I have somewhat of a unique situation. Our business has had somewhat of a monopoly on the niche market we cater to. Until now, we've been a growth enterprise that's enjoyed pretty solid market saturation.
But now there is a direct competitor that has started up. It seems inevitable that unless the other team is completely inept-- which it doesn't seem like it is -- our market share and growth trajectory will take somewhat of a hit as a result.
There are certain operational adjustments we will have to make, and are making, but the problem for me in my role of manager in this quasi creative, quasi analytical industry is how much or how little i should emphasize the competitor's work and presence to my team.
Certainly everyone is aware of them, and sometimes their presence can directly ruin certain of our projects on a day to day basis. It's disturbing and makes me upset, i can borderline freak out internally over some things, but yet i've kept calm on the outside and tried to come off that im not concerned about the competition. My instinct is to try and keep people cool and confident. I don't want them to obsess with the outside to the point they become preoccupied with doing the best job they can do.
But then i wonder if that falls short of communicating the urgency that's needed to make my people come to grips with the new reality of our competitive environment.
i have talked about the competitor with people during one on ones and such. Just to ensure they are aware of the newly heightened importance of our work, and to simply put it in the air that i'm not in denial and we should take be aware of them.
Still, on the times when i do talk about the competitor with team members, i do it calmly and somewhat dismissively. Would it serve a purpose to share my deeper concerns and borderline paranoia and anger? I know some of my own managers have done that to me lately, and i must say i really hate it, but it does get my attention.
I'm sure there's no hard and fast rule on how to hit this balance. But since im sure that for most all of you dealing with competiton is normal, i'd love to hear your approaches.
Finally, I'd note that even though we've been enjoying a monopoly-like climate until now, that's not to imply our work environment hasn't always been pressure packed. One of the reasons' we've been the only game in town is because what we do is hard to pull off, and not easily replicated.