Collaboration Over Competition: The Benefits of Working Together

As posted on Socality.....

Have you ever noticed when someone gets a great opportunity our first instinct can be jealousy? It's easy to start asking, “How did they get that”?  or “What about me”?

It's easy to do and can even feel like a natural instinct. The "survival of the fittest", this desire to be the best. But what if we changed the way we looked at advancement and opportunity? What if there was a better or even greater reward in working together? What would this look like and how would we approach this?

It's in our nature to be competitive. It's a learned behaviour that often starts at a young age. Everything is a contest. From races, to exams, to receiving trophies, we are constantly watching people be rewarded. It can either push us to be better or simply draw back and choose to not even try. As we grow older, we take this with us into business and work environments. It develops attitudes and mindsets that can set us up for failure or success.

It is often said, “It's not what you know, it's who you know". Knowledge will get you a long way, but the right relationships and attitudes will get you even further.

Competition is a limited way of thinking. It places the self first and isolates us from others, often leaving us to work and create all on our own. It's overwhelming, exhausting and not nearly as rewarding. Collaboration is about surrounding yourself with others who have skill-sets and abilities that might be better or different than your own. It's about teamwork, rising together and ultimately about doing something that is beyond your own abilities.

We need to look at this two ways

1.     Who can you work and connect with that will help you advance in your goals?

2.     Who can you help get connected in order to open doors for others?

When you are truly collaborative, when one wins, everyone wins.

Here are some characteristics of those who value collaboration over competition.

Collaborative people invite others into opportunities. They see working together as a benefit to their growth and the development of their skill.

Competitive people push others away and try to do everything on their own.

Collaborative people are secure in their identify, gifts, and abilities and let their work speak for itself. They open up doors for others and are not threatened by the success or potential of another.

Competitive people need validation and are motivated by fear instead of goodwill.

Collaborative people lean on the strength of others. They ask questions, are excited to learn and involve others in the process.

Competitive people are closed to advice and opinions, exclude people in decision making and don't learn from the knowledge or wisdom from others. 

Collaborative people share the wealth. They believe there is enough to go around and love to see others thrive and have a piece of the pie.

Competitive people try and out do others, have something to prove and want everything for themselves.

Collaborative people encourage others in their goals and dreams and try to highlight them to others. They put their friends on display and aren’t afraid to give recognition to others.

Competitive people are quick to tear down and make judgements. They take pride in the shortcomings of others.

Collaborative people stand up for others. They are moved when injustice is done to another and aren’t afraid to speak up.

Competitive people take pleasure when others get knocked down and use this as a chance to promote themselves.

Collaborative people are open and honest and have nothing to hide. They see transparency as a key to successful and strong, lasting relationships.

Competitive people are secretive, fearful to trust and don’t listen to the opinions and feedback of others.

There are many commodities in life. Finances and success in your goals are certainly on that list. However, the greatest commodity of all is the quality of people in your life and you can’t place a number on these.  Being a collaborator can bring success and life long friendships leaving you on top. Being a competitor can leave you empty handed, alone and lacking in valuable, meaningful relationships.

How are you operating? Are you a collaborator or a competitor? Feel free to share this post with your friends and join in on the conversation.


An entrepreneur, creator, father & husband from Calgary, Scott Bakken is inspiring a generation of creatives to live their best life.