Collaboration vs. Competition . . . Can companies share a seat at the table or just shelf space?

Recently Paragon Leadership had the privilege of partnering with Ahold,
one of the largest food retailers in the U.S., in developing their first ever
Sustainability Summit.

When interviewing executives from large food manufacturers prior to the
Summit, the one resounding hope communicated was the “collaborating and
committing [of leaders] to specific actions around game changer ideas to help
all of the participating companies thrive while at the same time contribute to
a sustainable environment for all”.

It’s tough to collaborate if you don’t sit at the same table, so on September
28/29 that is exactly what occurred.  Executives from well know brand name
food manufactures checked their competitive spirit and ego at the door and got
to work.  While in small ‘work out’ groups with their peers, Ahold
representatives, and in some cases their direct competitors, the executives came up with “game changer” solutions to complex global issues like hunger relief, childhood obesity and food waste.  Very quickly it became apparent that collaboration can be a healthy, prosperous and lucrative way to engage all parties where everyone wins.  This includes not only the retailer and manufacturer but also the consumer and perhaps most importantly, the world we will leave behind to future generations to come.

What if we could model this same type of collaborative behavior and
spirit at the city, state, and national level?  Perhaps the concept of
‘isles’ (i.e., dividing political lines) would no longer exist outside of those
you find in the grocery store.

Tell us your experiences of how you or your company
has put collaboration into action where it has lead to one of your business’  greatest outcomes.

Janice Krupic (Janice is CEO, Executive Coach and Food/CPG Co-Lead for Paragon Leadership International, a MI headquartered executive coaching and leadership development firm).

For more information about the work Paragon does with Food and Consumer
Product companies and their leaders, or if you are wanting to learn more about
what they have done in support of Supplier Conferences and Summits, please
call/email us at


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