NOTE: portions of this blog were published in February, 2016. Given the recent events and our current political environment, I have updated content and believe this message more relevant now than ever.
There’s a lot of talk these days about “winning.” Donald Trump is good example of someone obsessed with winning. Charlie Sheen notoriously described winning as: “It takes zeal, passion and violent hatred to win.”
Yet every sports team wants to win. And every business wants to be successful.
The question is, to what extent will they go to win?
I can’t help but think about the political and organizational leaders who are so intent on winning – at all costs, that those of us who do not agree or questions motives are labeled as losers, obstructionists and crybabies.
For these people, being a “winner” can translate to making decisions that bully others, decisions that satisfy their incessant need to be right or save face at any cost. To them, winning means having others bend to their way… just because.
This is nothing new, though…
There is a video that provided a retro perspective of the Challenger Disaster 30 years ago. NASA and other organizational leaders were so obsessed with “winning” the space game and felt so invincible, that they didn’t expect anything to go wrong, despite massive evidence of the faulty O-ring and ignoring the urgent advice of the engineers to postpone the takeoff. You can watch that video here.
Lance Armstrong, who won the Tours de France 7 consecutive times, whose drug abuse and illicit blood transfusions created a phony empire of wealth, adulation and power that had to be protected at all costs is now being sued for over $100 million. It is said that the myth was so lucrative that suppressing the truth required an endless behind-the-scenes campaign to bully and intimidate people into silence.
More recently, Wells Fargo is under investigation by the Department of Justice and the SEC for over 3 million false accounts that were opened in customers’ names over a 4 year time period so people would meet their sales goals. More than 5500 people have lost their jobs. The damage is in the billions.
So what do these examples have in common? It’s not just the need to be a “winner.” It’s about greed, the need to be right, cover-ups, intimidation and dominating through fear.
Somehow, being a winner doesn’t sound all that good to me.
I’m going to suggest that being a real the winner in 2017 and beyond will have a totally new definition. It will not be based on “violent hatred ” insulting the intelligence or contribution of people who get in the way, or allowing blind passion, narcissism and zealotry to rule. Being a leader isn’t about strong-arming by pure force of will or intimidation.
Instead, the real winners will be the collaborators. The people who are searching for truth; searching for solutions that contribute to the greater good. Real winners listen. Real winners empower people to use their skills and abilities and encourage them to find ways to make a difference. Real winners create a purpose and vision that aligns people, rather than divides. Real winners do what’s best for their organization and communities.
So I ask you – how can you be a leader now? How can you stop the craziness that you experience in your everyday world? We’re all exposed to the zealots and haters – the question is: do you ignore it? Do you do your best to model a different way? Are you speaking up to make sure your voice is heard?
Be the Change.
Marty Stanley, CSP, is a catalyst for change. She speaks, writes and consults on how to create a collaborative vision for the future and put the action steps in place that are empowering, regenerating and sustainable. It’s time to Be the Change. Call Marty today: 858-432-6764 or 816-695-5453 firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information on being a Type T leader, watch this 1 minute video.
Or order the book on How to Be a Transformational Leader in a Bottom-Line World.