Just imagine this – your son comes home and says “Mom today my best friend and I collaborated during exam and both of us will get full marks in maths” How will you react to this? This is Cheating and not Collaboration!!!!
Consider this example – A company launches a contest for sales team basis achievement of stretch individual targets and the winner gets to go to France!!! This is stiff competition.Most of the organisations feel that launching one-dimensional contests and creating competition is the only way to motivate sales people. In fact, there can be multiple collaborative ways to applaud multiple competencies – from of course target-achievements to best customer-service or even ethical sales!!
So if you really observe above, we knowingly or unknowingly are promoting competition which mostly turns unhealthy in the longer run. In fact this statement of collaboration vs. competition itself is driving competition!!!!!
Does that mean all competition is bad? Can competition be healthy? Can we collaborate to compete?
Well, Healthy Competition driven with Collaboration with a laser focus towards achieving business results is the key!!
We have been taught that Competition drives excellence! There are adequate examples of extraordinary innovations including super products, out of the box business strategies created due to intense competition… However, if unchecked, competition can also drive a close, selfish mindset as we become obsessed with our own personal success.
The days of ‘survival of the fittest’ are getting over.More and more business leaders are coming to terms with this statement.
Even large firms are realising that competition is nothing without collaboration. Collaboration allows organisations to create synergies, drive innovation, generate game-changing business ideas and ground breaking concepts.For example, Microsoft and Adobe abandoned highly competitive strategies like stack-ranking years ago, and are implementing strategies to create more collaborative workplaces.
In our view, Competition and Collaboration are complementary to each other. Collaboration, with a healthy dose of competition, can be the compass in navigating the way through a Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous (VUCA) world.
Here, we recommend the 5C Model to promote healthy competition driven by Collaboration for leaders who are promoting Collaboration in their team or are looking to collaborate with their competition/peers/like-minded people:
- Courage: One can collaborate if one feels secured; one has to believe in strength from combined efforts. Collaboration can’t be created out of fear, suspicion and mistrust. Hence to begin, assess whether you have the courage/strength/belief in collaboration. And how can you infuse courage in your team? It can really take a lot as you get deeper into the process of Collaboration, of course, the fruits are bounty and the pie bigger!!
- Conversation: We all have heard “a lot can happen over coffee!”. Begin open and transparent conversations. We all go through similar challenges, similar learning, we can find out common areas to work with, we can create joint opportunities to create a win-win!!
- Co-Create: Create a wide range of products/services by joining hands with others and similarly, encourage others too. See how you can create a bigger array of products/services.
- Compatibility: Conflicting views can have a detrimental impact on any business. Before joining hands, clearly talk about the culture and values that you have, understand the other side and evaluate the collaborative partnership. Once the thoughts are shared and the conversations are yielding results, make all the efforts to bring compatibility alive.
- Code of ethics: Both the sides need to discuss and agree on mutual objectives, be transparent on SLAs,KRAs, data base, prospects, financials etc.
The 5C Model is to bring clarity on how to develop a climate and culture of Healthy Competition by promoting Collaboration. More coming up soon for understanding the role that language and intentions play in promoting Collaboration.
Meanwhile, let us know if you would like us to conduct a bite-sized Gamified workshop in your organisation on Collaboration!!