I found this funny video on—where else—YouTube and I think it has something to say about competition in the workplace. Now, whether we like to think of the workplace as a happy-go-lucky-everyone-gets-a-long-equality-driven environment, we all know that when push comes to shove, you want to edge out the guy sitting next to you (even if it’s your best friend).
And, all in all, that’s OK. Employee competition isn’t a bad thing: it’s motivating, it keeps employees on their toes, it can even make bonds between coworkers stronger. Think of it as a neighborhood game of flag football. As long as you don’t take it so serious it becomes debilitating, or not serious enough so that you slack off at work, workplace competition can be one of the most effective ways to be productive and increase office morale.
I’ve included the above video because, hey, it’s funny! And it shows a humorous side to office competition, which is how competition should be handled in the workplace—with a dose of funny. So how do we do that? How do we keep the pedal to the metal while making sure that we aren’t burning out our engines? Well, the first thing you gotta monitor is your outlook on the situation. Remember, it’s like a game! You want to make it fun! Not just for you, but for your competitors as well. You’re not looking to blaze to the top, leaving everyone burning in your wake. Rather you want to do as best you can while also helping and motivating other to do the same; and if they get there before, great! Give them a pat on the back and tell yourself that next time you’re going to cross the finish line first (hopefully with everyone else not far behind).
So, once you’ve got the right attitude, you’ve got to keep the competition itself on the fun side. Sure sure—actually trying to up sales might not be the most fun thing in the world. But, if you’re in the middle of a monthly sale push, take some time and actually have some fun office games! Organize a lunchtime activity that is strictly for fun but keeps everyone in the competitive mood. Office bowling is always fun, or maybe set up an office golf course! Really anything that will take the edge off of all the work that needs to be done.
And what is competition without awards? It’s OK to stick with the obvious ones—Most Total Sales, Biggest Single Sale, etc. But everyone loves superlatives, right? It reminds us all of the good ole days of high school! So think of stuff like “Best Sales Pitch” or “Best Sales Attitude,” or “Most Motivational.” And, remember what I said about making fun of your co-workers? How about “Best (or Worst) at Taking Rejection,” or “Worst Sales Pitch.” You get the idea. Just tailor them to your specific duties in the office.
It’s like I’ve always demonstrated: the happy workplace is the productive workplace, and nothing spurs productivity like competition, especially fun competition. It’s like a formula. Competition + Fun = BIG NUMBERS!!!! Jot that down on your notepad. You’ll want to save it for later.