May/June 2020

Managing

Be Thankful For Your Competitors

Thomas C. Grella

Lately, growing weary of the same cable news talking heads day after day at the gym, I have opted for binge watching on Amazon Prime and Netflix. One recent viewing was a show called “The Good Place.” It’s about a small group of people in the afterlife, which consists of The Good Place and The Bad Place.

A few weeks ago, a single internal email sent to all members of my firm making a joke about one of our statewide competitors opened a floodgate of emails, each escalating the idea that the culture of this other firm is undesirable. The attorneys at our firm enjoy a culture we have worked long and hard to create. The change in our culture has led to greater cohesiveness among our team, and that has resulted in increased organizational success. This success has created in our members the sense that we are The Good Place and some of our competitors are The Bad Place. Our firm is certainly not The Bad Place disguised as The Good Place; however, our competitors are not The Bad Place either. In fact, they are just a different place, and in my view, they should be appreciated for the good they unwittingly contribute to our firm. The last time I thought about poking fun at the expense of one of our competitors, I instead gave thanks for some of the true benefits of competition that we have experienced.

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