No one is saying competitive narratives are bad. Competitive narratives are only “bad” when they prevent collaboration, diversity of thought, and collective survival. When a meeting feels like a rugby match, that’s your clue that competitive narratives have well and truly jumped the shark. The delicate work of weaving seemingly oppositional narratives into a bigger picture is experienced as “giving in” or worse, “losing.”
When I wrote the book Territorial Games I focused primarily on identifying how conflicts sabotage collective progress. Playing work like it was a game with clear winners and losers meant collaborators who chose to risk the vulnerability of saying “i’m not sure” or “lets hear other’s ideas” looked weak to a competitive player seeking to control conversations.
When the culture only rewards winners if fails to reward connectors. See connectors can’t predict which connections will spark innovations. Connectors have faith in the spirit of collaboration. Competitors limit their faith in others when they think of everyone outside their circle as competition.