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Web-Thinking: The Better Way To Win
By Dr. Linda Seger

Competition. We grew up with it. We were told this is the way things were, are, and will be. But in the last twenty or thirty years, a new business model has emerged which some call "web-thinking." Like the World Wide Web and the spider web, it's an image of connection rather than competition. And, like the Internet, many believe it has a better possibility of bringing us success in our business.

Web-thinking grew out of an observed problem which many people noticed as they were entering management and entrepreneurial positions. They saw the problems that a rat race mentality could cause: stress, heart attacks, and broken families. This can lead to dishonest business practices and bullying to keep control and stay ahead of the game. It can lead to trying to destroy the competition, and eventually destroying one's own business in the process. There is a folk saying: "the teeth of the wolf determines the fleetness of the deer." Some believe we only accomplish something when we're pushed and threatened. It was presumed that this was the only way to succeed, but many people questioned whether that was true, and questioned the costs.

Collaboration
The web-thinking model is being used, in one way or another, in virtually every discipline from biology, to theology, to music, to psychology. Many began to believe that our world was not ruled by survival of the fittest, but survival of the co-operators. In the film industry, many of the most successful writers and directors are known as also the most collaborative: Steven Spielberg, Meryl Streep, Ron Howard, and the geniuses behind Pixar. In an interview, Academy award winner Ron Howard said that through the years he had become a more collaborative director; it would make no sense to work with the best people in the business and not to listen to their ideas.

Game theorists discovered that those who co-operated won more often than those who competed. Why would the connectors win more often? Because collaborators help each other, send clients to each other, share information and resources. They are constantly nurturing each other's businesses. It's said that if you step on everyone's fingers and toes on the way up the ladder, there's no one to catch you when you fall.

Web-thinking is based on teamwork. Yes, there's still a goal, but no one is sabotaging it, everyone is heading in the same direction and contributing their skills and talents to the final product.

Exchange of Information
In web-thinking, there's an exchange of information between the team. Web-thinkers focus on uniqueness, which can't be ranked, rather than imitation. Web-thinkers see their contributions within a larger picture, recognizing nothing is ever accomplished by one person alone. They connect for success. Once the energy of connections begins, it begins to take on a synergy. Synergy can be defined as the way of working together where the total effect is greater than the sum of two or more of its parts. Once synergy is generated and everyone begins to work together, energy moves out becoming greater than anything any one person can do.

Linear thinkers try to preserve the status quo. The hierarchical boss guards and
clings to his position, even though everything may be telling him that something doesn't work. This rigidity leads to arrested development and inflexible behavior. But life and business keep moving and changing around him, and his company fails because he doesn't respond.

Flexibility
Web thinkers are flexible thinkers. They recognize that the way our business world works is not stable and non-dynamic, but always in flux. The world around us is constantly changing, and the flexible thinker is able to move with the change. Like a spider web responding to the pressure of the wind, we move within the dynamic give-and-take of progress.

At this time in our history, some say that linear thinking may be considered to be the better way, but this will not last. Scientist Lynn Margulis says, "In the end, life is much less a competitive struggle for survival than a triumph of cooperation and creativity. Indeed, since the creation of the first nucleated cells, evolution has proceeded through ever more intricate arrangements of cooperation."

Tim Berners-Lee, the creator of the World Wide Web, said "The vision I have for the Web is about anything being potentially connected with anything...[I had] a growing realization that there was a power in arranging ideas in an unconstrained web-like way...I liked the idea that a piece of information is really defined only by what it's related to, and how it's related. There really is little else to meaning. What matters is the connections." The same is true of web-thinkers; connections are what matter.

Web-thinking recognizes that both the spider web and the World Wide Web is a metaphor for the thinking of the future: we don't compete; we connect.

About the Author:
Dr. Linda Seger is an internationally known script consultant, keynote speaker, and seminar leader. She has had her own business since 1981, and credits her success to Web-Thinking. She has given speeches and seminars in 32 countries around the world. She's the author of 12 books including Spiritual Steps on the Way to Success: gaining the goal without losing your soul, and Web-Thinking: Connecting not Competing for Success (which will be re-released in February, 2011 as The Better Way to Win: Connecting not Competing for Success.). For more information, see www.lindaseger.com.
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