At Awards International, we love winning and we love winners.
It’s what we’ve been celebrating at our business awards for over a decade. It’s at the heart of what we do.
The pictures in our Hall of Fame are a testament to the positivity and joy we can share in the world through healthy competition and the promotion of a winning mentality.
For some time, however, I’ve been considering the concept in greater detail. Over the course of my career, I’ve acquired certain core beliefs about winning. As such, I want to spend a bit of time each month writing this blog and developing my own ideas.
The idea is that each month, the blog will start with a quote – a concise summary of my ideas – after which I’ll explain in more detail what the quote really meant.
So, without further ado, here is the first quote – and the first blog!
‘Winning Should Mean Win-Win’
What do I mean by this?
Well, I mean we should look past some popular misconceptions about winning that belong in the 1980s, and come up with a newer, better definition of winning.
Some people would like you to believe that life is a zero-sum game, and that one person winning must mean someone else losing.
I don’t think life works that way.
Your success doesn’t have to mean someone else’s misery; in fact, it’s entirely possible to succeed without dragging others down.
Win-Win Means Listening to Others
It’s vital to listen to others and appreciate their perspective so you can find a solution that works for everyone.
For instance, I might have a fantastic idea that I can’t wait to share with my team – but if I only ask them what they thought of it within a group context, people will be more reluctant to voice their concerns.
That’s why I always talk to staff individually to get the full picture. Only then will I know if my decision is a ‘win-win’, or whether there are some unforeseen downsides for my staff.
I guess the take-home message is this: stay connected to those around you, and don’t just live in your own blinkered world.
But how does this idea relate to winning? Isn’t winning just getting your own way?
By a narrow definition of the word, yes. But even if you’re someone who loves to win, it doesn’t make sense to pursue your own self-interest no matter the cost. In fact, doing so may end up harming your own interests.
Case in Point – Michael Skhreli
Michael Skhreli wanted to be rich. He wanted it really bad. So much, in fact, that he didn’t care who he had to exploit to get it.
Looking to make a quick buck, he bought the manufacturing license for Daraprim – a drug that many people need to survive on a daily basis.
He thought it would be a ‘winning idea’ to multiply its price 56 times, from $13 to $750 a pill. His face, printed in newspapers worldwide, seemed to scream: ‘I don’t need you to like me.’
Such brazen arrogance astonished the media. His glee was shocking. Many people wanted to see him brought down just because of the pleasure he derived from the misfortune of others.
And so, in March 2018, Skhreli received a seven-year prison sentence. He admitted that his flamboyant attitude and cavalier comments had attracted the attention of law enforcement officials, and that gloating about a ‘win-lose’ scenario helped bring about the waves of investigation that ultimately led to his arrest and imprisonment.
There are two morals to this story:
- Always play the long game.
- Even if you hold huge power over something, that doesn’t mean you should use it.
Short and Long-Term Wins
I bring up the case of Michael Skhreli because his attitude exemplifies the critical difference between winning in the short and long term.
Short term winners think only about what benefits them. They don’t really care if their decisions harm others, and some – like Skhreli – seem to actively enjoy that side of it.
But their short-termism will get the better of them in the end. Their victory won’t taste as sweet because it won’t last as long.
Long-term winners think about win-win. They think about the impacts of their decisions on others, for two main reasons:
- They’re good people who don’t want their success to come at the expense of others
- They’re smart enough to know that following a ‘win-win’ approach actually makes the most sense in the long term.
So What is Winning?
That’s a tough question to answer in a single blog post!
Over the course of this series, I’m looking to develop a real philosophy of winning, by unpacking various ideas relating to a winning mindset.
For now I can say that I think winning is not about selfishness. It’s not about barging everyone else out of the way.
It’s about striving to be the best at what you do. That means being considerate to others. And working through others – which is what next month’s blog will be about.
About the Author
Neil Skehel founded Awards International in 2008. Since then, he’s been dedicated to creating amazing awards experiences around the world.