Competitor or collaborator – which do you choose?


Earlier this month, I shared about my incredible experience at the MG 100 community event. One of my favorite habits at a Marshall event is after every break, you change seats. At a full day event, you will sit next to at least a half a dozen different people throughout the day. Clearly, he appreciates creating connections. And he did.


One of the reasons the experience was so great was because of all the people I connected and reconnected with and how they inspired me. I will tell you about all the thought provoking encounters over the next few months, starting today.


I got to sit next to James Downing, the President and CEO at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. I think the whole world knows the amazing work they do, but if you don’t, you can check out when they were my charity spotlight last year.


James and I chatted away during the activities. I shared that my dad sends them a check every month and I commented that they have done an amazing job at building partnerships. I feel like I am asked at every checkout line if I would like to donate a dollar to St. Jude.


He smiled, leaned over, almost secretively and said, “You wouldn’t believe what it took to get the board to agree to that approach!”


I looked completely confused and asked, “Why would anybody not want to do that?” He explained the philosophy of a board that had been together for 20 plus years. Their view was, “We are the biggest, we are the best, and were the only.” They said, “These other organizations are going to try and profit off our partnership.”


Fortunately, James had the ability to shift their thinking from competition and scarcity to a mindset of abundance and collaboration where everybody wins, especially the kids. When he started, the survival rate for kids with cancer was only 20%.


I believe this collaborative mindset has contributed significantly to advancements in research and the vastly improved survival rates, now standing at 80%. However, there’s still work to be done, as one in every five children who enter St. Jude’s doesn’t survive.

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