No matter what industry you are in, there is one certainty every business needs to prepare for: competition.
It doesn’t matter if you are a startup or a Fortune 500 company, you are vying for dollars and mindshare against people who have the same vision and ambition as you.
Throughout my career, whether it be at Microsoft or at Porch.com, I have been fortunate to work with teams who never take opportunities for granted and always push the pace to exceed expectations.
For a business to compete it takes an army of like-minded individuals who are ready to band together to ensure the sum is greater than the parts.
Does your team have what it takes to compete? Here are four positive signs to look for:
1. They operate with a high degree of urgency.
No matter where you are in the lifecycle of your business one thing is always true: Time is money. If a team regularly misses deadlines and doesn’t course correct with a high degree of urgency, you are giving your competition a critical advantage: The gift of time. It may sound cliché but every moment and every second counts. A slip of just one day can mean the difference between beating your competition to market, delighting a customer or losing a potential game-changing partnership.
Teams that are ready to compete don’t let deadlines slip, because they maintain a high degree of operational rigor. They get in front of issues before they arise and adapt quickly so deliverables stay on track.
2. They put the team before themselves in everything they do.
Michael Jordan once said, “Talent wins games, teamwork wins championships.” When you enter a competitive marketplace you need everyone to believe in the team-first mentality. Everyone needs to do their job and maximize their skills to the best of their abilities. When people focus on their own agenda or set of individual goals, silos begin to emerge and focus starts to splinter.
Teams that are ready to compete know they are part of something bigger than themselves. They apply their superpowers in a way that makes the aggregate better. They take a “what’s best for business” approach and optimize for team results over individual recognition.
3. They respect the competition as formidable.
One of the biggest mistakes a company can make is to not take the competition seriously. When you don’t respect the capabilities of others or dismiss their potential, you set yourself up to fail. You need to embrace the notion that they are working just as hard as you. In fact, you should operate under the assumption that they are more relentless and tenacious than you.
Teams that are ready to compete know their competition inside and out. They respect their strengths and use that as motivation to make themselves better by addressing potential soft spots and vulnerabilities.
4. They can be described using one word: hustlers.
When teams come together the right way to achieve something big, the culture is electric. Everyone is picking up the pace while pushing and encouraging others to maximize their potential. Everyone hustles. When people begin to lose this edge momentum halts and complacency sets in. Complacency becomes contagious. When that happens you are destined to fail.
Teams that are ready to compete never stop hustling. They are relentless in their pursuit to consistently do their job better than it has ever been done before and they never settle for the status quo.