Healthy Competition Is a Good Thing

Agency Lessons Inspired By The Tokyo Olympics 2022

The #TokyoOlympics are upon us, and the medal count has begun. The Motion Agency is getting in on the action by creating our own Olympiad, complete with an opening ceremony, prizes and a good dose of healthy competition. While some Motionites claim they’ve been training for these games their entire life, in essence, they actually have.

Research shows that competition builds emotional intelligence (EQ) and social intelligence (SI) starting at a young age. Both are necessary to build and consolidate relationships and manage the array of emotions of winning and losing: empathy, vulnerability, tenacity, social skills, self-awareness and motivation. So a little healthy competition can be good for kids, helping develop important life skills they’ll use well into adulthood. And in team settings, much like our own Motion Olympiad, we found ourselves driven to want to compete for our own personal best and find joy and camaraderie in the successes of our collective teams.

While losing a nail biter is not always easy to swallow, it got me thinking about healthy competition in our industry and our own workplace.

We compete with ourselves, our peers, and other agencies. Healthy business competition has more benefits than you might think. It’s why Ad Age wants to know the Best Places to Work in 2022. It’s why Inc releases its top 5000 companies every year. In our industry especially, when you head into the pitch, you always want to know that your idea delivers for the client while in the same breath, you want to know who you’re competing against. And of course, competition is expected in business, and rather than lamenting the thought that any other company would dare to live in “my space”, I now look at that competition as an opportunity to learn, grow and even have fun.

Here are some inherent benefits to business competition:

  • Getting There is Half the Fun – Whether you win, lose or draw, during the competition process (aka “the training”), people may learn a new skill, develop a new pricing structure, or connect with a new co-worker. All these adjustments can have a lasting change.
  • “We’re All Truly in this Together” – There’s no shortage of happy hours and ice breakers at most companies. We need that to build trust with each other – to get to know each other’s strengths, skills, interests, passions, and humor as teammates. So, when we work together towards a common business goal, we start with a strong foundation. Working (and winning) as a team with a common goal creates a meaningful and lasting connection to our peers. Rinse and repeat that team-building process and you see more medals in your win column.
  • P-R-I-D-E – Although I live and breathe Motion’s values, mission and vision, employees may believe them more when another company calls us, “the best”. When we win in a competitive opportunity, our business proposition and talent are essentially validated by the end customer, making many employees proud of who they work for and the work we’ve done to get there.
  • You’re Welcome, Customers –Customers/clients ultimately benefit from competition. They get a proposal from a business who will do more for them than they even considered. If the profit margin remains strong, competition could push a company to introduce a new offering that they may not have previously planned.
  • Bettering Your Best – Competition forces businesses to up the ante, stretch their creative thinking and turn into the best version of themselves. When Motion loses an opportunity, it makes us sharpen our pencils, rethink our approach and sit up a little taller. Without competition, business efforts would be a stagnant, repetitive exercise. Placing second in a pitch only fires us up and makes us focus even more on winning the next one. Athlete or not, this fire ignites across the entire agency and drives us together, making us stronger, sharper, more inventive, and burning to take on the next pitch.
  • The Best Four-Letter Word Play. Competition can push companies to innovate. Innovating to stand out against competition can be extraordinarily fun. My company once was challenged to win a possible client over solely using Twitter. We made it to the final round and lost, but my team had incredible fun trying to win a big client in a new fashion.

Usually in business competition, there’s not gold, silver or bronze prizes. You “go for the gold” and either win, or you lose. Regardless of the medal standing, looking at competition in a new lens can make any Olympic-sized effort worthwhile.

The Motion Agency The Motion Olympics