Friday, February 13, 2009

The 50-Yard Dash

I was thinking about winning and losing and how most of us have grown up with seeing competing people or teams winning and losing. Maybe they win the Gold Medal or the Super Bowl title and the ring and the hat, or maybe the prize is smaller. We grew up wanting to be winners and feel sorry for the losers. Whenever there is a limit to the number of prizes, the game is not really so much fun except for the winner. But are they really winners? Why couldn't we change that thinking?

I watched the Super Bowl (capital letters even. . .) this year and it was absolutely an exciting game right up to the last minute. That is what people want, right? I saw that it was clear that one team was making more mistakes than the other team and, indeed, it cost them the title. Nontheless, I see both of them as winning the Super Bowl.

I had a time warp back to 7th grade and in P.E. class we had to run the 50-yard dash and get timed. My best time was 7 seconds flat. Relative to someone who knows how to run very fast for a short distance, that number is really slow. Many good runners beat me by between 1 and 2 seconds. I gave it all I had and that was all that came out. It was good. It was the best I could do--and the best I was interested in doing.

It really isn't about winning and losing with me anymore because competitiveness is not an essential, nor even desireable trait for business. In business, it is about creativity, continuing to clarify and seek the best you, your company and your employees can be. Profitability is cool too, and these traits will create more of that than competitiveness any day. Google isn't competing against MSN Search, Yahoo Search, ASK and others. They are leading and they are doing that by continually clarifying what their business is and how deep and wide it can become, using the creativity of hundreds of brilliant people (like you and me), and they foster a business climate that promotes more of this. It is all about creativity. Perhaps they all ran the 50-yard dash in 7 seconds (or 8, or 9 or more) as well. . .

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