Why are we so quick to tear each other down

June 20, 2016

Everybody loves a good Godzilla movie.
We all get a kick out of seeing the B-grade absurdity of our favourite giant lizard crashing through the city streets – stomping on cars and tearing down anything that gets in its way. The trouble is, while Godzilla can be appreciated for the cheesy fun it is, I’m noticing this same destructive attitude is often prevalent in today’s business world.
All too often, we find competitors eager to attack each other rather than respect the others achievements, recognise their hard work and applaud their future dreams. They seem to take delight in tearing the ‘tall poppies’ down rather than acknowledging the contribution they make to the community.
Quite dangerously, we tend to laugh off Tall Poppy Syndrome as merely being a bit of light-hearted banter to put people in their place. We somehow feel it is our duty to ‘pull someone down a peg or two if they’re getting too big for their britches’ – but it seems a once playful put down is increasingly making way for outright hostility and criticism.
Tall Poppy Syndrome seems to be more an Australian/New Zealand thing (although the Brits have a proud history of it as well). But I even came across a similar train of thought existing in an Asian proverb that roughly translates to: “The nail that stands out gets hammered down”.
Ain’t it true?
We see it in every facet of Australia’s sporting, cultural and political endeavours……and in business too.
I find today’s society is so quick to ‘hammer down’ anyone daring to stick their head up, anyone daring to get noticed or, shock horror, even succeed. We see it time and time again in the paper, on radio and the seemingly endless barrage of criticism that comes from the trolls on any online forum.
Why are we so quick to attack others?
Why do we feel a compulsion to sum up another person’s personality, motivation and work ethic when we barely know the tiniest skerrick of information about them? Often critics can hide behind their vitriol by innocently claiming: “it’s just my opinion”.
And, therein lies the danger……because opinion isn’t fact. At best it’s speculation; at worst it’s nothing more than ill-informed gossip…..and that can be very destructive.
I have my critics – we all do.
And while I am open to anyone offering productive feedback or suggestions on how I can better my business I make no apologies about becoming very protective of MY business (because I know just how much time, effort and finances I’ve invested in it).
That’s why the naysayers are nothing but white noise because I already have the harshest of critics out there – me. I couldn’t be more analytical and I couldn’t be more unforgiving of my efforts.
That’s why I’m best to judge what I do.
In the business world, we face many different challenges – client expectations, limited budgets and testing deadlines. All these, and so, so many more factors can influence how a marketing campaign or an event can play out. I know when I’ve hit it out of the park. When I’ve beaten the odds and ‘achieved the unachievable’ – and it feels great.
But most importantly, I also know when I’ve stuffed up. Yes, we all stuff up! We are all human.
As a business (and as a person), that’s how you grow…….by taking what didn’t work and adjusting your philosophies and operating procedures until it does work. One way to grow is to open your doors to new ideas, new influences and new viewpoints.
It might seem illogical in this dog-eat-dog world, but I love seeing my competitors doing well – Lets pump each other up not tear each other down!
Exchanging opinions, discussing new trends and sharing time with experts in their respective creative roles is a great way to strengthen all our businesses and make them even more invaluable to the commercial sector.
Because we’re all going to be called on at some point. If anything I think we could all work closer.

As our region grows, there will be an inevitable growth in new businesses as well – all needing promotion, marketing, websites, brochures, banners and, for the larger organisations, even community events. It will be a big cake, with plenty to go around. That’s why I am so anti-Tall Poppy Syndrome because success breeds success……and by encouraging others we can all learn and share in that success. I’m convinced many people go into business with the Godzilla attitude I mentioned earlier.
Their mindset is to destroy everything around them until they are the only one left standing……there can only be one winner. It doesn’t have to be like that. By encouraging others, working with them and even being a support to lean on when the times are bad creates lifelong friendships. It also creates the most dependable and trustworthy allies for whatever lies ahead. And, collectively, you can do SO many good things when you know somebody is helping you build strong foundations rather than stomping on them.

 If you can’t win, make the guy ahead of you break the record!

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