Who is winning?

During the 5th set of this year’s Wimbledon final between Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, two great athletes, I thought that both players deserved to win. I simply could not see who was the better one. It seemed like a win-win-win-win match – a win for Federer and his family / friends / coaches, a win for Djokovic and his family / friends / coaches, a win for people participating by watching / learning about the match at the stadium and on the Internet including social media, a win for the sponsors and suppliers of all that is needed to make a sports event happen, and a win for many more. According to the rules of tennis and many other sports, there has to be a winner and a loser, though – not only in the final match of tournaments but also in all the other matches leading up to the final match of the tournament.. And when Djokovic had won, I recall, for example, that he – in the interview following the match – said to Federer: “It was a great match to be part of“.

In this blog posting, Paul Sloane touches upon the contrast between competition and collaboration. He writes, for examples, this:

“Sport is all about beating the competition, but if you are working in care for the elderly or a hospital you are not concerned about beating the competition.  You are concerned about collaborating with your colleagues to get the best outcomes for the client.  In business you are focused on the customer – not the competition.  Sport is about beating the opposition.  Business is about pleasing the customer.”

This posting by Paul Sloane led me not only to think about customer needs but also to think about what Lars Kolind explains in this blog posting comment:

“I certainly appreciate the positive impact of sports, but there are fundamental difficulties: In sports one person or one team wins, while scouting is designed to make every person be a winner. In sports, the participant concentrates on one activity while scouts perform a wide variety of activities in order to develop the person’s full potential: Physically, socially, intellectually, emotionally and spiritually.”

Please correct me if I am wrong, but I seem to see signs of change – not least fuelled by the Internet. Concepts such as the sharing economy, crowdsourcing, crowdfunding, and – more broadly – social media have led, I think, to stronger cultures of, for example, openness and sharing of thoughts and ideas / collaborating / helping each other – cultures in which people want to contribute to increasing the standard of living and quality of life for more people around the world. As Gary Hamel explains, the web has unleashed human capacity in ways that few of us could have imagined a decade ago. These ongoing changes – that are, not least, about changes in values that we live – seem to also be increasingly reflected in, for example, the way we organize, the way people are paid, and the way leadership is done. Regarding the last point about leadership, I was – as a I read this article – struck by this comment by Philipp Lahm:

“Today there aren’t any players that single-handedly lead their teams. Today you share this responsibility. Every single player has to take responsibility for what they do.”

Dealing with these topics, I would like to also guide your attention to the important work that each one of us has to work with ourselves – including what we do, how we do things, and not least how we think. In this regard, you may find it useful to have a look at the previous posting in which the great book Winning from within is mentioned. If this is a topic that interests you I would like to also recommend to you the book True North.



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Frank Calberg


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