There’s a competitive spirit at SencorpWhite. Ask anyone who has worked with us, and they’ll tell you: We like to win. But where does that kind of drive come from? What do we, as a company, do to nurture it?
For me, cultivating a competitive spirit isn’t particularly complicated, but it does involve embracing who we are as people—on the good days, when someone’s basking in the glory of a win, and also on the less-than-good days, when someone’s coping with the reality that things didn’t turn out exactly the way they had hoped.
Jack Welch touches on this point in a blog post where he argues that, above all else, winning requires authenticity. As Welch describes it, in order to succeed:
“The most powerful thing you can do is, well, be real. As in not phony. As in grappling, sweating, laughing and caring. As inauthentic.”
That means winning involves owning up to the fact that, inevitably, there will sometimes be losses. But even so, you realize the risk is worth it. What’s important is knowing that you can learn from the occasional setback and make the best of it.
Here’s a recent example that proves my point.
As I am sure you know, the SencorpWhite brand now includes facilities located in southern California, namely Accu-Seal in San Marcos and Minerva Associates in San Diego. This past October, Frank Doyle, CEO of Connell Limited Partnership, SencorpWhite’s owner, and I were at a regularly scheduled meeting with the Minerva team, and our trip happened to fall at precisely the time that the Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers were headed into the World Series.
While we were there, Frank, who is a loyal Red Sox fan, discovered that Lisa and Curt Minerd, principals in Minerva Associates, are avid fans of the Dodgers. Naturally, a spirited discussion ensued and that, in turn, led to a friendly wager. Whichever team won the World Series, the fan of the other team would have to wear the jersey of the winning team at work for a day and donate $500 to the charity of choice of the winner.
Five games later, the Boston Red Sox were victorious. And sure enough, a few weeks ago, when Frank and I returned to Minerva for our 2019 planning meeting, Lisa and Curt made good on their bet, sporting bright red Red Sox t-shirts. In addition, Curt made a $500 donation to Frank’s designated charity, Franciscan Children’s Hospital.