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Competition gets continuously injected into us from the time we are born. We grow in an environment where it’s unequivocally accepted that competition leads to success. We still hold the principles of survival close to our heart – “survival of the fittest”. Yes, it has been tested and proved by time. But, it’s time to revisit these time tested words etched into our life.

Survival is for the fittest; may not be for the fittest individual, but surely for the fittest team. We are in a world were organizations talk about team work within, and collaboration across its value stream, in an era in which countries partner together for economic and social growth. “I” is no longer the buzz word, its “WE”.

HBR article by Ron Ashkenas calls for a change in the way we think about success. A systemic reengineering, that delinks success and competition and link success to collaboration. He suggests two strategies for those who think competition is holding back its success:

  1. “Trade places with your competition“: Know the perspective and gauge the situation being in that position. As the wise old saying goes, “put yourself in the other’s shoe”. It will help in improving your understanding of the overall situation and act for the overall benefit; think beyond competing with each other.
  2. “Facilitate discussion with competitors”: Appreciate the power of team work. Both the parties may have more to gain by cooperating with each other rather than competing. The best example is the price wars between different organizations, which are going to hit their sustainability thresholds. A collaborative approach would have provided them a better platform to share revenues and improve their bottom-line.

Yes, it’s difficult to unlearn and relearn. But, cooperation and collaboration would be the main factors of success and being among the winners in the new world.

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  1. Michelle Crapo
    Interesting.  I read the other post as well.  I love working in teams and getting different ideas, having debates, and getting a better resut.

    However, I firmly believe that we need some competitive spirit.  Maybe it is joining with our team to meet a deadline.   Maybe it is working on our own self worth to compete against ourselves.  Maybe it is the competition for that next job.

    If we drop competition altogether we could end up with no one who was motivated to take that next step.  But you have to stand out to make that next level – you would like to jump your own internal bar.  It’s fun to learn that next thing.  Understand your next goal.  It may be as simple as being good at what you do and using what you know to help drive solutions.  (My own goal)

    But I am willing to be convinced otherwise!

    Michelle

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