How Stagnation Leads to Poaching…With Customers and Employees


Greatness chases greatness. Companies and leaders in continuous pursuit of evolution (personal/company brand), worry more about keeping up with demand then poaching.

On the flipside, those who hoard resources and acknowledgment wind up losing their most precious assets to the competition.

Sitting in one of the nicest business clubs in Washington, DC, just before the start of an event, Lena, a fellow businesswoman, peeked over her computer and asked, “Excuse me, are you familiar with LinkedIn?”

“I’m no expert,” I said, “but what do you need?”

“If I accept a connection request, can they see my list of connections?”

“I think they can see who you’re connected to regardless,” I said, “But I’m not certain. Why?”

“The person trying to connect with me is a competitor, and I don’t want her marketing to my list. Should I accept the invitation to connect?”

Lena’s question reminded me of the one I’d heard just the day before, from a CEO of a company with a little more than 100 employees—“How do I praise (or even acknowledge) my team publicly when doing so gives my competitors access to the names of my best employees?”

There seems to be two valid perspectives on ‘competition’—

  1. Beat them.
  2. Use them as fuel to step up your game.

One is focused on winning for you while the other is focused on helping others win. One tends to come from a limited mindset while the other assumes an abundance… of people, resources, and opportunities.

Whether we’re talking about customers or employees, the philosophy shared by the Lena and the CEO is the same—if I share, I’ll have less. This is technically true, if you’re planning to stagnate.

If you plan to stop challenging yourself to develop skills, strengthen your team culture, build relationships and learn, then you should be concerned. Not about them, though.

“Progress always involves risk; you can’t progress to second base and also keep your foot on first.” –Christie Manson

By focusing on becoming more valuable in any profession, you naturally attract more customers and opportunities to share your talents. By focusing on improving your ability to serve and generously serving those who show up, you keep the wheels in motion for growth.

Through their consistent pursuit of excellence in company culture and leadership, Honest Tea, Zappos, Google, Menlo Innovations and others have become magnets to some of the world’s greatest talent. They could have hoarded talent and protected their secret recipes; instead, these leaders opened their doors and said, “Come learn about what we’re doing.”

As a leader, sales professional, entrepreneur, barista or even a mechanic, what mindset have you adopted as your own? How are you ensuring consistent evolution?

Here’s to your greatness,

Misti Burmeister

P.S. Ready to step into your greatness… to uncover your purpose and figure out how to cash in on your talents? Book your Gearing For Greatness session today.

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