Symbiosis in LOs LO11374

Scott Simmerman (74170.1061@CompuServe.COM)
11 Dec 96 14:56:15 EST

Replying to LO11352 --

Bob Tomasko asked "does anyone know of instances where a company's
strategy deliberately / explicitly included the objective of strengthening
its competition" and Michael Schwartz gave an example in LO 11352.

A year ago, we were asked to facilitate a large team building event of
salespeople, customers, and outside suppliers (n = 600) for a large
multinational interested in improving communications and collaboration to
reduce costs and improve efficiencies. We were 3 hours (using Lost
Dutchman) of a 3-day conference.

Can't say much more about it, except that the focus was on collaboration
and that a lot of these companies were direct competitors of each other
and looking for more collaboration against their other competition (those
not in attendance). My understanding is that the overall outcomes of the
conference were quite good (we had only a small role in the overall

Too often, we see competition as great (or greater) WITHIN an organization
than between it and a direct competitor. Competition for budget, for
example, when the perception is that dollars are tight will cause
suboptimization and all sorts of negative political stuff (see "arrows",
other posting!).

I also hear the talk at the top about how wonderful competition is and how
it translates into "incentive compensation."

But I also know that top managers are selected from the top 5% of the
Senior Managers who are selected from the top 5% of the Middle Managers
who are selected from the top 5% of the Lower Middle Managers who are
selected from the top 5% of the Managers who are selected from the top 5%
of the Supervisors who are selected from the top 5% of the workers and who
think that THEY THINK LIKE EVERYBODY ELSE. They are so "off the curve"
that I generally tell them that they are the "abnormal group" from a
psychological perspective (I do this with a smile!).

"Duh" seems to be the current US expression for this reality. Seven Sigma
is Motorola's model.

And (this may take a second) I still have a hard time convincing top
managers that "half of their organization is below average." (Duh,

My discovery is that a LOT of people don't like the "rigorous"
competition that occurs in most organizations and that produces much of
dysfunctional behavior that actually suboptimizes results and "Dilberts

Like the senior manager of a big regional bank who admitted that his
organization does NOT share their best ideas and practices with the
competition -- this actually being the other senior managers of different
regions of the same bank. (And I owned stock in his bank!). Duh.

So, this "normal competition" thing is not too symbiotic, methinks.

Apologies for taking this thread in a bit of a different direction than it
started, but then the pin finally hit my balloon thanks to Michael's
positive comments and I just couldn't control my fingers,


For the FUN of It!

Scott J. Simmerman Performance Management Company 3 Old Oak Drive Taylors, SC 29687-6624 (USA)

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