What do you think is the best way to make people cooperate?
Give them a common goal? Make them feel part of something greater, you say?
Yes, sure, it may work.
But what we found out to work best is something slightly different.
If you want people to truly cooperate at a deeper level you need to…add instead a little bit of competition!
You don’t believe it? Well, look at what happened with SPIIEvo and you will think again.
Divide to unify: the formula of Evolution
We have already told you how with SPIIEvo the whole company was divided into smaller groups, each of them identified by one Element (Water, Air, Earth and Fire). And how they all went separately through a journey of change, in order to find one game-changing idea each to propose to the management.
They would then compete with each other to become the “winning Element” that would offer the most interesting idea to improve the company.
What we didn’t tell you yet is that this all was a well-defined plan to actually make them cooperate at a higher level than ever before!
Every Element would include more than one group: week after week, during every edition of the activity, every one of them would experience the same thing, and they would be evaluated with a grade based on their results.
Water, Air, Earth and Fire 1 each got a grade, then Water, Air, Earth and Fire 2, and 3, and so on…
They were all separated. But really they were all the same, because each Element would then be counted together, as a whole: so the score of the group “Air 1” was added to “Air 2”, and so on. In order to win and gain more points, a transversal cooperation between competing groups was actually essential!
Edition after edition, a ranking of the 4 Elements was generated, to which every single team has given its contribution through its own overall score: this ranking is the basis of the gamification system of a program such as Evolution, which involves, focuses, and unites.
After each edition, the updated rankings are posted throughout the company.
The effect is twofold: on the one hand, the increasing involvement of those who have already participated in the event, and on the other, the increasing expectations of those who have yet to participate and don’t know what is going to happen.
This generates an incredible hype and also a transversal group spirit.
People from one element or another would wear the same colors, the same branded pins, and develop an incredible sense of belonging.
You’re creating not only attachment, but also a growing, exponential sense of expectation – all towards the final event.
But at the same time something special happens. A paradox.
By separating people into 4 different teams and many more groups, you create competition.
But on the other hand you promote identification with the company as a whole, you create a strong and cohesive company culture, based on a common language that can be understood and spoken only by the ones who feel part of it.
Human beings are programmed that way, attachment to the team is inevitable.
And the entire EVOLUTION path leverages exactly this factor: edition after edition, people become more and more attached to the Element of their team, generating a spirit of unity and support.
One vision is all you need to have
After months of this both playful and serious competition, the day of the final event comes.
The 4 best groups from each edition and Element are on stage, in front of all their colleagues and friends, and have to present their ideas and convince the jury their one is the best.
So you will find yourself with 4 different groups, united under the flag of 4 different elements, competing against each other for the first prize and for the glory.
How can you make it possible for EVERYONE to win, at this stage? How can you keep everybody engaged, actively and purposefully participating?
This is where the real trick is done.
A new rule is introduced: the audience is divided once more into the 4 elements, and then additional points are offered to the element that belongs to those in the audience who find ways to improve on the ideas of those on stage!
Can you see it? This is explosive.
- the audience must listen actively to understand and propose new solutions;
- those who participate feel engaged because they contribute to make their element win;
- but they ultimately find ways for EVERYONE to win, because it’s good for the company.
This is what you mean when you say “win-win solutions“!
Are you building a cathedral?
Do you see it now?
Competition doesn’t have to be a tool to declare a winner and a loser.
It can be a metaphor, a way to stimulate a company culture that is cohesive and cooperative.
It can transform the way people work, engage and consider themselves within a company.
Have you ever heard the story of the three bricklayers?
A traveler came upon three men working. He asked the first man what he was doing and the man said he was laying bricks.
He asked the second man the same question and he said he was putting up a wall.
When he got to the third man and asked him what he was doing, he said he was building a cathedral.
They were all doing the same thing. The first man had a job. The second man had a career. The third man had a calling.
The path of EVOLUTION that Unreal Training helped us walk by was not only designed to improve our company culture and stimulate new, innovative solutions. It was aimed at building a cathedral, and have everyone on board knowing they were working with a purpose.
Within SPII we all participated in SPIIEvo, everyone had to take part in it; the degree of discretion was with what commitment to do so.
Everyone had to decide which of the 3 workers working on the cathedral to be.
What do you think? Have you ever seen competition in this light?
See you next time,