Competition is good. That is what I learned as the San Francisco Giants took on the Detroit Tigers for the World Series. As you already know, the Giants swept the Tigers, beating them in four games. The win was bittersweet. You see, I live in San Francisco, but the rest of the Snips staff, and our parent company BNP Media, is based in Troy, Mich., just north of Detroit.

On the day of the first World Series game, I received an email from my publisher Sally Fraser. Sally said that she would be rooting for the Tigers and was hoping I would get their support as well since I had ties to good old Detroit. I had to tell her that I’d be cheering on my new home team. I watched every game in anticipation, and I’m sure Sally and the rest of BNP Media was doing the same.

The excitement for two rival teams got me thinking about rivalry in the HVAC and sheet metal industry. When there is something at stake, we are more motivated. If we know that there is a positive outcome at the end of our challenge, we will put more effort into what we are doing. I think this is something to remember if you are a contractor and need to give your technicians and your employees a push. For the past 10 years, I’ve talked to contractors of all stripes. And it seems to me that the ones who foster a sense of friendly competition among employees have the best results. You may want to think about creating competition with your own staff.

There are several ways you can do this. Challenge your sales team to see who can sell the most energy efficient HVAC systems. Whoever sells the most in a six-month period gets a paid vacation day or cash prize. You can even do gift certificates or lunch in their honor. This same challenge can be done for technicians. Give a prize to the tech with the most positive customer feedback. You could even have a prize for the technician who adds on the most to a service call.

If you don’t want to pit your employees against one another, get them to work together. A great example of this is with safety. If your staff can go six months or a year without a loss-time accident, give them an award. Take them all out to dinner or maybe get them all tickets to a sporting event. These motivators are not just about the prize, but the pride that comes from winning.

While I feel bad that my co-workers had to see their Tigers end their run in defeat, I’m very proud of my San Francisco Giants. Up next, football season. Perhaps we will see a 49ers and Detroit Lions Super Bowl. But if not, keep looking at ways you can get your company competing towards better results.