Message:We’re partners, not opponents.
Timing:14-15 minutes, depending on insertion of details about team-building plan, appraisals, reward systems. Playwright Henrik Ibsen wrote, “A community is like a ship; everyone ought to be prepared to take the helm.” My version is: “A corporation is like a ship; everyone ought to be prepared to take the helm.” Everybody ought to have a compass. Some of us share an attitude with the cartoon character Snoopy. He and Charlie Brown are standing on top of Snoopy’s doghouse when the cat scurries away with Charlie Brown’s blanket. “That cat has my blanket,” screams Charlie Brown. “How are we going to get it back?” Snoopy looks puzzled, “We?” For years, American corporations thought that competition was the key to outstanding performance within the doors of the organization. Get everybody to compete for their bonuses, their commissions, and their jobs, and, the theory went, they’ll scramble with the ball. They’ll get fired up and achieve, achieve, achieve. But that’s not what has happened. That competitive spirit has fostered jealousies and resentment, low morale, and lower productivity. Harvard professor and author Dr. Rosabeth Moss Kanter has dubbed these competitive environments “cowboy” management. Cowboy management makes competition, rather than cooperation, a virtue. Cowboy managers and employees like to get out there in the wilderness with a few trusty pals and no restraints. They practice survival of the fittest for their product, service, idea, or department. But research has shown that this kind of competitive environment has not been effective. At (company), sure, we want to race against the clock to get the product to market. Sure, we want to go up against our competitors’ proposals to our customers. Sure, we want to race against our own track record of performance for increased productivity. We need to compete against the rising...