A Reminder from Charlie Sheen: Winning

The Charlie Sheen implosion is ongoing… alas… but may be quieting down… thank goodness. I haven’t paid a lot of attention, but the media frenzy makes it unavoidable. Some of his rants are embarrassing, but I’m not inclined to be embarrassed for him. A recurring rant did catch my attention: winning. This rant, like the others, doesn’t seem rational, but the topic got me thinking about how little we invoke winning as an explicit objective in many workplaces. We have no trouble explicitly invoking winning as the  objective (make that The Objective) in sports, but in business, we don’t invoke it often enough. It’s easy to tell the winner in sports, but it’s more subjective in business: no one scoreboard, or singular metric, that covers every organization. Perhaps winning might be defined as manifesting your intentions and fulfilling your expectations, or as delivering value to customers. The beauty is that using this definition, everyone can win. Yet so often we focus our attention on the activities in which we participate as if these were the end game, and not on the goal. Our activities are in service of the goal and therefore worth doing, but without being goal-driven, we drain the power from our effort.

The biggest impact of being clear about what it means to win is the effect it has on team dynamics. Most of business is a team sport. How would your workplace look different if everyone took the field fully prepared to play his position to the highest level possible, and held everyone else on the team accountable for playing their positions just as well? What would you do differently, and what would you count on your colleagues to do, to fulfill your (often implicit) commitment to win?