“D’ya wanna be in my gang, my gang, my gang? D’ya wanna be in my gang? Oh Yeah!” Gary Glitter used to sing that song when I was a child, and I used to love it. Not so much anymore and not for his mis-deeds, but for the exclusionary nature of it. I’ve attended quite a few network groups over the last year, some free, some as a visitor where after two visits you either join or don’t come back. I like the fact that they give you a taster of what to expect at them. Apart from one group, Network Ireland (surprisingly a women’s group), all of the other paid network groups have a no-competition rule, unless the company you are competing against allows you to join. Yes, your direct competition or even sometimes not so direct competition has the power of veto over you getting access to the group. I don’t know about you, I find that not only childish – you are not getting to play with my toys – but exclusionary and I can’t abide exclusion when it is totally unnecessary. I’ve voiced my opinion to many people in the last year and of course members of such groups defend their stance vehemently. Some non-members did too, a lot of coaches and NLP practitioners drilled down to my core issue with it. That is: Where in your business are you not playing full-out such that competition is a threat rather than an incentive to up your game? I’ve declared before that I was a party plan manager for a UK business trading in Ireland (funnily enough, exclusionary – women only, lol). Some other managers would not share party hosting tips, sales tips, recruiting tips etc in the mis-guided belief that a newcomer to their area would decrease their business. I ignored all that, my attitude then and now is, there is more than enough business to go around. I found that when there were more party planners in a given area, the number of parties requested often out-numbered both my ability and my team’s ability to fulfill them and I often had to pass parties to another manager. If you are not playing to the very best of your ability and giving your very best service, then frankly, the fact that a customer might not choose you is your own fault. If you are and they still don’t choose you it, in all probability, is because not everybody will like your style, in fact some will prefer mine. It is the very same in most businesses. Competition increases awareness, which also by default increases choice. Not all customers are meant to be yours. My coaching style is definitely not for everybody! I do get results, and I would prefer to refer on a client that wants to use a different method to get their results to another coach. Because of that I keep a database of coaches both NLP and non-NLP. If I get a continuous negative feedback on a coaching style I use, I know I have to up my game to overcome that. If I had a no-competition rule, I wouldn’t even consider forwarding that client on. Nor would I have to consider quite so often upping my game to be the best at what I love doing, both on a personal level and to help my clients get the results they want. Both of us would lose out in the long run.