I have the chance to share two passions with my eldest son who is almost 17: tennis and running. When I saw that he was gradually improving his results, I decided to make him comments about it on our way to a 10 km run a month ago:
- “You will run with no respect to your father today”.
“I will always respect you Dad!”, my son answered.
- “Well, Ok, with respect, it’s true, but no mercy, right? and this applies in both ways!”, I added.
“Respect but no mercy”: one month later, it resulted in two tie breaks in tennis (each part won one) and two sprints while we were running. In both races he passed me in the last 50 meters, but a picture is worth more than a thousand words!
Here you can observe the arrival of a 10-km mountain trail after a 300-meter drop. The red arch in the background indicates the point at 9.9km. At that height, thanks to the last slope I was able to see that my son was far behind me although I could hear him accelerate his steps. He powerfully and brilliantly passed me at the top of the hill… even if I knew that I had given everything I had to compete with him.
The most remarkable thing is to try to understand what has been the driving force that made this young 17-year-old man find the necessary resources to accelerate his path after having raced during 9.9km and such a slope.
Competition is that essential feeling to all human beings. That desire to win has been the driving force that enabled him to accelerate when (and he confessed it later) he thought I was exhausted. In addition to the will to win against his own father. This is the essential, beautiful and positive driving force that exists in sports: the spirit of improvement. This feeling enables to highlight and give a greater meaning to a lot of activities in different areas of life.
Motivation is the key to success
My clients, who are the head of chains of stores often ask me if it is a good idea to freely share the sales results with all salespersons. I always answer that it is good, and it has to be done in a transparent and dispassionate way. Competition is one of the forces that motivate us. The leader is responsible for making sure that everybody, in every moment, has the possibility to give the extra-push which will make the company and himself win. Consequently, when the salesman comes back home at night and is asked by his wife or husband:
“How was your day?”, instead of simply answering “Well, quite normal, as usual…” ;
he will have the opportunity to say: “I succeeded in having the highest Average Ticket. Things were slow at around 6pm but in the last two hours, I sped things up contributing to the global success of the store.”
What kind of environment has to be created by a leader to make this discussion happen ?
Ontological coaching makes a clear distinction between Competition and Jealousy.
– Competition is a healthy and constructive feeling which invites you to improve yourself taking your partners or your own results as a reference. It emerges from a self-confidence which invites you to do better.
– Jealousy, instead, comes from an essentially irrational or badly managed feeling which ends to hook to another person that seems to have more privileges than you.
Where there is no confidence, any initiative is misinterpreted and may result in outbreaks of jealousy. On the contrary, when the leader establishes an environment of confidence, a healthy competition can emerge and benefit to all the members of the company. In the context of a store or a chain of stores, this healthy competition based on benchmarks and an observation of the best elements in all the aspects generates a better conversion, average price and UPT.
No one is the best or the worst at everything. It is important to know yourself in order to be able to give that extra-push when it is needed to win, or at least when you consider that it will contribute to give a meaning to your working day.
Respect but no mercy !