Competition vs Collaboration

August 15, 2014 — Leave a comment


Ahhhh the age old question.  Is it better to compete or collaborate?  Over time I have found that each serve there own purpose in their given circumstances but the reality is 9 times out of 10 collaboration is the answer.

Most of us work within established organizations where are day to day interactions are with colleagues who are part of the same team.  i.e. you’re a part of the same organization.  Therefore finding ways to solve problems together is paramount to the success of the overall organization.  This requires a collaboration to figure out what is best for the organization’s goals and objectives and then moving forward on them.  In other words, figure out where you ought be heading and then get on the bus and drive in one direction.

Too often organizations mask collaboration with unhealthy competition.  Opposing parties get in their corners, close their minds, and clamp down on their ideas.  Unfortunately this leads to super unproductive “collaboration” meetings because no one is willing to listen to the merits of ideas not their own.  Sound familiar?  Yep, you guessed it.  This is exactly how Congress operates.

One thing Americans across the political spectrum are in violent agreement on is the dysfunction and ineffectiveness of Congress.  At the time of this posting, Congress’s approval rating is 15%.  So if we all agree operating like Congress is dysfunctional, then why do we have so many Congressman and Senators running around inside the organizations we work within?

Good question!  I don’t know the answer, but what I do know is when we recognize that we have stopped listening to other’s ideas and hold onto our ideas like spider monkeys, we are putting ourselves above the organization’s goals and objectives.  We need to stop, come out of our corner, in fact, leave the ring all together.  Recognize that we’re on the same team and stop putting so much pride in our ideas.  After all they are more than likely someone else’s regurgitated ideas anyway.  Then take stock of where the organization should be headed and keep dialoging and listening to your colleagues.  Keep sharing new information you’re learning with your colleagues and keep listening as they share new information.  You’ll know you’re there when there isn’t any new ideas or learning to do in order move in a direction.  At this point in the dialog most folks have an appreciation for the ideas that have been presented and a clear direction is evident.  If it’s not, then more than likely pride holding one or more folks.  Gently address the underlying pride and find ways to get towards and informed decision that optimizes the whole organization, not one part.

Make a decision and then measure the results of that decision over time and be willing to change course if it was a bad move.


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