The Importance of the Competition Complex and How It Can Improve Performance
When it comes to an effective team, it is without a doubt that collaboration is the fundamental driving force behind success. However, what’s often overlooked as another significant contributor to functional teams, is the presence of healthy internal competition. The competition complex, when properly implemented in a team environment, can be just as motivating, purposeful and beneficial as collaboration. At first, you may think that it is contradictory, but let’s delve deeper into its effect. As it can bring risks, the competition complex might not be the solution for all organisations. When encouraged in the right team, it can be powerful and transformative to performance.
Benefits of encouraging healthy team competition
So, what does competition bring to the table that collaboration alone doesn’t? Here are several benefits of promoting healthy competition among your team members:
Increases employee motivation by providing different incentives
Makes work and achieving goals more fun and enjoyable
Inspires innovation and creativity
Gives stronger purpose to team members
Allows employees to learn how to accept failure, loss and be humble
Prevents complacency and encourages better performance
The 4 C’s of building a high performance team
In professional sports, there are 4 C’s that help build a high performing team culture. Applicable in a range of settings, this concept can also be used to build a high performing corporate culture. It is evident that competition is equally contributive to high performance as supporting one another, driving your own growth and having the overall team’s interests at heart.
Care: Taking pride in your individual performance.
Compassion: Empathy with action for other team members – when you see someone else in the team struggling, you take action to support them.
Celebration: Great teams stop and celebrate wins together.
Competition: In the best teams, members will challenge each other to improve performance.
Ways to bring about and maintain healthy internal competition
Implementing healthy internal competition in your team is not just a one-off process, it is a value that you will need to nurture and manage over time. Here are some ways you can begin to create healthy team competition in your organisation:
Encourage debates, openness in communication and sharing of opinions.
Compete for specific, measurable and realistic goals.
Implement competition on an interval basis to avoid loss of momentum.
Manage competition closely so it doesn’t get out of hand.
Value the process and learning that comes from competition.
Find fun and friendly opportunities for competition.
Recognise the winners but don’t dishearten others.
Create competition amongst individuals and teams
Set rules and standards for the competition.
What to keep in mind about the competition complex
Make sure competition motivates your team to achieve your organisational goals and not distract from them – setting competition goals that are aligned with business objectives, but will also benefit employees.
Don’t let competition get in the way of morale – things can sometimes turn sour when individuals have to fight for essentials such as budget, resources, time with other staff.
Don’t let competition undermine your company culture – make sure that it is light-hearted and the organisation remains a team in itself. Watch out for potential bullying, grudges, and excessive working just to win competitions.
Competitive culture may not work for every team – while some teams may benefit from healthy competition, other teams may not be motivated by it. This will depend on the dynamic and individual team member traits, which is where personality assessments can assist.
Have you set up your team to promote healthy internal competition? If your team building focus has always been on collaboration, you might want to rethink your strategy and try something new.