Harness the competitive spirit for good, not evil

Competition is an evocative word.  Some people love it.  Others hate it.

For some competition is seen as an unnecessary evil, and an impediment to good teamwork. For others it’s the competition that drives them forward and inspires them to work harder.

The case for and against is not black and white.  Competition can be healthy and unhealthy.

Chess - fallenCompetition is healthy when it keeps you focused and helps drive progress. It’s when it becomes all-consuming and propels negative thoughts and behaviour that you’ve entered dangerous territory.

It’s about balancing the scales.   And if you want to be able to influence in an organisation you need to know how to harness it effectively.

At one end – the more positive end – it’s about “winning well”.  Winning is seen as a joint reward, rather than the “winning at all costs” mentality.

In approaching competition from a “winning well” mindset you can set up an environment which is collaborative and values driven.   The outcome is about what is good (or the best possible) for all involved.  It’s not just about one individual.

In this way the decision process takes a broader perspective, and is more transparent and ethics based. At the core of this approach is s a love of learning and a recognition that ‘failure’ or ‘things going wrong’ is a great opportunity to learn.

Shying away from competition won’t help you succeed in life, nor grow your ability to influence.  So rather than ignoring it, find the way to make it work for you.

The creative genius, Walt Disney said: “I’ve been up against tough competition all my life.  I wouldn’t know how to get along without it”

The question for you:  how can you best use competitive forces to drive you forward?

Remember, change happens. Make it work for you!


Michelle Gibbings is known for making the complex, simple.  She helps people to think more deliberately, act with greater purpose and accelerate progress by understanding the art and science of human behaviour.  

e: michelle@changemeridian.com.au



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