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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Competition or Collaboration?

"In the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise more effectively have prevailed." Charles Darwin, English naturalist and author of On the Origin of Species
I've been thinking a lot about competition and collaboration lately.
Someone took exception to one of my posts in a LinkedIn group and flagged it as inappropriate. Under a rather Draconian rule, this results in my posts being moderated in ALL groups, not just the one to which the offended person belongs. In effect, I'm in social media jail without recourse. Why the offended person didn't just delete the post and then write and ask me to refrain from contributing, I don't know. That would have been the more gracious response. If this weren't bad enough, I have now discovered that anyone who views what I--or you--write as too threatening to their own business or just too good to share can also flag the post for moderation. Thus, my thoughts about competition and collaboration.
Healthy competition can be good for us. It enhances performance and encourages people to work harder to achieve personal best. It can expand our ideas of what we can accomplish. Another's success spurs us to greater efforts. Even if we lose, there is nobility and honor in the attempt. Many athletes are good examples of this type of competition--and some are not.
Unhealthy competition occurs when someone else is viewed as a threat. It comes from a belief that we cannot win through our own efforts, but only by holding someone else back. It is fear based and predicated on a belief that there is scarcity (not enough customers, business, money for everyone) and entitlement (that someone can take away what I believe should be solely mine.) When we act out of unhealthy competition, we view others as threats from which we need to protect ourselves by whatever means necessary. It's eat-or-be-eaten. Look at reality television for examples.
Collaboration, on the other hand, is not about someone winning and someone losing. It is based on a belief that there is more than enough for everyone and that we can forge alliances with people to leverage benefits for all of us. For me, it is expansive and puts us in a place where we are more likely to find opportunities. It's not you or me; it's you and me.
“There is no limit to what can be accomplished if it doesn’t matter who gets the credit.” Harry S. Truman, 33rd president of the United States
What do you think? Share your comments.

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