Trying not to Lose is Different than Trying to Win

Guest post from Michael G.
Today’s winning leader is not just here to weather the
storm; they are here to completely change the game.
To survive and prosper in 2017,
companies must adopt a way of managing that is based on their capacity to learn
and change—consciously, continuously, and quickly.
and preparing for change is the essence of competitive advantage. The leaders
who dominate in this new era will not only understand the changes affecting
them, but they will seize them, master them, and use them to their advantage to
achieve ever-higher performance.
While every leader plans and communicates their strategy before
the competition begins, once in the race, it’s often necessary to make split-second
decisions to redirect efforts. If you don’t notice the shifts in the wind and
adjust quickly, you may lose your strategic options. Since opportunities come
and go rapidly, you can quickly become a victim of changing circumstances.
Business flows in cycles: bulls follow bears; bears chase
bulls. There is opportunity to enhance one’s competitive position in every
phase of those cycles. Successful companies and leaders constantly search for
market opportunities/threats and take quick, creative action. You can feel the
organizational pulse rate by the speed with which they commit to action,
allocating and reallocating resources (time, talent, and capital) to pursue
opportunities. Decisions are made quickly, and
vision is translated into action. People are recognized and
rewarded for these practices.
However, many companies don’t seize opportunities prompted
by change because they cannot see
opportunities prompted by change. They are so busy making the most of
yesterday’s opportunities, they cannot see today’s or create tomorrow’s. What
worked in the past no longer guarantees success in the present, let alone the
New leadership is needed—leadership that goes against the
grain, challenges conventional wisdom, and pushes the status quo. Developing
the mindset and ability to embrace change is a considerable challenge.
World-class competitors can do it. They know that change is accelerating and
that in a time of constant change, the ability to learn and change faster than
their competitors is a competitive advantage.
Many excellent companies fall from grace because business conditions
shift and they fail to adapt. With fluctuating markets, proliferating
technologies, and changing political frontiers, the challenge is no longer to
manage growth. Now managers must cope with sudden shifts in the rules of the
game. Are you ready? How will you handle sudden and radical changes in business
Many companies are still
in survival mode after the 2008 recession. They are trying to survive, not
grow. The same is true of some executives. Trying not to lose is far different
than trying to win.
It’s time to lean
forward and position yourself and your company for greatness and achieve
world-class perfo
rmance. Regain your Olympic-like competitive edge, rekindle
your desire to compete and win. Place a premium on exemplary performance in all
dimensions: quality, productivity, service, and value. Growth and innovation
are not only possible but necessary during dark times. Here’s a

snapshot of the difference:
Survive                                                                        Thrive
Divest                                                                          Invest
Pause                                                                          Pounce
Scarcity                                                                        Abundance
Wait                                                                             Anticipate
Reduce cost                                                                 Add Value
Delay                                                                           Accelerate
Consent                                                                       Invent
Realistic goals                                                              Stretch goals
Today’s winning leader
is not just here to weather the storm; they are here to completely change the
game. World-class competition is the ultimate proving ground of people, teams,
and organizations. Just as we saw in this summer’s Olympics, competition brings
together exquisitely prepared men and women in a pressure-cooker
atmosphere—each of them vying for victory. The line between success and failure
is often razor thin…no more than a hundredth of a second or a few millimeters.
The winners will be those who best prepare both physically and mentally and
give the extra effort that leads to victory.
About the Author:
Michael Winston had a career of distinction in executive
positions for over three decades in five Fortune 100 companies across three
industries. He served in executive positions for Motorola, Merrill Lynch,
McDonnell Douglas, Lockheed and Countrywide. As global head of leadership and
organization strategy, he worked closely with C-Suite Officers to develop
business models, craft strategies and structure, create cultures and develop
As Enterprise Chief Leadership
Officer for Countrywide Financial, Winston rebuilt the strategy, leadership and
culture and tried to stop the fraud, corruption and deception he observed. His
warnings were dismissed and ignored. Winston’s experiences in confronting
Countrywide executives about fraud, market manipulation and insider-trading are
highlighted in numerous media reports including this 
York Times feature
. He is a
founding member of the Bank Whistleblowers United, and holds a Ph.D. from the
University of Illinois, a Master’s Degree from the University of Notre Dame and
attended executive programs at Stanford University and the University of
Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.
For more
information about Winston visit him on
LinkedIn and on, His book, World-Class Performance, is available for purchase on Amazon and other fine booksellers.