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Why Coffee Breaks and Collaboration Win Over Competition

Why Coffee Breaks and Collaboration Win Over Competition


Pop quiz: Name your company’s top three sales people.

Now, think about how important they are to your company, and about how you reward high achievement. Chances are you see them as very important, and reward them accordingly, setting them up as the benchmark others in the organization should try to reach.

Margaret Heffernan, former CEO of five businesses and author of the management book Willful Blindness, says that kind of pecking order organization is actually hurting performance in the workplace.

Individual high achievers often get there by bringing others down, she says, while groups that get to know each other, with enough comfort to be honest and candid, have the potential to create the greatest new ideas.(Click to Tweet)

“What matters is the mortar, not just the bricks,” she says, referring to the connections between people. “Companies don’t have ideas. Only people have ideas.”

Which of the suggestions from her TEDTalk can you implement to help build social capital in your organization?

Along with the more informal connections Heffernan says companies should foster, formal communication such as service level agreements between sales and marketing help prevent the us vs. them mentality and encourage greater collaboration.

Is your company already leaning away from the “super-chicken” model toward that of creating a healthy flock? What steps have you taken to increase and improve relationships between employees? Or what do you wish your company would do?


We’d love to hear your ideas.


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