We live in a very competitive society. Businesses compete for market share while athletes train tirelessly to push the limit of human performance. Everywhere you look, there are winners, with a lot more losers behind them.
Since young, we are ingrained by the education system to compete with each other. The best will be rewarded with scholarships and endorsements while the rest will have to fight for what’s left. And if you can’t compete academically, well you can work on your competitive spirit in sports instead.
Most of us would agree that healthy competition is a good thing. It helps motivate and push us to achieve greater heights. In business, it helps drives down prices and forces companies to innovate all to the benefit of us as consumers.
At work, competition can help improve performance to a certain extent. Management tend to encourage employees to compete with one another by providing bonuses and rewards for the winners.
This is great as long as you are on the winning side. As someone who is quite competitive, I must admit the joy of winning is intoxicating and I’ll sometimes do whatever it takes relive the moment. After all, why play the game if you are not playing to win.
Ultimately, competition is a zero sum game. In order for someone to win, someone else has to lose. But it doesn’t have to be this way. In this new connection economy, we could collaborate with each other and reap the benefits together.
Competition isn’t the only way to motivate and improve performance. Getting employees to collaborate and work as a team is a lot more beneficial and cheaper in the long run.
Having team mates who would watch your back and help out when needed gives you the peace of mind to perform at your very best. This shared bond will also serve as a support system improving employee retention and morale.
Companies too can form strategic partnership where they can collaborate and work towards a common goal together. They will be able to build products and solutions which are more cost effective by leveraging their shared experience and resources.
This concept of “co-opetition” is not new and have been implemented successfully by large corporations. For example. PSA Peugeot Citroën and Toyota worked together to develop shared components for a new city car which are simultaneously sold as Peugeot 107, the Toyota Aygo, and the Citroën C1.
In the past few years, I’ve had the privilege to work with an awesome team. Working side by side with them daily showed me the real power of collaboration. As a team, we were able to achieve our goals quicker while having fun along the way.
Even though I’m a competitive person, I’ve come to learn the importance of collaboration. Competition may be able to motivate and push us further but collaboration can do all that without leaving anyone behind.
Nobody has to lose in order for someone to win. And if we are going win, might as well do it together. Stop competing mindlessly and start collaborating purposefully.