Are you playing to win, or just trying to stay in the game?
By Roger Gudobba
In this highly competitive economy you need a strategy to flourish and grow. For far too many leaders, strategy is a struggle. Despite all the different tools available (or perhaps because of them), strategy can seem mysterious and scary, with huge rewards for success, disastrous implications for failure and many unknown dangers lurking along the way. Having a clear definition of winning provides focus and clarity at the individual, team, and organizational level. Are you focused on winning and moving towards it each day? Or do you play to not lose? To stay focused on winning, also get clear on what you will not do. Make a list of all the major initiatives and big projects that no longer fit your definition of winning and shut them down. Then make sure those things don’t sap your time, energy, and attention.
If you are not playing to win, why are you playing?
Most leaders know intuitively when a project no longer makes sense because the goals have gotten out of sync with changing market realities. Yet they still cling to the belief that they can somehow squeeze some mileage out of a dead horse. Don’t let outdated assumptions and thought bubbles prevent you from getting those obstacles to winning out of the way!
Pause to think about what really matters. Start by asking yourself: What does winning look like for you? What do you need to do — as individuals and as an organization — to win? What will it look like when you have won? When employees know where they’re going and what they need to do to get there, it becomes much easier to reach your destination. It gets everyone aligned and moving in the same direction. And it motivates and inspires people to perform at their best.
Some leaders argue that it’s impossible to think about strategy in advance and that instead a firm should respond to new threats and opportunities as they emerge…. Unfortunately, such an approach places a company in a reactive mode, making it easy prey for more-strategic rivals…. Not only is strategy possible in times of tumultuous change, but it can be a competitive advantage and a source of significant value creation. Winning matters. Without a competitive goal, it is easy to become complacent and settle for being ‘good enough.’ As Michael Porter first noted, powerful and sustainable competitive is unlikely to arise from any one capability (e.g. having an unparalleled sales force or the best technology in the industry), but rather from a reinforcing set of capabilities. Strategy is an iterative process in which all of the moving parts influence one another and should be taken into account together.
But don’t just take it from me, with their book Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works, authors A.G. Lafley and Roger Martin make the argument that delaying decisions on your strategy can have enormous consequences for your business. Martin and Lafley assert that strategy is a young discipline — it’s “about making specific choices” in your business.
Read the Full Article: Playing to Win