Do you play to win or not to lose?

By | August 4, 2014

This question is relevant, not only in sports, but certainly in business as well!

What is it that drives your strategy or decision making process?

Is it to minimize the risk of losing or to maximize the potential for gain (using whatever metrics you use to measure)?

This train of thought will occur whether you are coaching a football game or managing your business!

As I so often say when I’m watching the NFL and the team that’s in the lead falls into a prevent defense, that the only thing that this type of strategy accomplishes is an attempt to prevent winning!

If the game plan that had built a lead (or market share) was working so well, why change it simply because the end of the half, game or fiscal year is approaching?

I doubt that Vince Lombardi would have used a four corners offense or prevent defense so why should businesses?

The same approach that brought you to the dance should be used with strategic planning as well!

Gain or Prevent Pain?

From an article I read on the two forms of human emotion, the discussion of the concept of Seeking Gain or Preventing Pain was discussed as it relates to the way in which businesses and human beings manage themselves.

Here are some of the takeaways:

There are three attributes to a gain task:

1. A gain task is never urgent;

2. You don’t have to complete a gain; and

3. You can’t delegate it to anyone else.

‘If you continue to do solely what is necessary to survive every day, all you will accomplish is preventing pain from coming your way. To move your life or your business forward from where it is today and to see an improvement, you must do something extraordinary— something that you didn’t have to do at all. You must pursue Gain.’

‘Ask yourself: Is the purpose of your weekly meeting to identify new target clients or figure out how to improve the process of taking new orders? Or do you use it to go over meeting protocols and talk about employee lateness or inventory status? Is it a Gain meeting that will move your business forward, or is it a Prevent Pain meeting that will simply keep you from falling behind?’

‘Tasks that you are driven toward by Gain produce more significant positive results in your life and your business than tasks that you are driven toward by Prevent Pain.’

‘There is no “have to” with a Gain task, because there are no consequences if you choose not to pursue Gain in your life.’


Written by Michael Haltman, President of Hallmark Abstract Service, New York.

HAS is a provider of title insurance in New York State for residential and commercial real estate transactions specializing in the areas of New York City, Long Island and Westchester. Remember that you have the right to choose your own title company (click here to learn more)!

If you have any questions you can reach Michael by email at

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