The Race To The Top

It’s rare when you see a company doing difficult and important work.

Most companies are racing to the bottom, a term the Financial Times defines: The situation in which companies and countries try to compete with each other by cutting wages and living standards for workers, and the production of goods is moved to the place where the wages are lowest, and the workers have the fewest rights.

Why would a company “race to the bottom?” To be the obvious choice over the competition.

The problem with the strategy is that you are: suffocating innovation, sacrificing employee safety and forfeiting quality for market share.

What if you “raced to the top?” Author Seth Godin pens:

The race to the top makes more sense to me. The race to the top is focused on design and respect and dignity and guts and innovation and sustainability and yes, generosity when it might be easier to be selfish. It's also risky, filled with difficult technical and emotional hurdles, and requires patience and effort and insight. The race to the top is the long-term path with the desirable outcome.

Godin notes:

Changing things for the better is rarely applauded by Wall Street, but Wall Street might not be the point of your work. It might simply be to do work you’re proud of, to contribute, and to leave things a little better than you found them. Profitable, difficult, or important—each is an option. A choice we get to make every day. ‘None of the above’ is also available, but I’m confident we can seek to do better than that.

Forget the “race to the bottom,” it is a never-ending street fight. Instead, focus on the hard work of changing things for the better.