Side-by side and twenty strong across the Mighty Mojave Desert mules pulled their loads. Only as cooperative teams could they accomplish their tasks.
I have never worked in an organization whose stated values haven’t included teamwork, which, by its nature, requires cooperation. Competition, when built into our measurements and rewards systems, when it is a core element in our organizational designs, works against the very teamwork we say we want. I’d like to share my thoughts on how we can reconcile this tension.
We set up systems in which there must be winners and losers. Many of our most revered institutions are anchored in this approach and teach us, from childhood, that this is healthy. Sports and education are two notable examples of this phenomenon. The key idea is that we drive the expectation of having winners and losers. In this environment, people spend their lives in a sort of self…
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