Saturday California Chrome did not win the Belmont Stakes, finishing in a tie for fourth place. Chrome is now the twenty-third horse to win the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness but failing to grab the Triple Crown. That begs the question: is California Chrome a failure? Should we consider the team that trained him a failure?
According to current practice, the answer might be "Yes." In many organizations, winning means one thing-obliterating last month's/quarter's/year's numbers, winning the account, getting the external recognition - cost be damned. For some, getting the immediate win is so critical that they'll sacrifice everything: the team's resources, the mental and physical health of the people they lead, you name it. In many cases, it's unsustainable - losing disguised as "winning."
In my view, true winning is about the sustainable long game. Most of the battles we lose don't imply we'll lose the war. A wise leader takes the lessons from setbacks to direct attention to improving performance for the ultimate goal, not just the next battle. Consider a definition of winning that is both about winning races and a sustainable future of health, vitality, and continued excellence.
What do your words and actions communicate about what winning means to you?