You Only Ever Compete Against Yourself

Dr Richard Shrapnel PhD
2 min readJun 5, 2024


Commonwealth Games 2018

Do you believe that in today’s markets we compete around the value delivered to customers, as seen through their eyes? If so, then a relentless focus on the customer is a must for your business to remain competitively-fit.

It starts with understanding customer value, including:

· What is the customer need that your business is seeking to fulfill?

· What gives rise to that need and how is it best met/satisfied?

· What is evolving/changing in the world that may impact that need?

· What is evolving/changing in the world that may allow you to deliver greater value?

· Where do opportunities exist for you to improve the value you deliver to your customers in meeting their needs?

· Where do opportunities exist for you to expand the scope of needs you presently meet?

This understanding of customer need is not superficial rather, it is best described as intimate. So close that you know it well, but at the same time you can step away from it to understand change, impact, evolution, and opportunity.

By this, I don’t mean an opportunity to profit, but one to deliver greater value to more customers through being more competitively-fit. And from which more profit will be earned.

This distinction where the customer, and competing to deliver greater value, comes first and from which profit is earned may seem semantics to some — the chicken and egg analogy — but it is actually a vital and distinct approach.

And once you understand customer need, then starts the task of building the enduring and evolving capability to deliver on a winning value that will outcompete all others in your chosen marketplace.

You are not competing against others but rather yourself as it is only you who can develop and deliver or drop the ball. You are your own greatest competitor. Your focus on being competitively-fit will determine your success.

Here is a brief video clip that speaks to one example: