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VIEWPOINT: COMPETE OR WIN?, The players on your team

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What is the point of competitive sport? Is it to get onto the field and compete? Or is it to win?

As an athlete, do you strive to represent yourself, your team, and your country, and do the best you can? Or do you go further, seeking to reach the top, to be the best?

Given recent press reports of quotas possibly impacting our team selections, one has to ask if the important issue is to field a team ‘representative’ of our country, or a team most likely to win the trophy for our country.

To me, sport is all about the pleasure of competing, not winning at all costs; however, it would be a stretch to consider myself anything more than an armchair sportsman. For a professional sportsman, the reality is very different. You seek the life of a sportsman to win, not just compete. Achieving that pinnacle drives the self-sacrifice and hours of practice.

I feel the same way about my business. It isn’t winning at all costs; how to ‘represent’ my company, or my country, in a bid for business – I want to win it! I feel my team should be chosen because they are excellent, because they are the best people for the job; not because the government says I have to hire them. And I don’t want my teammates to be disillusioned as they ponder whether they were hired to fill a quota or because they earned their place.

If the objective of business is to provide jobs; not to be the best and reap the rewards that come from that, there would be few entrepreneurs willing to undergo the self-sacrifice, the late nights at the office, the sleepless nights and then get up and do it all again tomorrow.

Margaret Thatcher once said, ‘The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.’ Running a business where you are not empowered to determine your own team limits your ability to perform. Limiting your ability to perform results in loss of business. Loss of business will ultimately result in financial losses for the company, which are unsustainable.

Quotas limit our ability to win in a sporting arena and to compete in a competitive business market: are there any winners in that?

Author: Kevin Phillips CA(SA) is Managing Director of idu Software