What does Collaboration vs. Competition mean to you?

I had my friend Natalie ask me to cover this topic...She’s currently a college student in education and is experiencing other students feel like they need to compete against each other starting because they think they'll be competing in the workforce.

One thing that your prospective teacher friends probably do not realize is that there will be more teaching jobs available in the next few years than ever before in history because there are so many baby boomers retiring. Next time they’re acting like you’re competing, maybe fill them in on the research or just a simple google search…. HA! :) They do still need to prepare to be the best teachers they can be. And we'll need them to be very innovative in their teaching approaches.

I still want to cover this topic because as a business owner and non profit leader I’ve experienced competition vs. collaboration many times.

Scarcity Leaders believe in LACK. Competition is defined as Any person or entity which is a rival against another. 

Abundant Leaders- believe in abundance!!! Collaboration is defined as the action of working with someone to produce or create something.

For the longest time I lived in a lack mindset. I never thought there was enough of anything. I wasn’t enough. There were never enough resources, money, time, or energy for anything. I spent most of my time feeling guilty Then I learned about the abundance mindset. Stephen Covey explained these concepts in 

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective PeopleHe wrote,

Most people are deeply scripted in what I call the Scarcity Mentality. They see life as having only so much, as though there were only one pie out there. And if someone were to get a big piece of the pie, it would mean less for everybody else. The Scarcity Mentality is the zero-sum paradigm of life. People with a Scarcity Mentality have a very difficult time sharing recognition and credit, power or profit—even with those who help in the production. They also have a hard time being genuinely happy for the success of other people. 

The Abundance Mentality, on the other hand, flows out of a deep inner sense of personal worth or security. It is the paradigm that there is plenty out there and enough to spare for everybody. It results in the sharing of prestige, recognition, profits and decision-making. It opens possibilities, options, alternatives and creativity.

Covey tells us that when you live in a world of scarcity, you compete for available resources, even when there is an abundance of them.  

About ten years ago I started a nonprofit board in a rural area called the Great Start Collaborative. Our mission was to be a voice for children that did not have a voice ages birth-age eight. I don’t think many people understood the purpose at first and definitely did not know what it meant to be collaborative. They had been competing for so long that the concept that now they would be working together to serve in a different way was intimidating.

As a board we needed to learn about collaboration and figure out what it meant to us. One easy thing I found was that we needed to start breaking down the barriers, so I made our meetings fun. I'd have music playing or even fun ice breakers because I knew our board needed to become friends with each other before we would be able to help people move forward. There were deep discussions and arguments at first because the leaders had a lack mindset. There was never enough in this rural area. After a few years the board came together in a BIG way to help vulnerable young children. They set aside what they were going to get and instead focused on what they could give to help these young children. Collaboration is about giving and serving. Competition is about taking away and lack. Within five years we were recognized for our collaboration at a state-wide level. The team was abundant in their thinking. They knew that they needed each other to do more and serve in a bigger way.

Today I’d like you to think about the areas in your life that you have been competing vs. collaborating. 

Make today amazing!


Allison Liddle