Competition vs collaboration – Which model suits your business better?

One of the newer business models within the past few decades has been that of collaboration. Previously, businesses sought to drive their staff forward to excellence by playing on their competitive nature, as humans are prone to have. However, there are some inherent problems with fostering competitiveness in the workplace because the object is for the company to flourish but when employees get too competitive the entire business often suffers as a result. Even so, being competitive is not always a bad thing and not always counterproductive from a business standpoint, so it is suggested that any owner or director of a business should look in depth at the two models to see which (or both!) suits their business better.

A Close Look at Competition

From pro sports to vying for scholarships in college to fundraising campaigns between Girl Scouts troops, competition has been a driving force that has seen its share of success. In the right place and under the right circumstances, competition is healthy and a great way to spur individuals and teams on to success. However, competition often pits one against the other and that’s why many businesses have stopped running competitions in the work place.

Oftentimes the duties that various members undertake are related to, and dependent upon, the work of others. When seeking to compete for a coveted award, individuals and their team often forget that their job requires certain parts or processes that go before or after the part they play. On production lines you can only go as fast as the person or people before you go. If one leg of the line is slower than the people ahead or faster than those same people can handle, a great deal of friction can arise. This leads to an inordinate amount of stress that could be avoided if a suitable pace was kept so that everyone had time to do his or her task efficiently. Speed often leads to sub-standard production which does not bode well for the company.

Also, competitions that pit one staffer against another do little to boost company morale. Dissatisfied employees can keep production low and also their attitudes affect the way customers view the company. Does competition serve your company well? Situations like this would probably indicate that you, as a leader, should not promote a competitive spirit within your team. It’s time to take a look at collaboration.

Why Collaboration Is Currently the Preferred Business Model

One of the reasons why so many businesses refrain from a collaborative model is because many jobs are now mobile or completed out in the field. Until the mid-1990s when cell phones became available and quite popular, it was difficult to get teams together in a central location. Amazing telecommunications solutions are now available that enable teams located anywhere on earth to ‘meet’ as often as necessary to collaborate on projects.

Innovative Cisco HCS (Hosted Collaboration Solutions) is a great example of a telecommunications solution that enables employees to meet regularly from remote locations so that their efforts can be focused on the job at hand. Working together, teams are able to accomplish so much more than employees working individually on ‘pieces of a job’ that will at one point need to fit together with the whole. In fact, in business this is truly a case of the whole being greater (so much greater!) than the sum of its parts.

Merging the Award System with a Collaborative Business Model

There is no reason your business should ever need to leave the ‘award system’ behind. A collaborative effort can still earn awards for team achievements but instead of pitting employees one against another, you would be offering prizes or awards when a job is done before schedule or production meets certain standards above and beyond what’s acceptable. It’s all about getting employees to work together for the good of the whole. In this case, the whole is the company and its employees. As a business owner or director, which of these models would you say best fits your company?

If you are still laboring under the assumption that a spirit of competition will spur your employees to excellence, it’s time you revisited what collaboration can do for the team. Working together keeps the team spirit high and employees feeling good about themselves, their coworkers and even the company they work for. Each person has his or her strengths and weaknesses which will be compensated for when working together with others. This is why today’s most successful companies are moving closer and closer to the collaborative model where everyone’s a winner and further away from competition where only one gets the award. If you are looking to exponentially grow your business, collaboration is the new competition.

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