The Importance Of Winning (it all wrong) 30 Jun 2007
Winning it all wrong is getting it all wrong as it pertains to the concept of winning.

At an early age most people learn about winning. Whether it’s early in life playing games, taking toys from other children or socializing in general.

Toddlers often scream “mine” and take the toy of another child. If they get away with it they’ve started the process of learning the importance of winning.

Children whose parents emphasize the “must win” mentality during sports learn the process of winning at every event.

Teenagers who undermine and manipulate others succumb to the importance of winning as they climb the social ladder.

When you think of the “winning” mentality, sports will probably come to mind first, but the importance of winning is prevalent in the “software development” community.

  • Have you worked someone who’s always right (even when they’re wrong)?
  • Have you worked with someone who checks in lots of code during the late night or multi-day-no-sleep coding sessions?
  • Have you worked with someone who doesn’t want pair programming or review of their code (or they don’t listen to the feedback)?

If you’ve experienced one of the above then you’ve experienced the “winning” mentality in the world of software development. It can be frustrating to work with.

The best attitude to combat this is one of humility and modesty. There is a time to be right and to stand your ground and there is a time to shut up, listen and learn.

The best group action to actively employ against the wrong concept of winning is accountability. Accountability requires humility and modesty. Practices and actions that happen continually become habits.

The true value of winning is not to win in every argument, debate or discussion. It isn’t to ensure that “my” idea is the one that is always employed. Achieving victory triumphantly over everyone else in all circumstances is a short-sighted vision of winning. Unfortunately it’s the concept that alot of people seem to know.

A more worthy concept of winning is broader scoped:

  • winning involves learning when there are things to be learned
  • winning involves teaching when there are things to be taught
  • winning involves discipline when doing the right takes longer then the shortcut
  • winning involves patience when there is time to be spent
  • winning involves honesty when the alternative seems more appealing
  • winning involves knowing when to let the other person win
  • winning involves strengthening others when others need to be built up
  • winning involves listening because no one knows it all
  • winning involves humility because humbleness allows you teach more, learn more and ultimately do more

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