Surround Yourself With a Team of Rivals


January 16, 2018

Anyone who knows me understands my love for Rocky movies.  There are so many lessons you can learn from the relationships, one of which is the evolving interaction between Rocky and Apollo Creed.  Originally rivals, over the course of a few years, the two men realize they actually need each other.  Here’s evidence from Rocky III that demonstrates Apollo’s understanding that together, they are stronger.

Rocky: I don’t need this no more. I don’t want this no more.
Apollo: Look, man. When you beat me, I hurt all over, and I didn’t wanna know from nothin’ or nobody, not even my kids. Hell, every fighter knows that hurt, and we get sick inside trying to live with it. So don’t back off now and make it right for yourself or you’ll be sorry you didn’t. We held the greatest title in the whole world, babe. You lost that fight, Rock, for all the wrong reasons. You lost your edge. All right. I know your manager dying had you all messed up inside. But the truth is, you didn’t look hungry. Now, when we fought, you had the eye of the tiger, man. The edge! And now you gotta get back, and the way to get it back is to go back to the beginning. You know what I mean? [laughs] Maybe we can win it back together. Eye of the tiger, man.
Rocky: Why’d you have to come here?
Apollo: I have the plan. Get it back, man.

I’m a sucker for a good team.  My entire career, I’ve loved being a member of a team.  Working for a greater goal and learning from each other are two of the reasons I find being a team member so compelling.  I also enjoy a little drama, or “poking the bear”,  from time to time because it can spur creativity and better performance.  Now, you might think I like teams because I’m an extrovert.  That’s partially true.  I do like the commraderie, but it’s more than that.  I love having a team of rivals.

The first time in my career that I was truly alone (picture the contestants from the TV show Alone where they are dropped in a forest with predators and no weapons, no food, no fire and they have to make it work) was when I started my own analyst firm.  I loved being in charge, making all the tough decisions, pushing myself harder than I ever imagined.  I quickly found, however, that it was lonely, so I rounded up several other independent analysts to partner with me.  Now, did I choose mediocre analysts with dated views?  I did not.  I chose people I deemed as my biggest rivals because ultimately, I knew they would drive me to greater achievement.

The benefits we found were many.  Greater revenue for all, more interesting projects, and sharing resources so that we were not in it alone were a few.  I learned that if you’re on a team where there is no diversity and no one to challenge you, you won’t shine, you’ll fail.  The idea that “having rivals on a team will disrupt things” is correct.  But, it leads to a more calculated approach to the goals and can even push innovation or creativity in ways you’d never expect.

So, think about your team.   Are you all alike?  Is there group-think?  If you answered yes, consider shaking it up and hiring a rival.  You just may surprise yourself with your results!

One Comment

Comments are closed.

Screen Shot 2019-12-01 at 17.20.39

About Trish

A former HR executive and HCM product leader with over 20 years of experience.


Play Video


Play Video

Related posts

I Cried in the Grocery Store: A Story of Soup and Loneliness

I cried in the grocery store. No, it wasn’t over the outrageously high prices that we’re facing post-pandemic. It wasn’t […]

Read More

Delivering Experiences that Serve Employees First- SuccessConnect

I want you to think about something. What are the moments that matter to you at work? I’m certain a […]

Read More

Partner with me


Get in touch today to find out more about how I can help your organization leverage HR and HCM technology to attract, onboard, retain and manage top talent.