There are few things we value more than winning.  From t-ball to spelling bees to the professional sports franchise we adopt, nothing matches the thrill of finishing on top.  It impacts (some might suggest, disproportionally) self-image, the way we relate to those around us, and commerce.

While it’s tempting to go off on the relative value of a distorted or misguided definition of winning, let’s leave that conversation for another day.  For today, here’s the suggestion:

To the degree conversation, collaboration and compromise are critical to innovative solutions, the need to win and our view of what constitutes victory may be the reason progress is so slow.

The Question of How We Keep Score

Where collaboration — never mind compromise — is critical to an ultimate win, is either likely when everyone at the table is dedicated to claiming victory on each point in a respective agenda?

No matter the venue — political, personal or business — when winning an individual conversation is the ultimate measure of stature or success, interactions resemble more an effort to convert than a commitment to collaborate.

When the craft of debate is relegated to who can yell louder or talk longer, meaningful dialogue is no longer a part of the equation.

And in the context of differing but unwavering agendas, real compromise is impossible.

Wherever there is community or team, long-term success — the kind that builds a legacy — almost always turns on leaders that see beyond one debate or issue-of-the-moment.

Any of us hoping for compromise, not to mention sincerely wishing to collaborate and innovate might do well to take a quick look at the definitions of compromise and collaborate. And then check that drive to win today’s conversation at the door.