“Calamities are of two kinds,” according to writer Ambrose Bierce, “misfortune to ourselves, and good fortune to others.” If you can understand that one thought, you will have a good handle on one of the prickly truths of human existence, something that carries over into the zero-sum view of many individuals and organizations. It is not enough to do well; the other fellow must also do poorly. Whether it is wrestling for perceived advantage on some personal level or part of a scenario where different organizations compete for the same funding source, too often we miss out on real opportunities in the rush for what we think is most important. In economic parlance, we spend our time stepping over dollars to pick up nickels.
I’ve been looking through grant applications this morning, thinking about competition and cooperation, wondering whether there is a “correct” ratio of the two. Whether one is more likely to be innovative than the other and which is best suited to getting results. It is important to remember, yet all too often forgotten, that the message is more important than the messenger.
It is Thursday morning and it is going to be a good day.