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That which isn’t good for the hive, isn’t good for the bee

Sanne Visser

As a child at school, I thrived on getting gold star stickers. As an adult, I strived for excellent performance reviews and employee of the month recognition. Add to that external recognition like the Rising Star award I won back in 2018, and I was in heaven. However, I have come to realise how damaging these (old) competitive and hierarchical structures are. Especially within teams that rely on working well together. So I have decided to recover from my love for gold stickers.

Here’s what I want to explain to you: Competition doesn’t deliver what you think it does. Rarely does competition enhance collaboration or mutuality, but it does reinforce siloes and restricts the flow of information.

Let’s also discuss why the following ideas don’t work well for the hive:

  • Someone has to ‘run the hive’ and tell us what to do.
  • If competition disappears, won’t people stop doing stuff?
  • I like the organisation setting clear goals for me to work on so that I can easily tell if I’m successful.

As a recovering gold-sticker-addict, I’ll share how my thinking on these topics has changed. We are all bound up in this thing called software development together and these old structures hurt us, it’s time to dismantle them. Let’s build some excellent beehives instead.


  • Competition doesn’t deliver what you think it does. 
  • Working well together requires dismantling competitive and hierarchical structures. 
  • How to recover from gold-star addiction and what to do instead.