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.”
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