Five Reasons Why You Should Help Your Frenemies March 13 2013

woods-strickerSo, back in 2009, I wrote a post about how I wasn’t going to blog anymore about Tiger Woods. This post isn’t really about Tiger but he’s involved in the story behind it.

Last week, Woods won the Cadillac Championship tournament at Doral. Good news for him but not the most interesting part of the story. The interesting part is that the pro Steve Stricker gave Woods a 45 minute putting lesson the night before the tournament started. As a result of Stricker’s coaching, Woods had his lowest number of putts ever in a tournament with his win at Doral. Stricker finished second. On a related note, Woods stopped early in the tournament to give some impromptu coaching to his fellow Nike endorser, Rory McIlroy, who has been struggling lately. After the session with Woods, McIlroy went eleven under par over the next 30 holes of play. He finished tied for eighth.

Why would any of these guys give or take lessons from each other when they’re all out there to win? They offer some interesting lessons on why it may make sense to help your “frenemies” and why the benefits of “coopetition” might just extend beyond professional golf to what you do in your own competitive environment.

Here are five of them.

One, they recognize that it’s their own performance that ultimately matters. It’s an act of confidence to help a colleague. It says, “I’m confident enough in my own game that I’ll offer you useful coaching and help you with yours.”

Two, you learn more by teaching and coaching. By offering help to others, these players are likely reinforcing and developing insights that can help them with their own games.

Three, these guys are confident enough to accept help from a colleague they know and respect. That builds trust and makes the work of the game more fun.

Four, they recognize an opportunity to make the professional game better and more interesting.

Five, when that happens, they all get richer because more fans tune in and more sponsors sign on. In other words, they grow the size of the pie they’re sharing. For instance, a lot of pro golfers got a lot richer once Tiger started drawing more eyeballs to the game.

When is it in your mutual interest to help a frenemy? What other reasons would you offer on why it’s smart to engage in a little coopetition? When should you absolutely not?

4 Responses to “Five Reasons Why You Should Help Your Frenemies”

  1. Really insightful post, Scott. I'm especially taken by your point 5. Too often we believe the size of the pie is limited and we win only by grabbing more of it for ourselves. I've seen it in too many situations to not accept it as a basic premise of human existence that it is possible for everyone to do better by working together. Make the pie bigger. If the response is "It can't be done", that's just a lack of courage or failure of imagination.

  2. Mike says:

    I love the post .
    I really do.
    The message is right on target.
    Slight correction.
    Rory McIlroy

  3. pmleadershipblog says:

    Great article!

  4. Denver M. Lane says:

    Thank you for the post Scott. It's a short read (I like that) and right on the money.
    To answer your question(s) I think you should always help a frenemy unless they give you reason not to.
    Just like personal relationships, business relationships are built on trust. Sharing of knowledge strengthens that bond. Unless your trust is somehow betrayed, you should always be willing to help.
    Also, to add to your five points is the incredible power of networking. In business I don't believe there are many more valuable skills. Networking well does not happen without bringing value to the table.
    Thanks again.

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