Strengths in Action - Competing in the workplace

By Assessment Consultant Jamie Marsh

Surely, there is no real point in doing something if you aren't trying to win, succeed, or achieve something, right?

So, what is the first thing that comes to mind, when you imagine someone you work with to have a top-Strength in 'Competitive'

My assumption is that there were images of people battling each other for a promotion, or colleagues fighting for recognition for a job well-done. Perhaps it's all about salaries, and trying to earn more money than those around them. Or, at a push, its the desire to always win - the desire to always be right - the desire to always come out on top.

My top-Strength is Competitive. I am, by nature, an instinctive sportsperson who takes the field with a focus on one thing - winning!

"You win some, you lose some..." was the mantra of my Dad, who, the same as me, grew up wanting to reign supreme at everything from a coin-toss to a big final.

But being competitive can mean something deeper. Something more productive than a desire to succeed over an opponent. Something with real value in the workplace.

My Strength in Competitive is utilized in a way that ensures whatever I work on is successful. Consider it a side-step from Strengths such as Drive and Delivery. Perhaps most uniquely, I am often competing with myself - pushing to make things more creative, or making my next piece of work the best yet.

It is that motivation that makes my role at Capp a perfect fit for me. I am not bound by the constraints of a routine role that challenges only my ability to repeat processes in a systematic fashion. Instead, I am challenged with a variety of projects, tasks and nuances that keep me learning new things - and with that comes my Competitive-edge.

Equally important as a 'competitor', is the ability to appreciate someone who is completely turned-off by the thought of doing battle. It's almost always a Marmite-like scenario. Unlike in the sporting arena where you can fairly assume most are trying to succeed at your expense, the workplace is gentle, and fragile in comparison.

In the workplace, I have learned that by being Competitive, victories are when a piece of work is delivered perfectly, or exactly to the client spec. A victory is when we pull together to develop a new assessment tool or platform, and it quickly becomes globally market leading.

At Capp, you won't see people treading on each other to achieve their next promotion, or seeking praise. You won't experience a dirty-tackle, or a subtle instance of cheating at your expense. But what you will see is a collection of people, each with their own Strengths, combining to match people to their ideal role. Their perfect job.

I understand how competition can be deemed at work, particularly given my life-long exposure to the tears and tantrums that sport has brought me over the years. So harnessing this in a way that not only helps Capp, but keeps me on my own toes, can only be a positive.

One final note - if you could please share this piece, I'm competing for the most viewed Capp Strengths blog yet...