The Thing About Winning

Take a venture into the meeting rooms of many American businesses, from startups to the well established and everywhere in between, and it is likely that you’ll hear similarities in the language being used. A specific word you might hear is winning. This word currently sits towards the top of the Billboard Top 100 Buzzwords list. Making a sale = win. Beating a competitor = win.

While it may seem like a motivator, a cool way to get the team on board, and be a pathway to that hip company culture we all want to achieve, we see a couple of sizeable issues with this simple phrasing:

  1. It builds a mindset towards your clients that is rooted in your client being something you win rather than being a person or group that you form a relationship with. The latter of these gives you the opportunity to grow with your client, to form a mutually beneficial relationship. Looking at it as a win mean you’re going to have to go up and win again the next week, and then the next, and the next to sustain the relationship. If we take a quick look at sports we know the even the very best teams rarely if ever go without taking losses. When you look at successful partnerships, wins and losses aren’t tallied; the pairing continually moves forward, together.
  2. Is it possible for us to set the bar for our business at higher than winning? When the goal is always just to finish ahead of the other guy that objective becomes good enough. Why not set the bar higher than that? Why not just remove the bar? This adjustment in mindset opens you to new possibilities and instead of focusing on how you can win the figurative game you have the opportunity to fundamentally change the way the game is played.

Many companies find themselves trying to operate like sleek, nimble startups. While workplace semantics can seem like a surefire path to being on the right side of the culture world, buzzwords such as WIN do little to enforce and can even be detrimental to the service we deliver to our customers. Instead, can you let your service, and the way you work better define your culture?