Posted by: drewdice | December 13, 2010

Is winning everything?

“Winning isn’t everything, it is the only thing”. This quote, most often attributed to legendary Green Bay Packers’ coach, Vince Lombardi, is commonly used in business, sports, academia and many other places to evoke emotion and motivate individuals and teams.

In looking at more of Lombardi’s quotes and dialogue, I believe he was speaking more to the mentality of winners, as opposed to saying people should have a “win at all costs” mentality. He says winning is not a “sometimes” thing, but rather an “all the time” thing – and I agree.

That being said, there are far too many examples of applying this concept with the wrong context, and making winning more important than winning “the right way” – with passion, grit and determination, but also with a culture of doing the right thing – for the organization, customers, and the community.

In yesterday’s New York Jets and Miami Dolphins game, Sal Alosi gave us a perfect example of how NOT to apply the winning concept. Sal is a coach for the Jets, and with that title comes the responsibility of setting the pace and example of how to prepare, compete and execute to beat an opponent. His action of intentionally sticking his knee out on the sideline to interfere with Miami Dolphins player, Nolan Carroll, was boneheaded at best, and should result in firing, in my opinion.

I don’t care how much bravado head coach Rex Ryan brings to the game, and how much any coach or team wants to win – this type of behavior is inexcusable. Similarly, in business, integrity wins. Period. Are there short cuts and ways to “injure” the competition to get a short term upper hand – I am quite sure there are. That, however, is not part of a winning culture, and has no place on any team to which I aspire to belong.

Create a winning culture in your organization or on your team – the right way, and it can be sustainable, powerful, contagious and rewarding beyond imagine.

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