Friendly Competition, Is It Really Friendly?

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friendly competition

Friendly Competition, Is It Really Friendly?

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Are you up for a little friendly competition? Will everyone play by the rules?

In the workplace, sales teams will sometimes do this.

Who is having the best day, week, or month in sales? Sell the most and you win a trip, get a special parking spot, or maybe you receive a nice bonus.

It works for other areas too. Safety records, attendance, or any key performance indicators that are measured for improvement.

A little friendly competition can certainly be motivating, challenging, and break new ground. It can spice things up and achieve some great results.

Is friendly competition truly friendly or are there rule-breakers, guideline manipulators, and short-cut takers?

Would you consider that to be part of the competition?

Friendly Competition

The desire to compete, to win, to prove excellence or highest performance motivates many.

Competition can also invite pressure, the pressure for greater performance or to get recognized as above average.

Pressure might imply pushing. Getting pushed, being pushed, or risking it all for victory.

We often use the word push. Push harder, do more, get better, or stronger. Conceptually, pull is a better method.

When the pressure to achieve becomes so overwhelming a win at all costs might develop. Sometimes, people believe they need to risk it all to achieve.

They try short-cuts, end runs, and they may try to cheat.

Cheating isn’t friendly competition. It shouldn’t be part of the process.

Your highest integrity and most loyal team members won’t sacrifice their character or reputation by resorting to cheating. Unless of course, the possibility of better results outweighs the risk of getting caught.

Competition and cheating have been around for a long time.

Do you want a culture of integrity?

When you start the competition, what will be the rules? How will the rules be monitored and enforced?

Promoting competition with “no rules” means you may be weakening the integrity of your organzation.


Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

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