Competition vs Co-operation: How we lose in our race to win.



We continue trying to succeed at the price of other’s failure – and often we are those people who fail. Yet we never question the efficacy of competition!

A study amongst executives found that those competing with others performed worse in creative exercises than those who were tasked focused and not aware of a competitive element.

Society has had us believe that competition is natural, that we’re born to compete and even that competition produces better results. For years company team building events have resorted to competition to “build teams” in an attempt to bond co-workers and find ways for them to achieve better results.

And while it is true that certain “A-type” personalities love competition, it is very opposite for most other people. Competition produces fear, anxiety, poor results and, believe it or not, decreases motivation, morale and team-work.

You see, we’ve been brought up to believe that in order for us to win, to succeed, someone else (our so-called competitors) have to lose or fail. This of course has ultimately led to a break down of morals and values – people cheat because others have to “lose” and still we persist with the thought that competition is the driving force behind innovation and progress. When you cheat you lose – even if you win.

You’ve probably never heard of Erik as a sports star – and yet he competed internationally for over 10 years until finally, disillusioned by so-called “team-sports” he quit. Since 1999 he has been a consultant to sports teams and companies helping them understand behaviour and team work in order to be more successful. The first thing he did when consulting to a top sports team was to take winning out of the equation. The results? Staggering!! The team won almost 85% of their games over the 5 years in which Erik was their performance coach.

In this presentation Erik Vermeulen explores:

  • The myth of “healthy competition”
  • How to better motivate teams and individuals,
  • How we’re brought up to be negatively competitive and why so many successful kids fail as adults,
  • Building teams without using competition,
  • The Partnership model – why teams and relationships fail,
  • An explanation of why competition fails,
  • The principles behind winning and cheating to do so,
  • Stress and Anxiety and its affect on performance
  • The benefits of trust and co-operation
  • How to create a non-competitive, yet performance rich team environment.

To book Erik for this presentation, contact Lynne Duncan at Conference Speakers International on