Some companies do not need to worry about the competition, as they will defeat themselves long before the competition gets a chance.
Internal politics, lack of direction, silos, high anxiety, poor execution due to incompetence: all of these factors and more can destroy a company from the inside before it even makes a mark on the market.
In this article, I will ignore the technical failings, and instead focus on the cultural failings which I think is more interesting for a leader. Remember that cultural trumps process: even if you have a great delivery process on paper, it will fall apart if the people executing it are from a rotten culture.
So why do people apparently sabotage their own companies? I don’t think they do so deliberately, unless they are really bitter, but instead do so due to a disconnect between the negative perception they have in their minds, and the reality of the company that the market sees externally.
Let me explain.
Often companies, especially small ones starting out, suffer from an inferiority complex. They spend a lot of time measuring themselves against the market incumbents, and convincing themselves that they come up short:
...and so on, the self-defeating mantra can spread throughout any team if not put in check.
Honestly it can be exhausting to be in such a team! This is often referred to as "small company syndrome", and leaders in such organizations often over-compensate for their own fears by taking direct control of many operational topics, effectively becoming micro-managers.
The problem with micro-management is of course that it does not scale at all, due to the lack of delegation, so the company gets stuck as a start-up and never evolves into a scale-up, and ultimately a large enterprise.
In such a situation, somehow that team which is driven by fear and anxiety have lost sight of the fact that their larger competition were also a small company one day, but they successfully transitioned from a start-up to a scale-up and beyond.
Do you think their success was also driven by fear? Hell no, it was driven by a desire for success, and a confident team that could execute on a vision with military precision.
When you a driven by a fear of failing, and you beat yourself up internally because of that, your company will fail. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
When you a driven by a desire to succeed, and you see each failure as simply a temporary set-back to learn from, and not something to fear, you will maintain the high morale in your team that is a prerequisite for success.
Remember your default mode is confidence.