February 11, 2019 Carole Levy

Good intents meet rampant competition

At The Trust Factory, we have declared our desire to weave intentions in2019.  

Fostering trust and authentic collaboration is at the heart of our relentless exploration with organizations and teams. Out of our personal experiences or readings, we all know that partnering with others, developing fruitful collaborations, or teaming* is what generates high-quality effectiveness and deep satisfaction.

Still, all of us have experienced situations in which we saw our colleagues as a threat to our success or interests. We triggered ourselves, doubted their intentions, felt like they had an “agenda”, and undermined our collaboration by being less transparent and generous, or more competitive and offensive.

Sometimes, the organizational culture we find ourselves in favors a competitive and fear-based environment. But in the 21stcentury, the trend for organizations is to be purpose and value-driven – to favor safety, collaboration and even humility. However, the feeling of threat and internal competition between colleagues can still exist, even run rampant. And what is rampant shapes a culture.

Nobody seems immune to the experience of rampant competition and seeing others as a threat to our success because we are all trained in the same system of performance and perfection. 

To be included, liked or admired, to not be judged, criticized or ostracized, we need to be the best possible version of ourselves. But there is a fine line between growing our human potential to be our best self and needing to be the best– to be above others to make sure we are not below them.

A nagging and painful confusion exists, and is reinforced by our tribal instincts (me against you), western societal norms (be better and more productive), the fixed and deficient nature of the ego (never good enough), and structural discrimination (work harder to overcome engraved inequalities and biases).

At The Trust Factory, part of our work with teams and leaders is to support them to address -with a gentle touch- the invisible and sometimes “unavowable” tensions that can damage their relationships and organizational culture.  Rampant competition is human and common – detrimental but fixable.

When leaders and team members develop 1- the muscle to share their trigger points, 2- the generosity to receive others while in their trigger points, and 3- the vigilance to resist their urge to be “better than” – it is a deliverance for everyone. It frees space for thoughtful and pleasurable collaboration. 

The real relief is when everyone is committed and eager to work on themselves!

Sincerely,

Carole Lévy and Jean-Pierre Guilhaume

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