Winning at all costs – at what cost?
In sport, it is often said that “winning is everything”, and like many sporting cliches it is often applied in business as well. Business is competitive, so comments like these about winning transfer naturally to a professional business environment.
We all like to win, especially in sales environments. Winning means many important things, no less than eventually being paid. We win business, we transact what we win, our clients pay us. Without winning we don’t get far in business.
Let’s take this cliche one step further: “do what-ever it takes to win”, or “win at all costs”. What about “if you’re not willing to cheat, then you don’t want to win badly enough”? Let’s think about the words here “at all costs”. And if you cheat to win, have you actually won?
In the real world, some win, some lose
For most of us, comments like this are morally challenging, and to some offensive. In the real world, some win, some lose. These concepts start when we are small children. I believe that in the playground competition is good, and some kids have to win and some have to lose. The idea that children should all be winners is very foreign to me. In fact, it sets us up for disappointment in later life.
“Win at all costs” is surely not good business advice. It is totally inflexible, and at worst may cause the inexperienced to hang onto a bad idea for far too long. Competition in business is healthy, and a competitive marketplace forces improvements not only in efficiency, but also in the general quality of the offerings available, at a balanced price.
Healthy competition can improve the standard for all of us, in many ways. But, the “win at all costs” mentality can be destructive. This kind of attitude is counterproductive, there is a selfishness and greediness to it and when played out in the business world can allow many short term gains, but also many longer term loses.
There is a lot more to business than beating the competition. Please don’t get me wrong, without winning we don’t have a business, but it’s how we win that matters. Winning the good will and long term trust of a client is infinitely more important. Give your clients a better, more tailored service than your competitors.
Win, by being the best.
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