Businesses are all too familiar with competing. They are trying to bite as big a chunk of the market as they possibly can. Frustrating as it may be at times, especially when you are on the losing side, but it is with having competition that you are constantly on your feet, coming up with creative strategies to outsell and outperform others.
The same can be said in internal competition — where people in the same company compete to gain something more from the company. When conducted properly, having a competition is a good way to boost sales, as well as bring people to their best performance. You get to know those who are willing to work harder, those who do not care at all, and sometimes even those who are willing to cheat. All this information will come pouring down once the competition sets in, and it is with these and not only the sales figures that you can properly decide who gets whatever is at the end of the rainbow — perhaps a monetary incentive, a promotion, or a special contract.
To improve your chances of a success, here are a few tips on how to promote a healthy competition internally:
Provide equal footing. For you to have a good competition, you must first be able to divide the landscape equally. This means that whatever one competitor can use that is provided by the company, the other one should be able to use it also. Whatever time one can perform, the other one could, too. The competition should lie on their ability to use these resources to their advantage, and their strategies to capture the most among the rest. If there is even a hint of leverage that one team has (that is something provided by the company, and not due to personal skills), then there is unfair competition.
Never side too quickly. A healthy competition happens when there is equal distribution of all elements necessary and this includes the leader’s attention. Oftentimes, people have the tendency to quickly favor one party over another based on factors like it’s the underdog, or he/she looks better than the other, this has more experience, and all. However, if you plan on keeping it “healthy,” then it is your responsibility to never side too quickly among the competitors. If you plan on giving tips on how they can increase their sales online, then you have to tell all of your people about it, and not just the team with your favorite salesperson. Who knows, you might just find a new star player coming from the other team. Competitions can bring about a lot of information regarding the participants such as how well they coordinate with each other or how good they strategize.
Be vigilant in keeping track of their performances. As a manager, you are never to decide who is guilty based on mere accusations. When the reward is too appealing, the competition heats up; and when this happens, some people might resort to underhanded tactics to gain competitive advantages. Knowing this, accusations like “he’s lowering prices without authorization,” or “they’re stealing our clients,” are sample statements that are too grave to instantly make decisions on who gets booted.
I’m not telling you to immediately cast doubt toward any negative statements, but rather conduct thorough investigation to see which of them is lying. The accuser could be fabricating stories so the other competitor is sanctioned, in the same way that the accuser could be telling the truth and that the other should be punished. Anyway, as a leader, you must always be impartial toward your people. Be vigilant, expect dirty tricks, and learn how to identify true culprits.
Learn to stop. Sometimes, things turn for the worse. Nothing is working and all good intents are now out of the window. When you see that it’s all bad sportsmanship, backstabbing and personal attacks, destruction of relationships, and everyone just hopes that the other competitor(s) will fail and be humiliated, it’s time to stop everything and call the competition off. Perhaps the next manager is not among your employees who just hid their corrupt side throughout their stay. Do not sacrifice your employees’ good relationships just for a temporary boost in sales through competition. Always note that competitions must be fair, fun, and most of all, rewarding for both the victors and the company.
Ruben Anlacan Jr. is the president and
CEO of BusinessCoach, Inc.