Win, Lose or Collaborate?


We’re surrounded by it every waking moment. Football, golf, basketball and hockey are in season, and the Winter Olympics are just around the corner.

white man, sunglasses, green shirt, giving thumbs up sign

Working together we accomplish far more than we ever can working in isolation or against all others.

We have no shortage of sports competitions to watch. The calendar is just weeks away from flipping over to 2014, and that means many companies are ending their fiscal years. We have no shortage of competition to reach year-end goals and quotas. Retailers are competing for our holiday shopping dollars. We have no shortage of options of where to spend our money.

In the right context, such as when it is between teams or organizations that desire opposite and mutually exclusive outcomes, competition is good. In the wrong context, such as when all participants should be reaching for the same goals, like within a work group or company, within a family, or between two people in a relationship, competition will prevent them from achieving as much as they can when they cooperate and collaborate.

When we seek to cooperate and collaborate, we will always act in the best interests of others. That’s the key to building trust, and a team – even a team of only two – that is knitted together by trust, is unbeatable.

When we care about each other and look out for each other, we shift our focus away from unproductive activity or finger-pointing and on to getting the job done. We are more creative because we are less concerned with playing it safe. We care more about outcomes, so we do better work. We attract other positive and passionate people to us. We show genuine care and support for each other. We confront the challenges life brings, and we work together to overcome them or adjust to them.

Trust, though, is the key. By being trustworthy, we are trusted.

People who work with others, instead of against them, are more likely to be prosperous, successful and happy. Doesn’t that sound like reason enough?

If you want to be incrementally better: Be competitive.

If you want to be exponentially better: Be cooperative.

~ Unknown

Your Personal Appraisal

  • Do you foster cooperation and collaboration in your closest relationships at home and at work?
  • Under what circumstances to you compete against others unnecessarily?
  • How can you turn a competitive situation into a cooperative one?
  • What personal benefits might you realize by working collaboratively?

Life Is Honest, Open and True:

This month, take time to:

  • Make an honest assessment whether more collaboration and cooperation might resolve a current interpersonal conflict.
  • Be open to cooperating with those you normally compete against for one significant project.
  • In your next project, test your ability to collaborate and see if you experience the wonderful sense of realizing phenomenal accomplishment.

Have you experienced the exponential growth that comes with working collaboratively? Tell me about it in the comments or tweet me @lifeishotblog with the hash tag #LifeIsHOT!

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