I think I have read most of the popular management fables -" Who moved the cheese", "Fish", "Radical Leap", "How to take the obviously and make it into millions", etc… What continues to astound me (aside from how much money has been invested in me personally reading these books) is why as adults we have not yet learned how to play well together.
Initially I thought as children we did play well together in groups and those skills somehow diminished as we moved into these strange corporate worlds. Then it occurred to me that no, people are people and those who were willing to share the red crayon are still willing to share the red crayon and those who were not are not.
My latest foray into the self-help management section was the Five Dysfunctions of a Team which can be basically boiled down to one – COMPETITION. Perhaps that is my own competitive nature, perhaps that is because we as a culture like to WIN WIN WIN!!!! (this Olympics not withstanding.) Not once have I ever been taught that collaboration is better then winning. Although I understand that it can lead to winning. But, even in your traditional sports team scenarios there is always one person who wins more, the all-star, the most valuable, the water boy. So is that really colloboration if you are the all-star or is it getting other people to support you in winning?
It seems that as a nation we are trying to embrace a world economy through collaboration vs. our usual competition. I certainly can see the theoretical benefits of being able to utilize varying skills and resources to achieve an overarching global goal but the question remains how? How do we redefine the “est” as a key motivator? How do we change Biggest, Brightest, Best into something that does not reflect the inherent comparison?
A friend of mine recently sent an email that said “you don’t have to be the best, just do your best.”
There are many things I do in my life for enjoyment and not to be the "best." These are things we usually classify as "things I do for myself." I think I would like to take the idea of "things I do for myself" and spread that through all aspects of my life. Perhaps by applying the forgiveness of imperfection into work we can parlay a very self-centered idea into true collaboration.