How Great Leaders Displace Competition


Ah Competiton.

Always an interesting topic of conversation.

And we all have our own ideas on how best to deal with it.

Ignore or Attack? Respect them or trash-talk? Win-at-all costs or play the patience game….even if that means losing out in the short-term?

With technological advancements growing day-by-day and the global economy becoming more and more connected, competition is fiercer than ever before. Not only is high competition inevitable, to stand any chance of surviving it’s essential to know how best to keep existing clients happy as well as win new ones.

Unfortunately, like all complex decisions there is no one-size-fits all answer.

But in working with over 1,000 successful leaders over the last ten years I have noticed that there are certain things that top performers consistently do that is different.

They apply principles that makes competition much more easier to displace.

Here are some ways how great leaders displace competition.

They respect them

Almost every great leader I have ever worked with has always respected their competition.

At the very least, they’ll never have anything negative to say about them. In many cases, their even willing to mention the strengths of their competition if asked. It’s something that is pretty counter-intuitive and something most of us are unlikely to do.


Well for a start, by respecting your competition you build instant credibility with your client. It shows that you understand why they are considering other options. Also, it displays humility, awareness and professionalism – all traits essential to building a successful relationship.

Great leaders understand that competition is healthy. They play by the rules and appreciate the other players on the field.

Great leaders respect others.


They emphasize their differences

The reason why most competition based conversations tend to turn into trash-talking “us vs them” type exchanges, is that it’s human nature to try and influence others when the stakes are high.

We all want to win. So the temptation to highlight others weaknesses is often too hard to refuse.

However there is a better way.

Emphasizing what makes you different.

Great leaders understand that no-one can stand for everything. Just like great brands focus on highlighting their key advantages or messages, great leaders do the same. By consistently highlighting why you are different, its hard for others to keep up.

The fastest delivery time in the market? The only company who offers a free 30 day trial? A unique experience working in a niche sector that no-one else can match?

By focussing on exactly what makes you different, those who are interested in your unique value will be much more inclined to choose you.

Rather than playing copy-cat, it’s much easier and more productive to focus on what makes you special.

Great leaders emphasize their differences.

They build a reputation

With information readily available in a mouse-click or a swipe, due diligence has never been greater. In the past, competition was over-powered by heavy weight marketing, exclusive relationships and long term hard-to-get-out-of contracts.

But nowadays there’s something that’s way more important.

Your reputation.

In an amazingly eye-opening study published by The CEB a couple years ago, an analysis of 1,400 B2B customers showed that 57% of typical purchase decisions were made before a customer even talks to a supplier.

Put another way, most people now select from the competition purely on reputation and feedback from others.

Great leaders understand that rather than trying to fight the competition, it’s more important to focus on the right things and slowly build a strong reputation. Like all things worth having in life, although this takes time, discipline and effort, once earned it’s the ultimate competitive advantage.

Great leaders build great reputations.


Competition is healthy.

Provided you know how best to use it to your advantage.

Successful leaders not only know how best to respond to increasing competition, but how to displace it in the best possible way.

How do you displace competition?

For further resources on how to best land your next leadership opportunity, reach out here