3 ways to apply the ‘winning mindset’ at work

“Most people have the will to win, few have the will to prepare to win”

– Bobby Knight, retired Basketball Coach

Success stories are beautiful, especially when an individual begins from scratch with absolutely nothing and turns his/her fortunes around. However, what we tend not to see would be the amount of preparation required behind the scenes. And for those that do see, preparation tends to be an incredibly immense and massively gargantuan amount of work required. (Yes, I do enjoy being quite redundant). With a winning mindset however, you will be one step closer to success.

Success is where we want to be. (Image credit: Pixabay.com)

A recent experience left quite an impact on us as an entire organization. From there, we began to dissect and analyze our actions to better prepare us for unexpected events.

From our inner reflections, we realized that we were so caught up in our learning that we have slowly forgotten about winning. We kept ourselves within a comfortable level and sat there pretty contented with the status quo. We were not winning.

So we decided to ask ourselves, “What does it take to win?”

What does the “Winning Mindset” mean to us?

For us, to win is to help our customers succeed since when they do, we do too. And in order to get there, we would do whatever it takes to win (within the bounds of the law and our values “CAPPI” of course).

Applying the Winning Mindset

So how do we begin working with a ‘Winning Mindset’? Here are 3 ways that we are trying out at the moment:

1. Challenging “Superiors”

Unless you have joined a recent startup, there is usually a hierarchy within a company and we report to one or more superiors in such traditional organizations or heed the direction of ‘Management’. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with the traditional methods, as a winner, we would want to begin to question the given direction or the current system of work. Why do we do what we do this way?

If we see better ways of working, our flat and open organization enables us to raise our suggestions. Otherwise, we can learn from our experienced colleagues and understand why the system was set up this way (usually we discover new information that we were not aware of previously and that is always a good thing).

Since we are practicing Scrum, our Product Owners (PO) will maintain the Team Backlog and prioritize the work items during the sprint planning. Yet, as a team member who is working on the product, there will be times when one (or more) would question or even disagree with the PO’s priorities. Raising our concerns to the PO would help provide perspective to both parties and may even pivot the direction of the sprint for the better.

This also applies when speaking to other managers. After all, a winning mindset consists of caring enough about the product or service to speak about it.

2. Dare to have Conflicts

Harmony within a working team is awesome – after all, who wouldn’t want to work in a team where each member take their time to help one another at work? However, unnecessarily excessive harmony can actually be detrimental to a team’s productivity.

What if a fellow teammate is not performing his/her part duly and no one in the team would inform him/her about it so as not to disrupt their harmonious relationship?

What if a fellow teammate does the bare minimum and achieves the (naturally) minimal results and again, no one in team wants to be the ‘bad guy’ and simply let it slide?

From the perspective of a fellow team member, we are not helping our fellow teammate to learn and to grow. And from the standpoint of the company, the team could just be doing enough… and that’s not enough, that’s not winning.

The winning mindset consists of doing what is best for everyone to win (be it the company or fellow team members to be successful). Sometimes, it is essential to play ‘Devil’s Advocate’ and challenge our colleagues to be greater than their current self. This is never easy, especially when emotions get thrown into the mix. Some level of maturity within the team is required in order to create and sustain the winning mindset.

3. Go the Extra Mile

I remember a story from the book ‘QBQ! The Question Behind the Question” by John G. Miller about a waiter going the extra mile for his customers. The story goes something like this (let’s see if you are able to relate to this story too) :

“A waiter was working at a restaurant serving tables. A customer at one of his tables requested for a cola but his restaurant did not serve that drink.

“I’m sorry Sir, but we do not have cola here.” he sheepishly informed the customer.

“It’s ok then.” the customer replied.

As the customer began tucking into his food, the waiter suddenly hands him a can of cola. Surprised, he asked the waiter, “I thought you didn’t serve cola?”

“We don’t. I went to the nearest convenience store to get it for you because you are my customer.

(I’m quite sure I didn’t tell the story accurately from the book, but that is not the point here).

The point is: more often that not, we simply perform our duties and get on with life. But why do we not go beyond our duties to provide a better experience for our customers?

From the story above, the waiter took additional effort to provide a better experience for his customer. Yes, he did leave the restaurant and in a way, took up valuable resources (of time and money), but what about the impact of his actions?

Would you tell your family or friends about what the waiter did had it happen to you? Going the extra mile is part of the idea of a winning mindset. Helping our customers succeed. And as such, we do too.


The winning mindset is pretty much doing what it takes to help our customers succeed. There are many ways to apply it at our work and we have shared 3 ways to apply them at work, which are:

  1. Challenging ‘Superiors’
  2. Dare to have conflicts
  3. Go the Extra Mile

Do you have such similar experiences? Share them with us at the comments below! Don’t have such experiences? Try the above out and let us know how it goes as well!

We would love to hear from you.




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