Competitive research. Espionage. Keeping up with the Joneses. Trying to put the other guy out of business. These are all egoic activities that excite our brains into thinking we’re doing something important. When our egos run our actions, we define everything that’s not us as an “other” to be avoided or defeated. This is science.
In a world where money and power are the de facto standard, egoic actions take precedence over almost all else, particularly in the business world.
This is another reason that the community-building aspect of online (and offline) communications continues to baffle many organizations. It’s so completely counterintuitive to the ego, which wants to shore up control wherever possible, and create a very narrow definition of ‘us’ and ‘them’.
A great example I came across recently is that of ATM fees. What other kind of mindset would develop a system by which a potential customer is punished for using a service? If I’m a Chase customer, and I go into a TD bank to get money, I am charged extra.
If you take a moment and consider this, even from the most basic business level, it seems ludicrous.
TD (in this example) has the opportunity to build a relationship with a potential customer, to connect in a way that maybe their current provider does not, to create a lasting impression.
Instead, the experience feels more like a punishment for using the other guy. It is a “the other guy is evil, and screw you for using them” moment.
You have people at a point of influence. Their attention is focused on the experience. Why not use that time for something positive? Why not leave them with a great, memorable experience? Why not be human?
Why use it for ‘other-ing’ the people who come in?
Competition need not be about defeating the other guy, it can be about building a community regardless of what else is out there. That comes from a place of humanity.
A real place.