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Is Winning All That Counts?


In a week when Lance Armstrong admitted to lying about his drug abuse, admitted to telling a “big lie” a bunch of times, I am struggling to make sense of a world that seems to have given up on ethics.  He has been a hero to a lot of people, he has accomplished a lot for charity … and yet he will defined by his lies, and at the same time a whole generation will have a role model that says its OK to lie and cheat … as long as you win.

Is it OK to do anything to win?  My game is soccer and there is a lot of discussion about players “cheating’ to gain advantage.  Luis Suaraz who is an extremely talented player and plays for Liverpool (NOT my team … my team is Everton) has been in the news a lot this week.  Despite his enormous talent he has a reputation for diving, and admitted that he dove to try and get a penalty in a recent game.  I guess its no big surprise, we see it again and again … but the English game was always more about winning the right way.  Has it lost its way?

Over these last few years we have seen doping scandals in many sports …baseball was (and is)a big one here in North America.  Is it OK to do whatever it takes to win?

We read about scandals in the business world and a large part of the big recession that we are still trying to recover from was the “creative financing” deals concocted by the banks that meant ultimately people lost their homes, went into bankruptcy and even banks went out of business.  You can be sure that many of those people who gained during that period are sitting pretty in their big houses, with pots of money … and no consequences!  I guess they might say that the ends justified the means for them.

I could go on … I see it in business every day as companies do whatever it takes to win another piece of business.  They lie, they make promises they know they can’t meet, they prey on the “small guy’ and they push the bounds of human decency … but they get the big pay cheque, so I suppose its OK, to them.

I could easily get discouraged, get hardened and join the “games players” to line my pockets … but I don’t believe this is what life is about.  I don’t want to look in the mirror knowing that I have “played that game”.  When I play soccer you know what you were getting, I play hard but I play fair … no diving, no looking for unfair advantage but no quarter taken either.   When I tackle you know you’ve been tackled, when I get knocked down I get back up and a win is earned through skill, hard work and sweat.  Its how I run my business … I play to win, but I do it based on knowledge, skill, relationships, effort and ability NOT through deception, lies, or on the backs of the “little guy”.

Winning at any cost is not winning at all … ask that former hero, Lance Armstrong, now known as that liar who cheated his way through his career.