A while back I went with one of my sons to his indoor rock climbing competition. I've attended many of these events, and I've always been struck by the special vibe that accompanies them.
The rock climbing gym was buzzing with the energy of athletes of all ages, as they prepared for some really intense competition. The buzz is not unlike what you would find at most weekend athletic tournaments that parents bring their children to, but I have found that rock climbing competitions have a unique culture and atmosphere.
Whenever someone takes on a climb, the whole gym yells with encouragement and cheers him or her on. And by everyone, I mean everyone: coaches, parents, and competitors from different climbing gyms.
It goes further. After my son completed his first attempt at a particular climb, he was approached by an opponent from a different gym. He gave my son a few pointers on how to tackle the climb differently on his next try.
Imagine that—opponents not only cheering for one another but also coaching each other to perform at their personal best.
Then it hit me: In indoor rock climbing, the competition isn't between the climbers. The competition is the climb itself. It's the obstacle that everyone is trying to defeat. There are still winners and losers, but that's based on skill and talent, and not necessarily vanquishing an opponent.
A lot of the organizations I work with could use a little more of this spirit. I've seen a lot of organizations ...