Why You Should Partner with Your Rivals

Recently the CEO of a very well known consumer brand nearly scared the wits out of me. His company is quite respected in the sustainability community both for its progressive social equity policies and for green technology that limits the environmental impacts of his company’s manufacturing activities. So I asked: Do you foresee a time when you’d willingly provide access to your leading green technology to your competitors? His blunt response: No.

What scared me was not the answer itself; it’s indicative of conventional logic. If you have a competitive advantage, you generally don’t share it with rivals. Rather it was the forcefulness with which the answer came forth. While the answer was simply ‘no’, the manner it was delivered said ‘There is no way my answer will ever change.’

That’s unfortunate for this company’s shareholders. This company is investing in biofuel facilities that turn the waste culled from the materials it consumes into useable (and thus ‘free’) material that it then feeds to its bio-fuel facility via its green manufacturing technology.

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