Interrupting the Competition

256px-Jacques-Louis_David_007Our “inspirational” business quote yesterday was from Napoleon Bonaparte. Obviously he was neither successful long-term, nor inspirational; the quote was thought-provoking, though.

Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.

It actually makes me laugh. Maybe I have a strange sense of humor (ok – I do!), but the thought of watching someone make a mistake, and not helping, seems so awkward. It actually seems rather implausible, but then I remembered a story. 

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away … oops! Wrong story ….

The one I was thinking of involved a big construction cleaning job. We had the account already. We cleaned 5 locations and corporate just built a 6th. Somehow the construction company hired some … how do I say this politely …. uneducated window cleaners to do the construction cleaning, including cement removal (I can’t say inexperienced because they had been cleaning windows for years).

We were disappointed, but already had the P.O. authorized to do the regular cleanings. The General Manager of this new site, however, was freaking out. He knew us and wanted us to do the job. We stopped by, per his request, and happened to run into the “so-called” window cleaners. They decided to “share” their stories of … window cleaning prowess with us. And, proceeded to brag in front of the General Manager that they had used the same razor blade for the last two weeks! But wait, it gets better! THEN, they fished one out of their bucket to prove it …. it was visibly nicked and rusted as all get out!!!

Needless to say, we *could* have stopped out enemy/competitor, but why? They were making fools of themselves and scratching the heck out of the glass! The GM was horrified and we ended up taking over with just 36 hours to finish the job before the grand opening party! We charged twice our normal rate and it took exactly 35 hours and 45 minutes!

I guess Napoleon was right!


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