The Hunger Games is a young adultcompetition novel about teenagers who are pitted against each other by corporate sponsors in a match to the death. The story resonates with young people today who find themselves competing against each other for a limited number of jobs or spots at top colleges and universities. Unfortunately it also describes a toxic form of competition that has invaded too many companies.
The Harvard Review shares a story about Charles Schwab chalking one shift's daily steel output on the factory floor. When the next shift saw the number they rallied and produced a higher output. This is the way most companies view competition - spur the competitive instinct between teams and you’ll get higher productivity. But what happens when the night shift decides to start taking tools home at the end of the shift, changing settings on machines and taking other steps to frustrate their rival's progress? Once relationships within the organization turn adversarial competition can start having the opposite effect from what management intended.
One way to keep competition healthy and focused on the end result of higher productivity overall is to use your recognition program to foster a culture of cooperation and shared success. Yes you want to set high goals and unleash the competitive spirit of your top performers. But you also want to reward transparency, openness and teamwork. When competition gets out of control you start seeing departments keeping their methods secret, which puts a lot of strain on IT and other support staff who have to adapt to each team's top-secret strategies for getting a leg up on the competition. This quickly leads to information silos and incompatible processes.
By using your social platform to encourage competition within the context of collaboration you ensure that everyone has a chance to prosper because the entire organization is moving forward in the same direction.
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