High performing teams love a little competition

My friend Steve (who runs Zeek) loves taking friends and employees to a local race track for go-karting. They compete for the fastest time and the bragging rights that go with it.

Early in their relationship, Steve’s wife Samantha (VP at H-Wave) suggested she could run the course faster than Steve.

What happened next is exactly what I’ve seen inside companies for years. Maybe you’ve experienced the same thing.

The friendly banter turned into a competition that had more than bragging rights at stake. Terms were set – loser would do laundry for two weeks.

Have you created opportunities for a little competition within your team?

  • Who closes the most tickets?
  • Who answers the most calls with a high transactional NPS score?
  • Who sells the most before the week’s end?

When you create these kinds of challenges, you can keep it fun.

As you likely know, some people are more competitive than others. So here are my three suggestions for bringing competition to work:

Keep the contests short. Long competitions often hurt a team dynamic because some people quit early.

Keep the prizes small. You don’t want people to get upset by not winning. Keeping the prizes small mean that bragging rights are more valuable.

Run more than one. You want multiple winners. The best way to do that is to run multiple contests.

When you bring in a little competition, especially if you create teams, you help engage those who are competitive. But you also create a fun environment for all – especially if your contests are short and many.

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