Leaders talking about competition: Flipkart vs. Walmart

I know I have said something on this topic earlier, on LinkedIn, but another piece of update prompted me to revisit this.

Here is Walmart President and CEO Doug McMillon, in the Tim Ferriss Show podcast.

Beyond what I said earlier about Kalyan’s dig on Amazon, I find this contrast in leadership communication fascinating. I don’t know whether both styles have value, but I seem to be completely oriented towards Doug’s style.

I understand big business is brutal, but does a leader need to also crow over rivals while winning? Can the winning, in itself, not be enough?

I get that in sport, there is a technique where you also play a mental game; destabilize your opponent(s) psychologically. But, is that essential to win, in sport or business? Can the winning not be purely on actual talent and not including playing the psychological game too?

Is it too much to expect empathy even in fierce competition? The ‘hunt or be hunted’ brutality kills opponents anyway. But does a leader also need to offer pithy statements ridiculing a competitor? Since I do not believe in it, I don’t relate to that stance.

The opposite sounds like a genuinely good stance to me. You compete fiercely, and win legitimately. But while communicating about the competition and the victory, you showcase humility.

You convey that you are human too. You compete fiercely and win legitimately. But while communicating about the victory, showcase humility. Convey that you learn from those you won over too. For that learning, you demonstrate—and communicate—gratitude.

For that learning, you demonstrate—and communicate—gratitude. There’s a note on humility in the same podcast too, incidentally.

The podcast is a great listen – here: The Tim Ferriss Show Transcripts: Doug McMillon

If you prefer reading it, like me, there is the text transcript of the podcast on the same page.

PS: There is a reason why I’m not a fan of podcasts, but a HUGE fan and consumer of audiobooks. In podcasts, I don’t know what I’m going to get, only that someone familiar (online) is going to say something. And since I cannot skim, that makes me queasy about the amount of quality time I need to spend on it. In text transcripts of podcasts, I can skim and ascertain if I want to read it fully, or look at excerpts first and read it later, and so on.

When it comes to audiobooks, I have a whole of reviews to consider before jumping into a book, so I’m—seemingly—making a more informed choice about what I’m going to consume.