Reprinted by permission of the publisher, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., from Collaborate!: The Art of We, by Dan Sanker. Copyright (c) 2012 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All rights reserved.None of us is as good as all of us. -- Ray Kroc We have become accustomed to the idea of winning through fierce competition. Simple concept: if you do something better than someone else, you win their market share. You eat their lunch. Collaborating with "competitors" is outside of our comfort zone; it seems alien and self-defeating. It feels as if we are helping "them" beat us at our own game. We know successful competitors to be those who invest time, effort, and resources to win as big a piece of the pie as possible. The traditional wisdom holds that it is worth investing in these things to beat the competition, but the transaction costs of competing are high; higher than many realize. As traditional competitive business practices have evolved and spread deeper and wider throughout the world, and as new technology has made all competitors knowledgeable, there are diminishing marginal benefits available for the winners. The cost of stealing crumbs back and forth between competitors barely justifies the process as it whittles away at the small margin that does still exist. In many instances, collaboration will give us a greater return on our investment.