Winning isn’t everything

In May 2009 when we had to decide whether to turn-off or turn-around the Perth Wildcats, numerous decisions had to be made.

We asked ourselves three questions: What is our Purpose? How shall we Perform? and Who are our People?

All equally important. Compromising any one would have had a dangerous outcome.

Take the question of Performance….

We defined this as “Pursuing Excellence”.

Not winning championships!

Of course, that was part of the journey but it was not the the destination.

It was an outcome, not the sole purpose.

Every sporting franchise wants to win it all. Yet at the end of every season there can be only one victor.

A one-dimensional pursuit of success at all costs can be shallow and meaningless.

Ask any athlete – even the winners!

In Australia, we have recently witnessed a vast majority of the leading institutions in an industry all plead guilty to misconduct following a Royal Commission into their operations.

Unethical, dishonest, inappropriate and deceptive are some of the terms used to describe their practices over many years. Behaviours that were normalised not just in one department of one organisation – but across the major corporations in the sector.

Yet, by all reports most would suggest they were successful: billion-dollar profits; unprecedented returns to shareholders; and extravagant remuneration packages to senior executives.


Sometimes superficial or quantitative indicators can be misleading.

The viral, photoshopped spin and hype can hide the truth that lies beneath the surface.

Unfortunately, winning and success isn’t everything!

It’s how we play the game.

Fight the good fight.

Run the good race.

It’s just as important to follow the compass as it is to check the clock when pursuing our personal best.

For what does it profit anyone to conquer the whole world yet compromise their integrity doing so.

Returning to the Wildcats story, over the ensuing eight-years I’ve had the joy of witnessing an organisation meaningfully pursue excellence – getting better every day, not just relative to the competition! Success came naturally – six Grand Finals and four Championships.

And most rewarding was not the rings but sharing the journey with truly wonderful people who prioritised changing lives and leaving a legacy over simply winning.