Moving Away From a Culture of Losing

Chess Win

I first noticed this at one of my son’s football games a few years ago.  His team had been on a losing streak for several weeks, and it made a difference in the way they played the game.  And with each new play that went astray, their approach to the next one was affected.  

In the same way, there is a “Culture of Losing” that develops over time in some organizations and churches.  

Here’s how it plays out:  After experiencing a series of “losses” the team begins to expect to lose.  And before long, without even realizing it, they may actually begin planning to lose.  Then the team knows nothing of winning, only of losing, and a “Culture of Losing” is the result.  “Losing” becomes the norm.  It’s what they know.

But one good win can change everything.  It can turn a game around, put wind in your sails, provide hope, and plant the seed of a “culture of winning.”  

I watched it happen in my son’s football game after a great play.  I felt it on the 18th hole of a round of golf when, after 17 holes of  lame attempts, I hit the ball straight down the fairway.  I noticed it in the attitudes of team members after a successful event that followed ones that were not so successful.

Good leaders recognize the frequency of “losses” and learn to ask themselves the following question:  Without manipulation or ‘head games’ with my team, what small wins can I create that in turn will create momentum enough to banish the “Culture of Losing” and create a new “Culture of Winning?”   

Never underestimate the power and momentum of a good win – no matter how small.


4 thoughts on “Moving Away From a Culture of Losing

  1. Good thoughts and I have to admit that I never though of an application to church life. I wonder how much of this has to do with why small churches tend (on the whole) to stay small and large churches just keep growing. I know we see a lot of stuff trending towards multi-campus now, and even see older dwindling churches turning over the reigns to be multi-campus. (sometimes with great results)

    Thanks for giving me something to mull over.

  2. Peter – Yes, there is definitely application to the “small staying small & large getting larger” trend.

    I would say, however, that it applies to multi-site strategies in the same way it applies to other situations – a win builds momentum; a loss drains energy.

    Not all mulit-site ventures are sucessful, but when they are, people see the ‘win’ and want to be a part of it.

  3. Definitely agreed on that part, though I think some have the right people/culture/alignment w/ God’s purpose going already. I really do appreciate the idea of the wins building momentum and the losses draining it. I guess right now I’m just trying to move us toward some small “wins”. It feels harder in an older, established church just because those types of congregations in general are set in their ways, have a pattern for doing things, and have their core of workers. Newer congregations always seem to have the type of attitude where everyone has a job and everyone is important as opposed to “those people have their job and I’ll sit back and watch”. (note – not trying to tie to any one church or group, just my observations of established churches vs plants)

    We’re going to try something new next month that I hope is just the beginning. I guess we’ll see how it goes and move from there. I definitely want us to become more of a service-oriented small group and hope that will spread some. I appreciate that our pastor regularly interacts with people and is deliberate in his relationships and sharing of the gospel. It’s inspiring and to me is just one of those wins to which you refer. 🙂

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