Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Internal Competition Can Kill Team Work

When managed well, internal competition can be used as a tool to burst sales, improve productivity and inspire innovation. This is the case, when there is NOT a zero sum game, when the rules are clear and when all the involved members buy-in the competition idea before it starts.

However, in most cases I know, internal competition can be a strong de-motivator. People start to hide the information, try to be the first to report the team progress to the boss, try to claim the credits for themselves and to blame others for errors. They do not support and tend to mistrust each other.

In other words internal competition can be a killer of team work. However, many managers still design the work such, consciously or unconsciously, that internal competition is not only possible, but encouraged, when the boundary of the tasks are overlapping for two teams, when the objectives are set unclear or not set at all. The situation is even more dramatic, when the reward system is arbitrary and when there is favouritism in place.

Therefore be careful when ever you think to introduce internal competition. Last warning: competition in the form we know is based on the consciousness that there is lack of something, it is not enough for every one so we have to fight to get our share. This is the consciousness of poverty.

A much power tool is to practice the consciousness of abundance. There is enough for every one. Our imagination is unlimited. Our ideas are unlimited. We are geniuses in some way. Our productive work loads can be unlimited. And we can give as much as we want and will be able to create even more, while we are giving.

If we focus collectively on creating a bigger pie instead of fighting for our share, then we can make internal competition irrelevant and our work more fun.

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