I think we all can fall prey to doing it. People want to prove marketplace superiority and take a few easy shots at the competition. They have a little gossip or a juicy story that undermines a rival, and they are all too happy to share the information. Most do not mean to bad mouth others, but the ego can be so sure it is correct, that there is no explanation for the success of the competitors without finding a way to undercut.
The problem is that this is a slippery slope. We roll our eyes, look for flaws, and rally those around us to the stories of how others secretly suck. Soon we do it all the time.
Generalized stories about other lawyers who clearly are lucky to win business (even if the truth is they are spectacular) become the mantra. A knock on an accountant who barely can add ( but who not only does great work, her clients love her). Ripping the reputation of a consultant (who has meaningful impact on his clients). The person talking always seems to have the "right" point of view.
Interestingly the people I know who are the most successful (professionally, personally and spiritually) seem to rarely trash talk the competition (or anyone). They follow the rule of all grandmothers throughout time who advised "if you do not have something nice to say, say nothing at all".
This topic came up over lunch a few days ago, and since that time I have seen many examples of the negative story used to bolster the person talking. I have even caught myself doing it (it wasn't awful, but it was not right).
I am working on catching this behavior and changing it. I prefer to tell positive stories and point out the great things that other people do. The success of another takes nothing away from me. I believe that Cavet Robert (Founder of the National Speakers Association) was correct when he said their is always enough "pie" for everyone. No need to belittle the slice of somebody else, there is plenty for all who desire a piece.
Is this the norm? What do you think?
Have A Great Day