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Competitive Intelligence

Camaraderie and Competition -Olympic Roundup

August 22, 2016 by Kimberly Mercer

The first part of the Olympic Games have ended, as they do, in a haze of glory, confusion, regret and strained diplomatic relations. Gaffs, suspect water and international incidents aside, the thing that lingers—the thing that keeps us going back every two years—is the competitive excellence. The idea that someone is the best because they have earned it. The effort and sacrifice necessary to compete and win at this level is unimaginable for most. It’s a small circle of men and women who can relate to the demands and the triumphs. They leave it all on the field.  And it is that commitment which inspires the mutual respect so evident throughout these Olympic Games and it’s that excellence that shines through every practice, every win, and every loss.

One need not look further than the so-called bromance between Canadian Andre De Grasse and Jamaican super-star Usain Bolt for proof of that respect—for a worthy opponent and for competition itself. Many were quick to scold the up-and-comer’s cheekiness, but, as this CBC piece puts it so well, “The king does need a little prod every now and then.” It applies to every one on top, every where—every field, every sport, every market, every relationship. The point is this: never get so comfortable that you take it for granted.

As for the competition, we’re not worried.
Blockbuster CEO, James Keyes

For athletes that can mean losing that edge, that drive to keep going. For companies it can mean missing the double-dog dares of disruptors. Smaller, cheeky guys with a new way of doing things. They can seem silly until they don’t. Unthreatening until they are.

Competition is good for everyone. It pushes us to do our best. Top competitors exalt in dogged pursuit of a moving target. Never satisfied, always seeking a new advantage, a new skill and new tool with which you can get faster, be smarter, do better. Competition drives that spirit by challenging the inertia that can settle in when you’re The Best.
And don’t take it so damn seriously all of the time. It’s not a grudge-match, it’s a race. Or a percentage or two of market share. It needn’t be mean-spirited or to-the-death. Competition in it’s highest form celebrates excellence, commitment and grace. It demands strength and strategy. It rewards will and determination.

Winning feels good. It’s fun. People say nice things to you and sometimes they even give you a prize. There’s no shame in the pride accomplishment. Sportsmanship doesn’t preclude swagger.