Power Play: Play fair, especially when you have the winning cards

Power Play: Play fair, especially when you have the winning cards

This play is the best way to separate honourable Power Players from the not-so honourable.

If you already hold the winning cards, playing fairly is all that’s left. A win is a win; there’s no need to decimate or humiliate your opponent.

If your objective is victory, whatever the project, there can be no joy in watching your opponent fail.

Fair play still means something in business, even if it is on rare display today. There will be a day sooner than you think when you and your opponent cross paths again. Though they will remember that you won, what they will remember far more is that you played fair.

Power Players don’t sour a win with unsportsmanlike conduct.

Though McEnroe was a great tennis player, we remember him most as the guy who screamed at the umpire. Bjorn Borg was simply great.

The story

I got my arse kicked by a competitor.

We were both pitching our boss an idea for a start-up. He didn’t just win – his ideas made mine look so amateur that every time I think about it I want to shrivel up and die.

Worse, I was the designated ‘special person’ in the office and management’s favourite.

Yet he was such a gentleman about it: no rubbing my nose in it, no making me feel like a total failure and no patronising comments about how I should ‘keep my chin up’.

He won fair and square, and he played fair too.

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