When you think about competition, what usually comes to mind? Is it a college football game? The Settlers of Catan board game? Isos successfully competing for #1 on Atlassian Solution Partners (sorry that I'm not sorry for the shameless plug)? Winning the prom date over your high school nemesis (still hurts, doesn't it, Nick)?
What I believe most understand is that competition drives progress. We all compete for something or someone. It's how we're wired.
So, if competition = progress, shall we play a game? This was going to be my very first blog post at Isos. And, without competition, you wouldn't have been able to enjoy reading these words. We have a lot of extremely talented and intelligent individuals at Isos who have very valuable information to share with the masses. In an effort to unleash the truth, Isos decided a competition would fire up the writing juices. Isos simply created an environment that encouraged its employees to compete for who can write the most thought-provoking blog, and I sincerely believe I'm going to take the crown with this one.
Are you having trouble getting your employees or teams to participate in an activity or event? Then, turn it into a team competition, where there exists accountability, pressure, and eventually progress. Nothing breeds progress more than giving the opportunity to compete over something. And the insidious part about it is that it doesn't matter what the game is. It could literally be anything and people will fight over who's the best, regardless of how minuscule the objective is.
Organizations don't need 10-day business courses on how to motivate their employees or bring in an inspirational coach to get people to hit "numbers". Simply create an environment that sparks a healthy interest in competing and align the "games" with your organizational goals. BAM! Let human nature take its course.