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Don’t Be a Richard. Respect Your Competition.

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Andrew PryfogleBy Andrew Pryfogle

We all saw the now infamous post-game interview this past Sunday. A talented Richard Sherman, who had just made an outstanding football play to win the NFC championship, ripped the very competitor he was battling with seconds before. Twitter exploded with disgust and anger and general “WTF was he thinking?" He had an opportunity to praise a worthy opponent, to celebrate a remarkable game, to thank his teammates who all played a critical part in this greatest of all team sports. Instead he trashed the other guy and immediately lost the respect of millions.

We all work in a highly competitive environment. In fact, competition is foundational to this great country we all call home. We ask every day, how do we beat the other guy? How do we get smarter, faster, better, bigger than the guy we’re battling every day?

At Intelisys, we know exactly who our competition is, and yes, we talk every day about how we can beat them and how we can win. But it’s also accurate to say that we hold our competition in high regard. In our industry, along with fierce competition, there is mutual respect and admiration. We all appreciate how hard it is to do what we do. None of us has gotten where we’re at by dumb luck, or having something handed to us. We all battle every day in a free market that is big enough for all of us to be wildly successful.

I always look forward to our industry events where we get to catch up, swap war stories over some brown liquor, and learn from each other about how we can build a healthier and more effective channel.

It's always fun to see our competition show up at our trainings, and drinking our booze and dancing at our parties. We welcome them with open arms. Could we lock them out, blast them in the media, tear them down in order to build us up? Sure, we could. But we choose the opposite path, knowing that while we’ll enter the arena to battle each other time and time again, we’ll always do it as respected peers.

Where we could easily be Richards, we choose to be leaders. And that’s a refreshing take on competition.

Andrew Pryfogle is senior vice president and general manager, Cloud Services & Complex Bids, for Intelisys. He joined Intelisys through the acquisition of Cloud Services Coalition, a master agency and integrator that he founded with the purpose of helping the channel address the growing demand for cloud services. A 24-year veteran of the telecommunications and IT industries, he has held senior sales leadership positions with carriers such as AT&T, MCI and WorldCom. He is a founding member of Cloud & Technology Transformation Alliance (CTTA) and served on the Channel Partners Advisory Board.

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