Is ‘winning together’ a reality or an overstatement?


Winning is like one side of a coin. It has a flip side too. When someone wins, there’s certainly someone out there who loses. Or is it the only way to grow in the times to come?

The times that we live in are such that collaboration is key and working together to build synergies that encourage larger growth of individuals and organisations alike, has become the focus of all. Hence the phrase, ‘winning together’! It has become the talk of the town, with people using it for all kinds of endeavours to convey their efforts in supporting a win-win for all. But in reality, is a win-win even possible? Winning is like one side of a coin. It has a flip side too. When someone wins, there’s certainly someone out there who loses.

‘Winning together’ is largely used by corporates to highlight how teams across functions synergise for growth. Well, in times when cross-functional exposure and understanding defines, how smart or efficient a professional is, ‘winning together’ may sound practical and doable; and like the only way to ensure holistic growth and expansion. In fact, Harlina Sodhi, senior executive vice president HR, IDFC Bank, is of the view that the key skill of the future is going to be the ability to build communities. “Emergence of ‘network orchestrator’ rests on the premise that ‘winning together’ is the only way to go. Days of gladiator are over!” she opines.

Anil K Misra

Working in silos is a thing of the past. While leaders a few decades back took pride in their fancy closed cabins, leaders of the day are opening up to be more approachable, collaborative and supportive of the teams. Successful leaders now boast of nurturing efficient teams that don’t just work together but ensure that everyone gets an equal opportunity to perform, learn and grow. Various organisations have this at the core of their ideologies and culture. For instance, the careers page on the website of Dell boasts of ‘winning together’. It reads, “Winning together: that’s what really differentiates Dell” and the description says, “We are known for having a very high caliber, dedicated and resourceful team, who operate in an open, transparent, friendly environment with a common unifying purpose…”

Harlina Sodhi

While there are various other organisations these days that mention ‘winning together’ as one of their ethos, it may not be all true when it comes to reality. The contrarian view that emanates from the actual corporate scenario, is that despite the fact that organisations cannot function with individuals performing well, but teams across functions and levels doing a great job, during appraisals it is individuals who are rated and rewarded and not teams on the whole.

In line with this, Anil Kumar Misra, CHRO,, says, “Winning together sounds good as a slogan, but is hardly practiced.” Elaborating this within the corporate scenario, he says that the performance management system that exists in most organisations is a great example depicting the farce in ‘winning together’. “Most often we promote individual performance and rarely team performance,” he adds.

Taking this deeper down the roots, Misra explains that the disconnect exists not just at the corporates but even at the academic level. “Our academia promotes individual brilliance and not team based scores. Then how can we expect the same students to demonstrate team cohesiveness at work places? There is a huge gap between the intent of the statement and our actions.”

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