“Last one into the house is a rotten egg!”

Making ordinary tasks into competitions can be a powerful way to motivate behavior.

But it also turns should-be teammates into rivals, and bifurcates your group into winners and losers. Which means there’s a significant downside risk to your culture–particularly if we’re talking about families.

Nothing wrong with healthy competition! But an overly competitive culture can be a nightmare of bitterness, insecurity, and hostility. If winning (or worse–not losing) becomes too important, even your ethics will be at risk as lack of cooperation and cheating become incentivized.

So, foster team. Celebrate one another’s victories. Genuinely grieve together when there’s a defeat (without catastrophizing). Reward cooperation. Generously share. It may feel like “losing” in the short term, but the return on investment will ultimately pay off.