June 12th, 2012  | 

Published in Strategic Planning

Winning and Losing: Horse Races and Business

You probably know that the day before Belmont, the favorite horse in the race – I’ll Have Another – was scratched, abandoning an opportunity to become only the 12th ever and first horse since 1978 to win the Triple Crown.

The week before the Belmont, I enjoyed horse racing closer to home with a client and his leadership team. As we watched race after race at Lone Star Park, two thoughts kept galloping through my mind:

  1. It’s not over ‘til it’s over. Time and again, horses that led the way for much of a race often finished second, third or fourth. Meanwhile, some horses that were in the middle of the pack found an extra burst of energy on the home stretch and won. You’re about to find yourself on the home stretch as you seek to hit your objectives. Keep running.
  1. The difference between winning and losing is small. Most of the races were close. One race literally was a photo finish, requiring a review of a photographic image to determine the winner. In the workplace, little things subtract from success. Missed deadlines. Unreturned calls to customers. Inaccurate accounting. Broken commitments to colleagues. Are you addressing these little things?

Business may not always be as fun as a horse race. But business can certainly be a gamble. How will you finish this year’s race?

About the Author: Greg Bustin is an executive coach, consultant and speaker who has delivered more than 500 keynotes and workshops on five continents. Greg advises leaders at some of the world’s most admired companies, and his views about leadership have been published in The Wall Street Journal, Chief Executive, Fast Company, Forbes, Inc., Investor’s Business Daily, Leader to Leader, and other major publications. He’s written five leadership books. His newest book, How Leaders Decide: A Timeless Guide to Making Tough Choices (Sourcebooks), examines decision-making in history’s greatest triumphs and tragedies. How Leaders Decide

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