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California Chrome and the Myth of Winning

Dr. Foster Mobley // Sports, Wisdom Leading

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?

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?

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Dr. Foster Mobley

Trusted advisor and coach to admired executives globally for 3 decades, Thought leader on wisdom-based approaches to breakthrough leading, "Lead Coach" for Deloitte's experienced and high potential leader development, Team performance advisor to two NCAA championship teams