I've been on the lookout, in response to Roxanne's question long ago,
for examples of healthy competition. And, I'm also thinking back to the
origin of that thread a couple of months ago which was "Employee ranking."
I was sitting in the audience at Symphony, looking up the Malcolm Lowe,
first violin... When I realized that here is a pretty healthy example of
competition and ranking.
Now, I'm not a musician, but I think it's correct that their is a clear
order among most of the violins. They are ranked from first to Nth in our
concert program and on stage in front of us each concert.
Back in high school, my friends were in the concert band. They had
challenges frequently... To see if a person could "beat" the player ahead
and move up. These were judged by the teacher/band leader, but I had the
sense from my friends that these were OK competitions... My friends gave
me a picture of much more satisfaction with the process than I see with
performance reviews in business, for example.
In the Boston Symphony, the process produces beautiful music.
I watched at the end of the piece when the conductor recognized a few of
the players... I watched as the rest of the orchestra gave enthusiastic
applause in their own ways. In the violin section it was by waving the bow
and I thought one violinist would surely strike a neighbor on the head, it
was so vigorous. From my seat in the audience, this looked like a pretty
healthy, high performing organization.
I hope Ray Evans Harrell is reading this and will give us some inside
>From this example, I might conclude that competition can be healthy if:
- performance comparisons are clear (as in Ben's bicycling with another
- performance comparisons are generally accepted as fair
- there is a win-win element (Whole orchestra sounds better)
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