How I Turn From Failure to Success with Win to Fight

Like most people in the corporate and business world, I used to behave in a competitive and driven way. People that know me know that I am one that go all the way to fight to win. Whether it is in business, people management, social or family, I am always goal driven and will go to great lengths to get what I want. Although I am not the extreme 'winner takes it all' and ultra aggressive guy, I am always ready for battles and believe that to win, I must fight hard until I win.

But I fail. This method of fight hard to win is not working. Feedback from my my working partners reveal that they find it tiring to work with me. My friends confide in me that I am too short-term oriented. Although I may achieve what I want, the achievements often come at the expense of relationships and friendships.  I have few duplication of success and each project is getting more and more difficult. Most importantly, I am not happy inside.  I fail.

In 2010, after learning about the Art of War by a 2,500 years-old Chinese ancient military strategist called Sun Tzu (written as Sun Zi in pinyin or 孙子兵法), I decided to dwell myself deep into this subject. I soon started to conduct seminars and talks for corporations and organizations on this Sun Tzu Art of War. To walk my talk, I decided to convert my method of 'Fight to Win' to Sun Tzu's method of 'Win to Fight'.  By 2012, I achieved success and from then on, I only win to fight, not fight to win.

Fight to win is the typical method of plan hard, work hard, push hard and never let anything to happen to chance. Obstacles along the way are to be overcome with all means, and the motto is 'the end justify the means'.  It is about being hard on people with little heart with people.

Sun Zi's Win to Fight method is the exact opposite.  You don't fight to win. You win to fight. What does this means? This means that you don't go to the battlefield and fight to win. Before going to the battle, or better still, without going to the battlefield, you already won. You win without fighting hard or you win without fighting (不战而胜).

How can I win before the fight? There are two ways: win myself first and win others' hearts.

I win myself by fighting with myself. I fight hard to win over my own weaknesses. For example, my biggest weakness is afraid to take risk and as such I become overly conservative or 'kiasu' (meaning afraid to lose).  To win myself, I overcame my weaknesses by doing detailed cost-benefit analysis of all projects before commencing them. In this way I am prepared for the outcome of the project even before I start it. Whatever the outcome of the project I have already 'won' because I have calculated the odds and prepare myself to increase the odds of success.

The other way is to win people's hearts. The most obvious is in leadership and people management. 

In the past when I fight to win, I would tell my staff the goals they are supposed to achieve. I pushed them hard, followed up with them closely and take no reasons as excuses for failure. When I changed my leadership and people management method to win without fighting, I no longer tell my people my goals. Instead I find out what are the goals of my people. For example, the goal of my temporary staff is to get into an overseas university of her choice. So I helped her to enrol in the right overseas universities and once she got in, I helped her to prepare herself for studies in the foreign land. When my staff know that I care for her life's goals more than I care for my own company's goals, she connected to me immediately. I won her respect and she sees me as a friend, not a boss. She naturally asked me what she can do to help me as a friend. I told her my company's goals and link achieving my company's goals to achieving her personal goals. I asked her to help me set up a proper prospecting system and close more sales so that I can release her early for her overseas study. She went all the way in her work and by the 3rd month, she helped me to achieve more sales that I originally asked for!

In dealing with my clients, I win to fight. I ensure that my company's training and coaching programs have distinct benefits as compared to the competitors. For example, we focused on practical applications and provide free consultancy and referrals in addition to training. When my prospects and clients see that I truly care for them and go all the way to help them achieve their goals, they give me not just one-time business but also future and referral business.

My friend, you too can achieve more success if you win to fight and not fight to win. Use the Sun Zi's Art of War method and you'll join the ranks of people over the last 2,500 years that win and win big. Happy winning!

Written by Andy Ng, Chief Trainer Coach at  Contact Andy at 65-8201-4347 or email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. today!

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