Learn How To Lose A Battle

In studying the life of George Washington, there are so many great lessons to learn. Having dedicated himself at an early age to "110 Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation,” he is typically recognized for being a gentleman with unwavering character and integrity. One thing that I find most interesting about him as a general is that, throughout his career, he lost far more battles than he won.

When a battle went badly, he always had an escape route so that his men could make a strategic retreat. He did this so that his men could regroup and come back to fight another day.  Many generals would have let their pride keep them from such a strategy, but since Washington was a true servant leader, he always put the well-being of his men first. Each battle that Washington lost ultimately prepared him for the greatest challenge of all. And, thankfully, he won the war. 

I think we can apply the same principles to business:

1) Go to battle each day with the best plan you can come up with, but always have a strategic retreat (or pivot) available in the event that you need to regroup and come back to fight another day.  

2) Always put the well being of your people first and let your pride take a back seat. This is the way of a true servant leader. 

3) Learn from each battle and come back better and more prepared for having been defeated.   

When talking about the many failures he experienced early in his career, Mark Cuban always says that you only have to be right once. If you learn the right way to lose a battle, you will be in a much better position to win the war. 


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