Competition is good, even around the holidays.

As I walked out of my house this past Friday my neighbor “Steve” was having his Christmas lights put up. Steve has been a neighbor for close to 10 years now and with the exception of this yearly ritual, I truly enjoy his company.

To be clear, it’s not the act of putting up the lights the Friday after every Thanksgiving that gets my competitive blood flowing, it’s that Steve turns them on that same evening. It’s this latter act that sets in motion other parents having to do the same, quickly.

We work in a competitive and at times acrimonious industry. These realities reside not just between competing firms, but also with individuals competing within the same firm. While there are no baselines or indicators that measure the levels of each, it is safe to say that we are running above historical averages. A result of several factors, none more so than the ever changing competitive landscape which is heavily influenced by technology.

Yes, competition is good, but when it tips into a hyper state and is combined with an environment of increasing costs, people start to act differently. We become frustrated and perhaps even withdraw. These are natural temptations given what we have gone through over the past seven years. But, as 2015 comes to end and we begin to set our eyes on 2016, try to avoid these pitfalls and make it a priority to be responsible for our career development. Remain engaged in the process by which decisions within in our markets are made. And remember that competition pushes us to be better. Our markets are in a constant state of evolution and self correcting. It is incumbent that we evolve and self correct as well.

On behalf of the STA Board, thank you for your support in 2015 and we look forward to earning it again next year. Until then, we wish you and your families a happy and safe holiday season.

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