I learn fabulous things at every conference. I always come away inspired
with new perspectives and greater understanding. (Secretly I suspect my
clients are some of the best and brightest people on the planet.) That was
certainly the case recently in Atlanta, working with a group of dynamic AT&T
As we debriefed a leadership exercise, “Pete” (a real nickname) said
something quite profound. It resonated with me because I have been thinking
about this a lot. He said, “This leadership experience has reminded me that
I must “play to win” instead of “playing not to lose.” While I let that sink
in, let me add a little shout out to Pete, “BRAVO! And, thanks.”
These are strange and volatile times. Every day we hear news of “giants
shrinking,” layoffs, shutdowns, and the new “phenom” – corporate bailouts.
In the wake of all that confusion, organizations and their employees often
batten down the hatches, hold on for dear life, and keep their heads down.
That is playing not to lose.
I encourage you to play to win, and here are three ways to do exactly that.
1. Be informed, not afraid. That includes knowing when to turn off the
news and tune into positive messages. What are you listening to, reading,
and thinking about? It is important to be informed. Obsessing is not
helpful, and obsessing about things you can’t control is paralyzing. That
brings us to the second tip.
2. Focus on the actions you can take, the decisions you can make, and
the impact you can have. Worry and fear are exhausting. There is no return
on the investment of worry or fear! Stop worrying and take positive action.
Look the worst case scenario squarely in the eye. Then make a list of the
things you can do to move closer to your goal. Honestly, we need to think
more about what we want and less about what we are afraid of. I dare
you.double dare you to try that for one week. (Then drop me a line and tell
me how it turned out.)
3. Increase your value. Look for ways to become more of a resource and
make it easier for people to do business with you. Think of the power in
that. What would happen if we stopped bracing ourselves for the worst and
started looking for ways to be more valuable?
You were designed to succeed – built for it. Remember who you are and what
you are capable of. Play to win.