Five Reasons Why You Should Help Your Frenemies

Posted 03.13.2013

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?