest of us, how we win and what we win may be at least as important. Two strengths can serve to temper or at least channel this Competitive drive. Pair Competitive with Moral Compass, and winning will only be winning if it's done in the right way.
Combine Competitive with Humility, and you find the person who typically wants to win for their team or their organisation, not exclusively for themselves. In doing so, you might glimpse the person who has resolved the most perennial organisational conundrum of our times: how to breed people who are team players but nonetheless insatiably hungry for the taste of victory and commercial success.
Add a dash of Moral Compass, and you might just have the person who will win collegially and in a way that is ethical to boot - something we could all do with more in our current climate.
With best wishes,
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