Future Growth Strategy: Collaborate with Competitors

‘Competitive collaboration’ lets organizations share expertise, cost, and risk.

May 06, 2013
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“Leaders from all industries recognize that future growth will come from crossing boundaries to leverage the complementary assets and competencies of their competitors,” says Lisa Renner, co-founder and managing principal of The Renner Group LLC and author of, “1 + 1 = 3: The New Math of Business Strategy.”

Renner addressed Credit Union Reality Check 2013 in Atlantic City.

The first step toward a successful collaboration is to know what problem you’re trying to solve, Renner says. “Find others who share your problems. Collaboration can solve problems related to growth, increased revenue, access to new products or markets, operating expenses, increased efficiencies, economies of scale, social responsibility, or going green.”

As examples of competitors collaborating, Renner referred to Toyota and BMW teaming up on a lithium-ion battery, and Proctor & Gamble and a Japanese firm, Unicharm, teaming up to bring the Swiffer duster to 50 million homes globally.

“Collaboration creates more value that you can create on your own,” Renner says. “Competitive collaboration is faster, cheaper, and easier because you’re sharing expertise, cost, and risk.”

Renner suggested credit unions align themselves with socially responsible organizations. She says there used to be three types of organizations in the U.S.: for-profit, non-profit, and government agencies.

Now there’s a fourth kind of organization: "for-benefit” organizations, which embrace people, planet, and profit.

“An organization called the Global Alliance for Banking on Values is bringing these companies together,” Renner says. “Credit unions should take a look at this organization and its values.”






Steve Rodgers is Credit Union Magazine's editor-in-chief.

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Great article! Unfortunately, most employees don’t feel valued or appreciated by their supervisors or employers. In fact, research has shown that the predominant reason team members quit their jobs is because they don’t feel valued. This is in spite of the fact that employee recognition programs have proliferated in the workplace – over 90% of all organizations in the U.S. has some form of employee recognition activities in place. But most employee recognition programs are viewed with skepticism and cynicism – because they aren’t viewed as being genuine in their communication of appreciation. Getting the “employee of the month” award, receiving a certificate of recognition, or a “Way to go, team!” email just don’t get the job done. How do you communicate authentic appreciation? We have found people have different ways that they want to be shown appreciation, and if you don’t communicate in the language of appreciation important to them, you essentially “miss the mark”. Additionally, employees need to receive recognition more than once a year at their performance review. Otherwise, they view the praise as “going through the motions”. A third component of authentic appreciation is that the communication has to be about them personally – not the department, not their group, but something they did. Finally, they have to believe that you mean what you say. How you treat them has to match the words you use. If you are not sure how your team members want to be shown appreciation, the Motivating By Appreciation Inventory (www.appreciationatwork.com/assess) will identify the language of appreciation and specific actions preferred by each employee. You then can create a group profile for your team, so everyone knows how to encourage one another. Remember, employees want to know that they are valued for what they contribute to the success of the organization. And communicating authentic appreciation in the ways they desire it can make the difference between keeping your quality team members or having a negative work environment that everyone wants to leave. Paul White, Ph.D., is the co-author of The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace with Dr. Gary Chapman.

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