THE BLOG

What Does It Mean to "Win" in Business?

03/25/2013 12:09 EDT | Updated 05/25/2013 05:12 EDT
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I did not know a lot about winning when it came to organized sports when I was a kid.

Does this sound familiar to anyone else? "OK, kids, you are going to pick teams. Bob and Sally, you are team captains...start choosing your teams." Bob picks Jim, Sally picks Candace, Bob picks Mary, Sally picks Bart... and on and on it goes. My memory is very clear...finally, there would be me -- all alone in the middle of the field. Eventually, Bob or Sally or whoever was next to pick would say something like ... "OK, we'll take Deri, I guess."

Ouch. It still hurts a little to remember. I wonder how many other young kids have a similar experience with sport. I wonder, is that what it is all about anyway?

Can you lose in one way, and win in a whole other way? What, really, does it mean to win?

My son recently finished his hockey season. It was an interesting year. When we measure it just by goals for and against, his team's wins to loss ratio was high -- on the loss side.

The play-offs were exciting. The parents were pumped and ready to cheer the team to victory. Check out the picture (above) of one very enthusiastic mom, beside whom I was proud to sit at many games. She has spirit, that is for sure!

Play-off Game 1 -- loss; Play-off Game 2 -- loss; just like that, we were out for the season.

I have to admit, I felt bad for the boys. I know they wanted so badly to be able to progress in the play-offs. And, let's face it, winning is better than losing. It just is.

Then I reminded myself of what I will always remember about this -- and every -- hockey season.

It's the smile on Max's face. It's his resilience. No matter what, he continued to be positive and focused on the game that he loved. Never once did he want to give up. Never once did he look for 'blame' for the results his team was achieving. Never once did he lose his joy.

Some of the best times of Max's whole hockey year include just getting out and playing. Isn't that what real 'winning' is all about?

You see, this was not the first year that Max experienced these sort of results with his hockey team. And yet, what stayed true and real, was his love of the sport.

I read an article posted by Joe Calloway titled "Lessons from One Coach and 18 Fifth Grade Girls." In the article, the coach outlines a real lesson in sportsmanship -- and perhaps another definition of what it means to 'win'. The coach's team 'loaned' some players to the opposing team who was short some players for a final game. The results were that the coach's team lost. They lost in terms of points, but won in much more important terms (sportsmanship, losing with grace, playing hard, loving the game).

So, how does this relate to workplaces? Is it OK to lose the sale, as long as we all get along and like each other? I think...yes! And, I think the chance of more sales, more wins, comes when you focus on those other things. On perseverance, on tenacity, on resilience, on positivity, and on possibility. It is very difficult to focus on those things if you are busy beating yourself up for losing, or barely enjoying the victory of winning because it has become a habit for you.

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Office Oasis

Winning is sweeter for those who have a repertoire of 'losing'. It just is.

Jack Welch wrote that "What it Really Takes to Succeed" is authenticity, resilience and humanity, all of which are learned by embracing and owning your record of 'losing'.

I have already established that team sports were not my forte. I do like to work out, however. A couple of my favourite instructors at the 6 a.m. class at Shapes Fitness Centres are Kim and Roxy.

Yup, they are twins. And, this is how they look AFTER their workout!

I, on the other hand, look something like this.

 

Kim and Roxy are both such wonderful, encouraging instructors; always challenging us to keep going, "just one more," "don't give up now, you can do it." They are young, beautiful (inside and out), and very fit. One day, Roxy -- in the middle of a power class (a challenging, weighted workout) said "nice move, Deri."  She said my name; and I noticed. I noticed in a real, tangible, energy-inducing way. I felt a bit more spring in my step, pump in my bicep, I felt stronger, and I know I smiled a little too. In fact, I smiled for a lot of that day, and several days after (even right now).

I know -- it seems like such a little thing. Yet, it meant a lot to this 52-year-old woman, for whom sports has always been a challenge.

It also made me wonder...what a difference that might have made to the eight-year-old who was mostly picked last to play on the team. What difference might it make to notice the one nice move, versus noticing the many missed moves?

So, notice the small things that people say and do today. That simple smile, that energized input into a team meeting, the few moments taken to share something important with you. Notice it -- and appreciate it (inwardly and outwardly). You have no idea what kind of an impact you might make on someone else's day -- and destiny. You'll absolutely have an impact on yours!