Blog > Are you trying to win, or succeed?

August 14, 2011

Let’s say you have an idea. A great idea. And you want your work colleagues to know about it. There’s a meeting coming up where you might get a chance to share your great idea. What does winning mean to you? What about success? Are they they same thing?

Many of us wouldn’t give a second thought the the difference between winning and success – because there’s no difference, right? Winning IS success. Success IS winning.

You will be comfortable with that view if the metaphor that underpins how you work is drawn from sport. Sport seems to be ubiquitous as a metaphor for organisations – teams, goals, stepping up, targets, avoiding the curve ball, taking it on the chin, keeping your eye on the ball, winning the game – are a few that come to mind.

And what if we used a different metaphor – one from theatre perhaps: we’d then have starring and supporting roles, directing, orchestrating, stage managing, focus, on- and off-stage, subplot, and troupe for example.

I was introduced to the concept of success by improvisors: that success in an improvised performance is about sometimes yielding so as the collective (troupe) is successful.

It seems to me the planet could do with some of us giving up the goal of winning and a hell of lot more yielding.

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