When I was being interviewed for my job by my Creative Director, he used an interesting analogy to explain to me the culture of healthy competition amongst his design team.
In much the same way that a Striker needs to earn his place in his football team each week by consistently scoring goals, I was expected to repay my faith in the manager by ‘scoring’ myself - or to put it in design terms - getting design routes in front of the client.
Relating this analogy to Manchester United (which I didn’t mind in the slightest being a United fan - he knew his audience), my Creative Director (a Chelsea fan, strangely enough - he knows his place) explained that he expected me to be the ‘Rooney’ of the company, scoring goals to keep my place in the team and to win matches. Fighting off competition from the other designers (Berbatov, Hernandez, Wellbeck) to score the goals that keep me in the team.
This works for me because I want to be playing every week, getting paid to do a job I love (if not in quite the same pay bracket). So to make sure this continues, I need to be scoring. In fact, one of the most rewarding aspects of my job is to score - its why I’m playing - so there is enough motivation on my part.
This also works for the manager because ultimately, it doesn’t really matter to him who scores, as long as the goals are being scored that are winning games. It’s (literally, in my Creative Director’s case) his name on the door. As long as goals are being scored and matches being won then everyone wins. I keep my place on the team and the team gains respect and praise from peers and fans alike.
Now that the milk from that metaphor has literally been rung dry, I do think it’s a good way of saying that a bit of healthy competition in a design studio’s team is good for the individual and the company overall. It can help produce the best results and improve the development and talent of the individual.
As for me, I scored on my debut and have been playing ever since - motivated enough to not only want to push my own development as a young designer but also that of a young company with a bright future.