These words were once spoken to me by an executive manager, who became a friend I respect greatly to this day:
I will never forget where the conversation occurred, and how it affected me going forward. They were “stamped” in his memory, and the commentary came straight from the heart:
An organization and specifically a sales team “achieving” these five words can mean great things are currently happening or are coming soon. On the flip side, if any or all or these words are “breached” by team members, well let’s just say things may not go as planned!
I have tried to write something very insightful utilizing these five words for at least four years now, but always have trouble.
I will leave it open to your interpretation.
What do these five words mean to you?
I just know that I get to a very good place in short order when I see those five words all in a row!
I recently watched a lot of the Olympics, and was thinking about this post the other day. Wanted to share it once again!
When I first heard this statement with respect to a professional hockey team’s play, I stopped in my tracks. On the surface, it seems like the same concept spun two different ways. Or is it?
Playing to win exudes confidence. There is nothing that can get in the way of the team and victory. They execute the game plan to perfection, and do whatever it takes to achieve their goals. Mistakes may still happen, but they get back on track in a timely fashion. It is clear in their body language that nothing less than success will be accepted by everyone.
On the other hand, the team playing not to lose exudes tentativeness. Their primary goal is to not make mistakes and look foolish in front of teammates and coaches. In their minds, if they don’t make any mistakes, they should win. On paper that makes sense. Those who follow sports hear this often, but if the other team plays an all round better game, you will still lose. Body language supports the theory that they are just trying not to screw up, and it shows.
Take a moment and step back to think about your current sales or business role. Do you always feel like you are on top of your “game” and nothing can stop you? If you do, congratulations! If we are honest with ourselves, most of us go through phases when we lack confidence and just feel like everything we touch turns in to…. well not gold.
Do you notice when things are going well, mistakes and other challenges in your role do not take as big a tole on you? It seems no matter the size of the setback, you can move past it in record time. Now turn the tables. When things are not going well, and confidence is low, even the little things seem like huge issues. The world seems to be against you, and it is nearly impossible to get out of the funk.
- Are you playing to win, or playing not to lose?
- Are you afraid to make mistakes, and worry how it will look to teammates and management?
- Or do you understand that mistakes happen, learn from them, and move on as quickly as possible?
- Do you approach your role everyday with confidence, a bounce in your step, and the mindset of “I can do this?”
- Or do you plod along as you always have; do the same things that you have always done, and just try not to screw up?
“Playing not to lose” is a career limiting decision (CLD). You will feel safe, and your results may be consistent, but your true potential will not be achieved. If you just sit back and watch, you will witness others getting all the glory!
“Playing to win” is a mindset. The Edmonton Oilers, New York Yankees, New England Patriots & Manchester United have not won all of those champions with the attitude of playing just to survive. Playing to win is imperative in anything that you do. It is an attitude that should make you feel unstoppable throughout your career.
Carol Blair recently spoke at a Toastmasters Leadership Institute event that I attended.
She outlined 5 FANTASTIC leadership goals:
- Pursue purpose with passion
- Practice solid values
- Lead with your heart
- Establish lasting relationships
- Demonstrate self-discipline
- What do you think of this list?
- Would you add anything to it?
If you are an up and coming leader, this is a great list to focus on. If you are a well established leader, hopefully this helps take your “leading-abilities” to the next level.
You can find Carol at:
This is VERY true!
Have a fantastic weekend.
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I never thought being an assistant coach for my son’s six-year-old hockey team would be easy, but there is more to it then I thought!
I have learned many leadership lessons from the experience, and here are my favourites:
- Patience – Many of these kids still sleep with teddy bears. They are very young and their development takes time
- Encouragement – “High-Fives, pats on the back, and a “great job” goes a long way for their confidence
- Focus On The Positive – We tend to focus on what is being done wrong, that we sometimes forget to reward what is being done right
- “Sandwich Method” – Put a suggestion for an area of improvement between two positive comments
- SMILE – Then laugh with them, and make them feel comfortable. It is truly about having fun, developing skills, and learning what it means to be part of a team
As I was writing this, I realized many of these points can be related to managing in the corporate world, or business in general. At least, I thought I could inspire other coaches who may need some new perspective!
If kids are not inspired by their coaches, there are many other activities that they can do these days. Each interaction with them is critical to building that connection.
Is it time to tweak your coaching, managing or general leading philosophies?