Why winning is the name of the game

Why winning is the name of the game

Anyone who follows sports know the famous quote by Vince Lombardi: “Winning isn’t everything; it’s the only thing.” Lombardi claimed to have been misquoted. What he intended to say was, “Winning isn’t everything. The will to win is the only thing.” Either way, leaders who understand how to inspire their teams almost always perform better than their peers. 

During numerous CEO interviews for my forthcoming book on hospitality leadership one theme keeps coming up: winning is an integral part of business strategy. The best companies and leaders have a clear sense of winning and losing, know how to keep score and demand flawless execution. 

How can you establish a winning culture within your organization? Follow these suggestions:

  • Establish a purpose that employees understand and gravitate towards. Connect emotionally, not just intellectually.
  • Craft a set of values that you and others will live by. Be honest about what you stand for; don’t pretend, as employees can see a phony from a mile away.
  • Decide what business you are really in (and what makes you different from the rest).
  • Create a strategy that is based on the above. (How are we going to get there?)
  • Develop a human capital plan that puts the best talent in a position to succeed. Motivate winning behavior.
  • Put a set of metrics in place to measure success or failure. Be willing to make the tough choices.
  • Repeat the process to keep it fresh and your team engaged.
As Lombardi also said, “Winning is contagious, but so is losing.” It is the responsibility of leaders to understand the basic human desire to win, to give purpose to one’s life. Those that succeed in this will be quoted long after they pass on.