One of the characteristics of successful people is that they are usually pretty competitive. I am not any different. You don’t go places in our society unless you have some internal drive that pushes you to get there. Even the bane of our national existence, crony capitalists, are competitive.
Competition is good. It weeds out the chaff.
When working with startup founders, I see competition all the time. Great ones are insanely competitive with a will to win. “I Can I Will I Must”. They live it breathe it and sleep it.
But that should end in the board room.
In the board room, it’s about collegiality. It’s about support. It’s about honest feedback. It’s about creating a board with a diverse set of experiences and networks.
Board members can be competitive if not managed correctly. Yes Ms. and Mr. CEO, you not only have to manage your company but you have to manage your board room too! That goes for advisory boards.
Make sure that you are managing your board and they aren’t managing you. TechStars talks about “mentor whiplash”. You can get board whiplash too. Some of that is not setting the ground rules but some of that is the inherent psychological competitiveness of the people on the board.