The following story is authentic, and concerns the board of a large industrial concern. Globalisation was on the agenda, in the shape of a proposed alliance with another concern, an old rival. The discussion  was lively, the various points of view crossed swords. Finally, the President of the board suggested that, as a strategic necessity, time should be taken to study the proposed alliance in more detail. At this point, one of the members of the board took the floor and suggested that a short test should be carried out to try the ability of the concern to enter into an alliance. He turned to his neighbour and placed his elbow on the table with his arm bent and his palm open upwards, as if preparing for a bout of arm-wrestling. "This is the game", he explained, "the winner, or winners, are those who can touch the shoulder of their partners the greatest number of times". Somewhat surprised, the members of the board began the exercise, unwillingly at first, then with enthusiasm. They flexed their muscles, but the encounters remained friendly. After a while, the contestants turned to face their instructor. Casting a disapproving eye on the winners, who were puffing with the exertion, he announced that the real winners were two board members who, instead of striving against each other, had without effort and with considerable enjoyment used the solid pivot of their locked elbows to make rapid to-and-fro movements from the shoulder of one to the shoulder of the other. The same rules applied to all, but most of the contestants had chosen to interpret them as a struggle between two people, with a victor and a loser. Few had seen the possibility of an alliance and shared victory. The rules of the game allowed for both positions: "The winner, or winners, are those who can touch the shoulder of their partners the greatest number of times. These are the victors". Those who had chosen to form an alliance had combined their strengths and had won without effort.

Many leaders of companies have done this test, and in the majority of cases the contestants choose confrontation. On each occasion, though there are a few who move their forearms in unison from one shoulder to the other. The possibility of cooperating without changing the rules of the game always seems to come as a surprise.