Bill Martin was my Sports Information Director at LSU where he still works today. He was in charge of women's basketball and football but worked other projects as well -- such as LSU's baseball regional tournaments the past few weekends. I knew one thing for sure -- when LSU was defeated Sunday that Bill would be leaving Alex Box Stadium with a very empty feeling. The athletic season at LSU was over and Bill hates to lose!
If I had one word to describe Bill it would be "passionate." He sincerely loves LSU sports and more importantly all those involved -- athletes, coaches, trainers, secretaries, and administrators. His passion means he knows the history of LSU like no other I've been around. It means that he takes incredible pride in his work which makes him one of the absolute best in the business. It also means he feels the joy of victory and the agony of defeat as if he were a coach.
So I wasn't surprised when he passed along something to me last night that would make for a great coaching blog. Of course still feeling the sting of an LSU defeat, Bill sent me the following from www.CEOSuccessCoach.com, written by Mike Harden simply titled, "Do your employees hate to lose more than they love to win?" It describes Bill as well as a lot of successful coaches (and athletes) I know, including myself.
This is the comment Bill emailed me along with the article: "Baseball ended here the other night and you know me with the end of every sport season that ends in a loss I HATE IT. Came across this article on how much I hate losing that I thought you might like."
Here is the contents of the article:
Have you ever had an employee lose a sale, or a customer, or a negotiation, and say, “Well, I gave it my best shot.” Although he would have enjoyed winning, he was more than willing to accept his loss because giving it his best effort was enough for him. Trust me, this guy is a loser.
Everyone enjoys winning. I have never met a person who didn’t like to win, but some people are content to lose if they know they gave it their best shot. True winners – those that are highly competitive – won’t simply settle for winning. They can’t stand losing, and they will do anything rather than suffer a defeat. These highly competitive types tend to work harder, make greater sacrifices, put forth extra effort, and perform heroic actions. They are like athletes at the top of their game.
When top athletes in their professions are surveyed, we find that winning isn’t what fuels their success, but instead, hating to lose is what drives them to compete at extraordinary levels. It’s no different in the corporate world. We need to staff our companies with employees who think and act like these top athletes. A culture of winning is fine, but just imagine what your company would be like if everyone there hated to lose. So you have to go beyond having a winning culture…you have to create a culture of people who hate to lose, and who would do anything rather than experience defeat. These are the people that will propel your organization to its next level of performance.
When I coach CEOs about this, I make it a point to say that their company motto ought to be: “We Hate to Lose.” What else do you need to say? That’s pretty much it… Then you have to slowly weed out the people who are content to come in second, and bring in people who hate not being number one – in anything they do! These “hate to lose” people actually feel physical pain when they lose.
A winning culture is fine for some companies, but a “hate to lose” culture will kick the crap out of that company every time. Take a good, hard mental look at your key employees, and you will know who is OK with losing, and who hates to lose. Over time, you need to build your organization around the “hate to lose” people, and get rid of the people who are OK with losing. Your culture will take a dramatic turn that will pay dividends going forward.
To reinforce my point, take a look at these memorable quotes from some great athletes:
- “I hate to lose more than I love to win.” (Jimmy Connors)
- “I’m a competitive person. I hate to lose and competition is everything. When you lose you’re easily forgotten.” (Michael Jordan)
- “Above anything else, I hate to lose.” (Jackie Robinson)
- “If you’re going to play at all, you’re out to win. Baseball, board games, playing Jeopardy, I hate to lose.” (Derek Jeter)
- “Boy, do I hate to lose.” (Peyton Manning)
How do you feel about losing? Are you a “hate to lose” CEO? And what about your company’s culture? How intensely do they hate to lose?
P.S. - Don't think Bill is just passionate about LSU sports either -- right now he is living and dying everyday with his St. Louis Cardinals! Miss ya Bill!