« Regularly Inspected | Main | What a CEO Wants »

October 09, 2007

Beating You

It feels good to win, especially at the office. Unlike a friendly game of touch football, office-bound competition often lacks good-hearted ribbing. In the age of forced-ranking and increased competition with other organizations, keeping a good rapport with co-workers isn't easy.

Some employees feel they're back in the Soviet regime whenever they push through their office building's revolving door. There's a sense of being monitored, and living under management that doesn't tolerate dissension. A disagreement about marketing strategy isn't to be discussed during meetings; it's to be whispered about nervously in the kitchen, or maybe even the parking lot. "If you don't like it, then leave," is the mentality.

In a brusque workplace--a throwback to the business style of the industrial revolution and tired Dickens characters--how do you promote a sense of healthy competition that encourages productivity?  If a chatty, expressive environment is discouraged, isn't it likely victorious workers will act more petty than gracious? 

For a combination of competition and camaraderie, have the "victors" of your latest strategy session organize meetings with colleagues whose ideas didn't prevail. You might ask why, after the decision has already been made, such gatherings would be useful. The reason is, including those who dissented makes it less likely those workers will feel alienated by the end-result of the strategy. More than making good emotional sense, input from skeptics will improve your project.

Beware of "winners only" meetings that resemble pep rallies more than continued deliberation of business strategy. It's the "losers," or stubborn skeptics, who will point out it isn't feasible to carry out the plans you're eager to delegate (for some reason the "winners" tend to mostly be interested in strategy).

Take heart, "losers." Your ideas didn't win out, and no one wants to talk about it, but you may be the smart one.

What do you do with your "losers?"  Something just short of burning at the stake?  How do you manage the outcome of competition at your office?  Only winners allowed in, or room for a few "losers," too, at your conference table?

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
https://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d8341c5cc553ef00e54ef4656d8833

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Beating You:

Comments

Phil Clark

Whoa! Any organization or manager that still operates in a winner-loser mentality is on the road to catastrophe. This attitude will undermine and destroy organizations faster than any behavior.
Life and business isn't a sport. Some forget that.

Phil Clark

Whoa! Any organization or manager that still operates in a winner-loser mentality is on the road to catastrophe. This attitude will undermine and destroy organizations faster than any behavior.
Life and business isn't a sport. Some forget that.

Gene Holand

Congrats Phil....
I've been trying to teach (your thoughts)to my undergrad students for years. They still seem to think that it has to be win-lose. When will the craziness stop? And when will some companies/management in the U.S. realize that it will be thier demise.

The comments to this entry are closed.