Competition LO18160

Ian Saunders (
Fri, 22 May 1998 11:42 +0100 (BST)

Replying to LO18113 --


[I have just read some mor up to date messages on the thread and this
response may have been overtaken my events or discussion!]

Your comments on the Olympics caused me to reflect on my own thoughts
about competition. I have been following this thread with a lot of
interest. Largely because in the sporting arena I am certainly
competitive. Like many of Ben's comments on his sporting success I have
done OK, if doing OK means being selected for representative level teams
or competition. And in my working live I am committed to collaborative
working and ideals. This results in some conflict.

I would not want to give up my competitive sport. It is important to me.
Not to my country (I do not play at that level, only local teams) I enjoy
the competition, winning is not everything at this level. Once the
competition is over, someone has won, we talk about other things and I
ponder how I might do better next time. I see many people competing at
this level and seeking to improve in a comparative sense. I do judge
myself against the competition. THis is important to me as much because I
am keen to improve in this field as much as in the field of work.

I may be reducing your comments down to a sporting level (ie. Competing at
the Olympics undoubtedly carries more significance that my weekly golfing
competitions) which is simply different - not comparable. Your comments
seem to suggest (no value judgement intended) that competition is
valueless, unimportant. I don't hold that view. I believe that competition
has value in helping me to improve my performance. I know from experience
playing some sports without an opponent or goal does not work (for me

I key part, and I believe that this can become more difficult the higher
level at which you compete, is to recognise that there are other more
important things, like being healthy and alive, than sporting competition
and to maintain that perspective. After the competition talk about other
things, not to get too tied into the 'winning at all costs'. Then it
rapidly becomes destructive.

You seem not to like or understand sporting competition - that's fine, not
everyone likes sport. Music or recreation are valued more by some people.

What I seek to understand better is why competition in the sporting arena
can't be seen to be helpful in some ways in relation to improving
performance, and that improvement is based on comparative data.

I believe others have made the comment that competition and collaboration
can occur together - do occur together. This works when an appropriate
balance is maintained.

What might move this thread forward would be to try and answer the
question - "How do we maintain the 'right' balance, and how do you work
with people where the appropriate balance is in a different place?"

Ian Saunders
Transition Partnerships - Harnessing change for business advantage

-- (Ian Saunders)

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