I’ve been thinking a lot about collaboration recently. One of our clients is launching a collaboration hub designed to draw people together – tops in their fields, communities, and classrooms – to develop solutions for society. It’s very inspiring.
But what role does competition play in a collaborative environment? While it can spark innovation when it’s outside of your team, what does competition do in a situation where you’re supposed to be collaborating like in IP Licensing. How can you handle it for the most advantageous outcome?
Dealing with Departmental Competition in IP Licensing
Competition can help us see efficiencies we didn’t before and brings out creative solutions, but what do you do when it’s undermining your ability to do your job?
Verify the Intention of the Dark Side
What if Darth Vader just wasn’t good with people? Seriously, sometimes we misinterpret an action that appears to be aimed at discrediting us or slowing us down, when really the co-worker isn’t evil, just socially awkward. Make sure the competition is real before you start worrying about it.
Keep Your Work Center Stage
Your manager doesn’t want to hear that your personal problems with co-workers are getting in the way of you doing your job. In fact, they will likely see competition between co-workers as a good thing that brings out the best work in people because they want to be on top.
Keep your mind on the task at hand. Focus on your role and do it to the best of your ability. Maybe the competition will bring out something you didn’t know about yourself. Don’t involve your manager unless this escalates to the point that you find it to be a hostile work environment.
Take on the Frog
Every IP Licensing office has that one “frog” it deals with. It could be a belligerent researcher, a clueless start-up investor, or a pipe dream that has more support than it should. Whatever it is, if you have the ability to take it on, do so. Your competitive co-worker will stay out of your way and your manager will love you for taking one for the team.
Finally, if you’re still going head-to-head with your co-worker talk with that person and clear the air. Sometimes seeing things from their perspective will give you a different understanding of the cause of the problem. Whatever you do, don’t allow one co-worker to dictate your future in the department. If you want to continue to be a valuable part of the team, then be a valuable part of the team.