The Weakest Form Of Competitiveness

Dr Richard Shrapnel PhD
3 min readJun 11, 2024


Photography By Bruno Nascimento On

A profit-first motive drives all the wrong levers in seeking to build a competitive business. It incentivises leadership in the wrong ways and fails to engage the core strength of the business. The core strength of any business is the combined talent and effort of everyone involved in your business.

What are your expectations of the people in your business, from those who are leaders to every one of your employees and contractors?

Do you expect them to give you a fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay? Do you expect them to come to work with a positive attitude and be willing to contribute to the growth of the business? Is their work fulfilling and meeting their emotional, mental, and physical needs as human beings?

I would think most business leaders would expect a lot more effort from their leadership team than, say, their average worker. Why? Well, because they are paid more and money buys contribution. But does it really?

Do you really want people, at any level of your business, working for you simply because the money is good? I find money wears thin pretty quickly. Pay a bonus one year and next year the same or more is just expected.

What keeps someone whose prime interest is money in a specific job? It’s their inability to find another job that pays more money and, therefore, not the type of person to build a competitive business around.

Money is a necessity and an important element of rewarding someone, but it is probably the weakest link in the remuneration mix and least effective in gaining the contributions you need to compete effectively.

Why do I believe this? Because money drives the wrong responses to building competitiveness, especially at leadership levels.

Consider winning sporting teams and great athletes. Yes, many of them have become very wealthy from their sports, but it’s not the attraction of the prize money that actually drove or sustains them to be competitive. There are other elements at play, and it is these elements that businesses need to tap into to become truly competitive.

You may tie someone’s monetary rewards to profit-performance but that does not yield the right response to drive the competitive engine of a business.

To compete effectively today, to be able to continually redefine and lift the customer value you deliver, you must engage and activate that core strength (the combined talent and effort of everyone involved in your business) to its full potential. A profit-first motive, the wrong motive, disperses and neutralises any strength that may exist.

A motive of we’re here to competeopens the door to engage and activate, and the competitive engine provides the framework and mechanics to be able to fire up and direct that strength.

If you want to work with the best at their best, if you want everyone’s individual potential to be taken to its limits and beyond, if you want your business to be great, then make ‘we’re here to compete’ the motive for your business.

The best business strategy for any business is to pursue a motive of competitiveness as this will maximise its performance and, therefore, profit and value.

Here is a short video clip on enabling competitiveness: