Thursday, November 15, 2012

Losing Sucks

I'm a pretty competitive person. Check that, I'm an ultra-competitive person who loves to win. Second place is fine, for someone else. I want to be on the cutting edge...or at least try as hard as I can to get there. I compete in everything from sports, to ping pong, to battles with myself from workout to workout. I even love to compete in my work.

Wait a minute. At work?

I thought work was supposed to be about everyone being treated equally and feeling engaged, and basically having a giant love-fest with a group hug paycheck at the end of every two weeks. Right?

Wired to Win
From the time I was a small boy I was in an environment filled with sports, training, games, and lots of fun competition. I loved it, and it has clearly been passed down to my children. All of them play competitive sports, some at an extremely high level. We all work out, eat reasonably well, and love to compete. We're wired to win.

But does all of that brainwashing, er....mentoring, prepare us for the reality that in all aspects of life, work and sports included, we more often lose than win?

Corporate Culture and Engagement
It seems a bit odd to me that we try to focus on fairness and equality when the reality is that not all employees, or leaders for that matter, are even remotely their ability to perform. We can all quickly identify our top performers; those team members who can handle major projects, perform under pressure, and make good decisions. You didn't think of everyone in your organization when I mentioned top performers for a very simple reason. There's only a few of them. They are the ones who are winning at work

All employees and leaders are not top performers.

Train to Win
I, like many others, have struggled to get better at various aspects of my job. There are some parts I simply am not as strong at compared to others. The solution => work harder, just like working out at home to get stronger, so you can perform. It is the only way to move from the losing side to the winning side. Whining, complaining, and making excuses blows away your credibility. Train hard...and win.

How About You
Have you recognized that in order to lead effectively you'll need to do some serious introspection and identify your weak spots? Have you started training to make the improvements necessary so you can win; or, are you comfortable jumping into your comfort zone and smiling as you accept your third place trophy?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

photo credit #1  photo credit #2


  1. Whenever I have found myself in leadership positions I have started my setting out the goals that I think the team should be achieving, and then asked the team members for their feedback on the goals before making any changes that the group decide are necessary.
    Next I ask the team what they need from me if they are going to go out and achieve those goals, and I deliver what they ask for.
    Halfway through the task I ask for feedback on my performance as a leader.
    I got this from my favourite quote: 'The forst responsibility of a leader is to define reality, and the last is to say 'thank you'. In between, the leader becomes a servant'. (Max duPre.
    Every team that I have ever been in that has been led like that has exceeded expectations.

    1. Love the strategy...and use of the quote! Great approach.