Double-edged Sword of Human Competition
Competition amongst the human race benefits society by stretching ourselves outside, what many psychologists say is the paradigm we avoid the most, the fear of success. When we agree to compete, we flip to our more natural ideology, the fear of failure. This latter mindset keeps us alert and provides us with the motivation to take action, to adjust and stretch to new realms of high performance, and it allows us to evolve.
In the business and corporate world, we speak of leaders. As Al Pacino stated in his role as Big Boy Caprice in the 1990 film, Dick Tracy, “(humans) crave leadership!” We want someone to show us the way, though we all can be positive and influential leaders in all walks of our lives. What stops us from breaking out of the “tribe”? It is likely the fear of success. If we go outside our corporate group/division’s current theme of protectionism, we aren’t sure who we will become and who we may alienate and be required to leave behind. We stick with protecting our turf and with the familiar.
We can and do make progress within these corporate world frameworks, though we likely don’t do it at the speed and with the level of enjoyment that is likely available to ourselves, our fellow colleagues and the marketplace we are trying to serve.
Some would say this is all the fear of failure playing out, though I believe failure is a given. We are humans. As we all know, we are not perfection, so we need not waste countless hours of lives avoiding failure.
In the workplace, why are we protecting and concealing information from other groups that would efficiently and effectively move our business mission forward? It appears that our fight or flight instinct is at work. One group is in flight which prompts the other group to take unnecessary days, weeks and sometimes years fighting the battles against their colleagues that allow them to optimize their value to the organization.
Nowhere are these battles more real and prevalent than amongst corporate IT departments. We can’t expect the CIOs to know about all these battles and the ensuing turf wars, though these leaders need to empower their management teams and subsequently the individual team members to lead with “success” (improvement) as the main motivation.
IT groups (i.e., Network, Server, Application, Storage) should not be conveying that performance issues, outside their specific jurisdiction, “are not my problem.” IT is a service provider to the organization and to the market they are trying to capture and maintain, so overall departmental success is the only goal.
Don’t fear that my position will be eliminated or that my group will be downsized, thus, leaving me with less authority within the department. Focus on what working together and not against one another will do for the company. How can we possibly see all the “success” possibilities, if we fear them so much that we sabotage our true growth potential?
Contributor, John Ward, Director of Sales, AppEnsure, Inc. For comments, firstname.lastname@example.org 603.479.2511, www.appensure.com