Don’t fight the competition, date the customer

… management is fighting the competition, not dating the customer. They’re just thinking about, what’s my share against this competitor, and how can I get that back. And so they commission a team whose job it is to do a better product than the competition. And that may work in the short term, but it’s very hard to make it work in the long term. And so it may just be that internal view in the company, that we tend to see the world through this lens of, what’s our relative share. And maybe if we’re a senior manager in charge of a business unit, we’re bonused on that, it’s how well we’re doing against the competition. And so it ends up creating this whole incentive system and process and structure and roles around fighting the competition, not dating the customer.

–David Robertson, HBR Idea Cast #575

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