INSTANT MBA: Too Much Competition Can Ruin The Company


Jeff Bezos


Today's advice comes from Jeff Bezos, CEO of, via Harvard Business Review:


"We don't get up every morning thinking about what's the list of the top three companies that are going to try to kill us? I do know of companies, and their annual planning process starts with the list of their three top enemies, and they work from there. They get motivation from the competitive zeal. Our approach is not to start with that list. We do look at other companies, and so we pay attention, but it's not where we get our energy form."

Bezos says competition is healthy, but when it takes over your entire company's culture, you might end up facing a lot of negative repercussions. If your company tends to focus solely on how you can trump your competitor and conquer the market, you will end up fostering a hostile work environment. Instead, you should be encouraging your employees to have fun and explore the possibilities that the market has to offer with an upbeat attitude. Focusing on bringing competitors down will only get you so far, but focusing on how you can make the company thrive will always get your farther.

"If you [come to work for Amazon], and you find that you get your motivation from having a more competitive-focused culture, you might find our culture dull...Some companies, if you wanted to put it into a single word, they have a conqueror mentality, and we have an explorer mentality. And the people who like our mentality of exploration and pioneering, they tend to stay here, and have fun here, and that's self-reinforcing."

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Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through his personal investment company Bezos Expeditions.