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This is a blog about Truth, Justice and the American Way. The stories are true. No names have been changed to protect anyone's identity, including my own. If the story is about me, then I'll say so right up front. If I don't use a name to identify whom the story is about, then it's because it's not relevant. So please do not call me or e-mail me with your kind condolences or unwarranted congratulations about something that you believe is a cleverly disguised bio from my alter ego. These stories, like my photo, are unretouched.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Share the Knowledge – There’s Enough to Go Around.

There was a period in my life where conventions and groups flew me all over the country to speak on the topic of how to bid production contracts correctly. Inevitably, after every seminar, someone would come up to me and ask, “Why is someone as smart as you sharing this information with your competition? Your knowledge is your bread and butter. Why give it away?”

Well first of all, when you’re as naturally blonde as I am, it’s always shocking when anyone accuses you of being smart. Usually people want to come up and tell me the joke about how you can tell when a blonde has been using your computer (answer: Whiteout® on the screen). But secondly, and more importantly, my answer always was and still is, “What’s good for the industry ultimately benefits all of us. Competition ups the ante and brings out the best in everyone. It keeps us sharp.”

Besides which, I don’t want some bozo to win the bid because he/she didn’t understand the process and then, after having gotten the job, went into panic mode with the client. Clients have a bad habit of lumping the idiots in with the blondes, oops… I mean professionals, and it makes us all look bad. Just because I taught someone how to do it properly, that doesn’t mean he can beat me at my own game. I’m not THAT blonde!

My point here is: don’t be stingy with your knowledge. There’s plenty to go around. Competition is a good thing.

My father owned a couple of small dress shops in Ohio. Whenever a new dress shop opened in the neighborhood, my father always sent a big spray of flowers for their opening. He actually helped a young couple get started with credit from vendors. He had another competitor with whom he regularly ate lunch and traded advice. When I questioned it, he assured me that anything that helped draw customers to that end of town was a good thing. Anything that kept potential customers from driving into Columbus or Cleveland or Cincinnati to buy their clothes helped keep home court advantage. And in the end, he was confident of his position in the marketplace. The attraction of a fresh store may bring the customer into town, but in the end she will wander down the street to see what is new at “Soldan’s” and he’d have more merchandise and better selections than the new guys so he’d inevitably end up with the sale.

My father was smart that way. He was lousy at raising a strange, quirky daughter but he was a terrific businessman.

I believe in healthy competition. I believe in sharing the wealth. I believe in love….no, wait, that’s a Beatles song. I am competitive. I want to succeed but I want to succeed because I’m smarter and deserve to succeed – not because there was no one to compete against. No one wants to win by default. Sure, it’s better than not winning at all, but the victory’s not as sweet and in the end, it makes you soft and lazy.

So go out there and help a competitor. Don’t help him/her a lot, mind you; just enough to make you feel superior and maybe just a little bit blonder. :)


  1. Kay please contact me. My name is Tonya Greene and I have a great non profit opportunity in Hawaii I would love to speak with you about. My contact number is 404-963-1703.

  2. Hi Kay,

    I completely agree with you. I'll be a little diplomatic in my references to others but when i joined a company i found people very scared to share their knowledge. So much so, that they would not attend the knowledge sharing sessions that i was providing since they were probably afraid that they might have to provide one too.

    I love your thoughts and they pretty much fall in line with the professional values that i believe in. If you feel strong about yourself never be afraid of the competition.

  3. Kay,

    I have always been the type that would help out anyone I can. When I started my administrative business for a brief moment I worried about giving too much information away, but I found out quickly that if I help others and share my knowledge people will come to me for help and in turn that will bring in the business. I am definitely sharing this article with others.

    Thank you,

    Erika Glem