Stop Trying to Win


Don’t win.  Succeed.  There is a difference.

I had (yes, past tense) a client “Bob who HAD to win everything.” To do business with him, he HAD to have a better price, he HAD to have more service, and he HAD to be right.

You may think that sounds like a secret to success, a motivated and driven business person. In some very unique personalities, that can be accurate. For most people, they are just a fighter; maybe a socially acceptable fighter, but a fighter.

Man Crossing finish line

In sports, the fight or game is mutually agreed. The opponents choose to participate and often enjoy the challenge of overcoming an opponent. Most people enjoy watching competition, whether it is Little League baseball, NFL pro football, The Price is Right, or Dancing with the Stars. What do fighters need? They need two things. They emotionally need to win and they need an opponent.

What many fail to realize is there is a different situation outside of organized competitions. Healthy success in business and life is not about winning the most fights with others. You can overcome life’s challenges and fight circumstances to make a better situation. But to fight others means someone must lose.

When you fight with your friend or spouse, does it make you feel good to win? Then that means it makes you feel good for them to lose. Do you want your friends or significant other to be a looser? Do you like how that may make them feel about you or themselves?

My client Bob needed to win and for that to happen, he needed me to lose. It was not just about business, it was an emotional need. What I had to realize is that while business is competitive, I’m not interested in regular fights with my clients. We work to provide the best value we can while making enough reasonable profit to stay in business.  Any client who is okay with me regularly losing money does not truly value our services.

Our best clients don’t fight with us to beat us. We may negotiate, we may not always agree, and we may both take a hit on our deals over time.  Together, we don’t need to be right or to win. We both need to be successful.


Glenn S. PhillipsGlenn S. Phillips is the author of the book Nerd-to-English: Your Everyday Guide to Translating Your Business, Your Messages, and Yourself.  You can email Glenn directly at

Glenn is also the president of Forte’ Incorporated, a consulting firm that works with business leaders to understand and address the often hidden technology and business risks lurking within their organizations.

© Copyright 2013. Glenn S. Phillips, Forte’ Incorporated. (205) 985-1111


About the Author

Glenn S. Phillips works with leaders who want to leverage technology and understand risks within. An author and blogger, Glenn is often quoted in national media, plays a really ugly tuba (it even has a bullet hole) and is a fan of dark chocolate and great puns.