A Message To America’s Leaders: Respect The Competition

A Message To America’s Leaders: Respect The Competition

Sep 14, 2012

“Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.”
Eleanor Roosevelt

For as long as I have been a leader of others I have focused on teaching respect. In business this translates in many ways. When it comes to the competition, it means to show respect.

While not all competition is created equal, great competition should bring out the best in others and make them seek to further their cause in order to inspire all of those who follow.

A common behavior I see in business is for them to believe that speaking negatively about the competition is a way to improve their position.

While this may work in limited capacity within circles of like minded individuals who thrive on this behavior. The attempt to win hearts and minds through the disparaging of others is merely child’s play.

It is something that a respectable human being would never bring to the kitchen table, or the boardroom table. When approached by this type of behavior it immediately lowers my opinion of the entire organization who attempts to promote their value by lowering the bar of those they compete with.

When I speak to other successful business leaders they tend to share this belief as well.

Over the past few weeks I took time to watch both our nations political parties convene to discuss their ideas and plans while attempting to energize their supporters.

I heard some inspiring ideas which of course excited me. However while I did hear some ideas worth getting behind I heard far more below the belt rhetoric and negativity directed toward the competition.

It only leaves me to wonder why we allow our politicians to get away with this behavior. These are America’s leaders who should be setting the example for us and for our future generation.

When I watch both of our political parties attempt to build consensus on the back of belittling the ideas and beliefs of their counterparts it doesn’t make me feel aligned to what they are doing. It simply disheartens me and makes me wonder about the character of those whom we elect.

I love our freedom to choose but as people we need to demand more of our parties. Whatever side of the aisle.

We need to demand that they start bringing their ideas, plans, and strategies to the table to make our country more prosperous.

Then we must expect that they keep the childish, non-productive rhetoric that trivializes the beliefs of others to themselves.

It should be through the positive promotion of their thought leadership that drives behavior. Not through the manipulation of minds through negative sorting.

I believe most Americans are ready to be inspired. But not in the way our political parties do it today.

A message to America’s Leaders: Let’s stop the bullying and the banter and start working to truly move forward.

Al Smith
Al Smith

Thanks Daniel.  One of the best I have read in awhile.  This is one that should be read by everyone.  All politicians and leaders, especially.  Fantastic, my friend.


Also, thanks for the RT of my guest post at Ted and Shawns place.  Much appreciated.


Take CARE brother.




They do. All the time. You're just choosing to focus on the parts you don't like. 


Few things nauseate me more than calls from the high and mighty crowd for a more "civil" politics. Frankly, a mix of both positive and negative campaigning works. I would love to hear someone get righteous with the business world and tell them to stop using marketing techniques that work because they might offend someone's sensibilities. Of course, no one would do that, because it is absurd. 


Newman thank you so much for writing this! I have tried to work with clients whose main marketing and publicity strategy has been to criticize the competition and it doesn't work. People may stop and listen for a minute, but if all you do is criticize others, people will leave. 1) Because no one wants to be around that much negativity and 2) They start to worry about what you're saying about them when they're not in the room. We're more attract to positive people who are sharing information, providing solutions, and leading others toward greatness. It's a better marketing strtaegy too. Thanks again Newman! Glad to see you're still a man focused on discussing ideas ;-)

danielnewmanUV moderator

 @KevinWatterson PS - If you have a great product/service you never have to sell your soul to win business, nor do you have to negative campaign.

The truth...that is another story.  If your competitors are lying about their products or their capabilities then of course you need to set the record straight.  

I would choose to do it with class which doesn't entail insults, sly remarks, or blows beneath the belt. 

Thanks again!

danielnewmanUV moderator

 @KevinWatterson Kevin, i'm glad you bring this perspective.  I don't agree, but that is the beauty of our free country.  

The negativity used is generally full of half truths and spin.  I would even be willing to consider more negative campaigning if only those doing it were honest.

As I mentioned, you have a freedom to think what you want and that is what makes us great.

I think both parties have lost their way and they are focused on manipulating those who cannot arrive at the truth.  Which unfortunately is most of us because most politicians are rarely clear about their real intentions.

Thanks for contribution.  

Btw...who are these "High and Mighty" that you speak of?  


danielnewmanUV moderator

 @ShennandoahDiaz I do tend to go with ideas - I would love to just hear the truth every once in a while from these folks.  

While we have come to expect what we get, it doesn't mean we have to accept it. 

Stay True!



  1. […] America’s Leaders: Respect The Competition – Millennial CEO – millennialceo.com – Daniel Newman “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.” Eleanor Roosevelt For as long as I have been a leader of others I have focused on teaching respect. In business this translates in many ways. When it comes to the competition, it means to show respect. […]

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