InfoComm 2014 is now my favorite InfoComm of all time. Although InfoComm 2010 is a close second, since it is the year that I won Educator of the Year and that I saved a stranger from choking to death at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse by using the Heimlich Maneuver. So, how did 2014 beat 2010? 2014 is the year that Grasshopper snatched the pebble from the Master’s hand. At InfoComm 2014, I watched my daughter present her first (of hopefully, many) seminars at InfoComm. She helped with a panel of experts on AV/IT Security. Now, I may have a slightly skewed opinion, but I think she stole the session. Below is the lesson I learned from her and one I think we can all take something away from:
It was during the Q and A portion of the presentation and one of the attendees asked a very pointed and compelling question. The question had to do with why they should go through all of the trouble and added expense in offering IT security in their bid response when it isn't specifically asked for in the RFP and none of the other respondents are offering it. The question led toward the conclusion that responding simply adds expense and complexity that burdens the cost and doesn't offer return on investment (in terms of increased profit). Each of the panel members gave great technical responses having to do with the need for IT security and the responsibility technology providers have in this area. But, my daughter Amanda’s answer was in the form of an analogy that at first didn't seem to fit. Amanda started off talking about as a U.S. Marine, when two Marines are competing for the same spot in a unit (or a promotion) they are put in the middle of a circle of Marines. These two Marines are left to grapple it out (wrestle). The winner gets the job (promotion). Amanda then brought the analogy home. She asked “why not think of IT Security as your choke hold”. IT Security is your move to “choke your competition out” so that you win the job. Wow, it took breaking it down to a simple wrestling match, to remind me that when all is said and done we are competing for work. It is not a simple equation of determining whether or not we are making enough margin or not, but whether we can “choke out” the competition. After all, it will come down to you losing or you winning; you can choke them out or get choked out.
This brings to light a bigger issue that we need to be reminded of - How would you define your competition? If you use words like: healthy, friendly, play well together, not really in the same business, etc. than you are sadly mistaken. If you believe your competition is healthy or friendly you are confused. We as competitors may be cordial and professional, but it is competitive. We need to always think in terms of winning and losing. Sure, play fair, do what is right, but win. Play to win. Choke out your competition and the only way you can choke out your competition is to have a winning (choke out) move. This week we taught some people how to make IT Security their (choke out) move. It doesn't matter what your move is. Just have a move and do it better than anyone else.
You must play to WIN!