It is the Winter Olympic season, so I thought it might be worthwhile to share some insights about "Winning the game".
"How to win?"
When we raise this question in our mind, we need to remind ourselves of a few points:
1. It takes two or more parties to have a war.
2. Each game has a time frame.
3. Each individual has a different understanding of winning.
4. None can always win.
If you are familiar with the product life cycle, you may understand that this curve can happen not only on products but also on people, organisations and countries. Therefore, before answering the question "How to win", we need to clear out the illusion that winning is a long-lasting occurrence.
In the business world, I summarise three approaches that can bring organisations to a winning situation: tactic, strategy and culture.
The definition of tactic is: the organisation and use of soldiers and equipment in war (Cambridge Dictionary). We usually use tactics in a combating situation such as a boxing fight, a war or a marketing campaign. But you must have heard a saying: Win the battle, lose the war. Overusing tactics can result in weakening both our opponents and ourselves. In the meantime, it also can drag organisations into a rabbit hole of winging at all costs and then lose track of the purpose of the war.
Hahei | WW1 Memorial Forest Park | Kun Lu
By contrast, a strategy is an approach that allows us to see the big picture and look for more sustainable success. Strategy is a direction. No matter what tactics we use for the company of our lives, they should be conducted within the strategy. To be a strategist, it is critical to treat win and lose rationally and face the fact that sometimes we need to lose something to gain something more significant. Strategists are generalists because they need to possess a wide range of knowledge to see the big picture. They are also futurists, endeavouring to achieve long-term success rather than small wins.
In his book "Good to Great", Jim Collins pointed out that the great companies were hedgehogs, focusing on what they could do to be the best in the world rather than what their competitors did. The same concept can also apply to our personal development.
On the other hand, culture is not something in our control, especially in the business world. You probably have heard the saying: Culture eat strategy for breakfast. With the right culture, people are generally self-motivated, strategies are also aligned with its business goal because the right people make it. Some organisations think culture can be the ultimate cure to their unsuccessful businesses. Well, have a nice dream.
Culture is people-oriented. When an emperor asked Mencius how to be the winner during the Warring States period, Mencius replied: A benevolent heart is invincible. We can also find the same idea in Sun Tzu's "The Art of War". Ultimately, people's well-being should be the goal of all individuals, businesses and countries.
As Sun Tzu said: The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.
We are the only enemies of ourselves.