The Power of We

In my work as a wine consultant I observe the far-reaching tentacles of competitiveness nearly everyday.

In New Zealand, in particular, the emergence of large corporate wineries over the last 15-20 years has heightened competitive pressures, forcing silos in the larger wineries, and grasping in the smaller ones.

What is intriguing to me is not the opportunities that are lost as a result of this (though they are many), but the number of individuals and businesses for whom this overly competitive mind-set has become intrinsic.

“To build success and build on success, we need to reach out rather than hoarding resources or isolating ourselves.”

Our natural competitiveness kicks in as young children – when we begin to compare ourselves to others – and is reinforced in nearly all areas of life, from schooling, sports and arts, attention from parents, higher education and finally job seeking and career.  It’s no surprise then that this reflex kicks in when the going gets tough.

The feedback loop required to change this behaviour requires continuous reinforcement and is often at the heart of my role.  Shifting it can be a turnstile to new and very exciting opportunities.

So what happens if you help someone get ahead?  Does it detract from your success?  Traditional Western business strategy and cultural norms say absolutely it does. I disagree. We all bring a unique set of experiences, skills, knowledge and fundamental traits to the table.  To build success and build on success, we need to reach out rather than hoarding resources or isolating ourselves.  We need to locate capabilities, resources and networks that complement our own.

“Their collaborative approach defines their success, not the destination.”

In my work, … Read more >

I am only passionately curious

In 1639, a 20-year-old from a small village in North England, with the help of his two friends, became the first person to accurately predict the Transit of Venus – one of the rarest events in astronomy.  This … Read more >

The Oxygen Dilemma

How I relish a glass of wine at the end of a busy day.

If you’re anything like me, it begins as a sweet, shapeless sense of anticipation at the margins of the mind. By the time I … Read more >

Wine of our times

One of the questions I’m asked most in my travels is ‘what’s new in wine?’

For many years I would rattle off improvements in active dry yeasts, or bottle closures, and watch as eyes glazed over. Sure there … Read more >

Slow down, you’re here

It’s been a while since I posted: A delicious, lingering stretch free from long-haul travel and it’s accompanying physical and mental fatigue. A blissful down-gearing dedicated to family and friends, domestic chores and beach swims at dusk. Ah, … Read more >

I want it now!

You might have seen or read about The Marshmallow Test – where 3 and 4 year olds are given the choice of eating one marshmallow immediately or waiting for 15 minutes for 2 marshmallows (apparently it’s supposed to … Read more >

For the love of saké

In 2007 I got bitten by the saké bug and ended up a samurai. To put samurai into context: I’m not referring to the noble warriors of medieval Japan, rather an esteemed title given by the Japan Saké … Read more >