We didn’t win last week. Technically, one of our clients didn’t get the win it was seeking, but from our perspective, when one of our clients doesn’t achieve its goals we don’t achieve ours.
You’ll notice that I didn’t say we, or our clients, lost. Because we didn’t lose. True, we did not get the result we were seeking last week, and that’s not something we’re happy about. We did, however, make some significant strides building awareness and creating grassroots support. And we now have a better understanding of what we need to do in order to get a win next time.
We’ll invest more in what’s working and explore some different approaches to get us across the finish line. That’s one of the core differences between not winning and losing.
When people lose, they tend to become demoralized, which leads them being immobilized. And that’s never good. Over the years, we haven’t won plenty of times. We haven’t won some of competitive proposals we’ve submitted. We haven’t won over some of the very talented interns and creative professionals we’ve wanted to bring on board. And that’s fine.
We understand that we’re not going to win every single time. But we also understand that whenever we don’t win we have to figure out why. Was there something we did or didn’t do that affected the outcome? Was there some external force that made achieving a win more difficult or even impossible?
And there are two extremely important questions we always have to ask.
- Were we focused on the right goal? (e.g. Would the win have supported our mission or moved us closer to achieving our vision?)
- What did we learn during the process?
I try to place an emphasis on alignment and learning in the office. We always need to make sure whatever we are doing is aligned with our mission, vision and core values – insight, integrity and innovation. We don’t want to do something just because a client will pay us to do it or because it sounds fun. Sure, there is a place for those things, but if the work you are doing is not aligned, it doesn’t matter if you win or not. You’ll eventually find yourself off-balance and lost.
Learning from the times we don’t win is also key. Before we dive into meetings on Monday morning, we ask ourselves what we learned over the past week and what we want to learn over the next week. Many times, I have reflected on times we didn’t win, unpacking the good and bad of each instance. My hope is that our entire team understands that it not winning is different than losing and that its ok to not win sometimes.
Now, let me be clear, we don’t like not winning, and we do everything we can do ensure victories for clients and for our agency. However, we recognize that there is value in examining the process whether we win or not, and we apply the key learnings to our work to improve outcomes for us and for our clients.