You ever watch kids busting on each other; calling each other names, making fun of their families?
They start out pretty innocuous and then get pretty nasty. Each volley, leverages more and more creativity to top the last brutal insult. As they get more intricate, and complex, someone inevitably can’t top the last one . . . and he is the cat who throws the first blow.
Smack, he knocks his opponent right in the mug.
The problem is, by smacking his opponent, victory has been conceded and it can never be regained.
The business world is like this. We go back and forth, adding new features, constantly improving our products trying to one up our competition until one of us can’t keep up, runs out of creativity and lobs off and pops the competition in the mouth (this is usually in the form of badmouthing, running cheezy commercials, attacking the better product etc.). It happens with our peers as well. We’re competing for a promotion, or trying to grow our internal brand, our competition out flanks us with creativity and what do we do, we pop-em in the mouth, (spread rumors, back stab, go over their head)
The problem is, once we’ve done this we’ve lost, game over.
There is no time limit on creativity. You don’t have to win today. You just have to win.
The next time you’re losing the creativity battle, don’t concede defeat by popping your competition in the mouth. Step back, look to change the rules, attack the problem differently and buy time.
Concede the battle, but quietly be planning to win the war.