For you Star Trek fans, I’m sure you’re familiar with the Kobayashi Maru scenario. In both the original Star Trek series and the movie that was released in 2010, Kirk faced a computer simulation developed by Spock while at Starfleet Academy. The simulation was created as a “no win” scenario to teach the cadets that there could be a time where there is no way to win. That nothing you could do would lead to victory.
As leaders, not just in the military, we must understand that winning may not always be an option. As a leader, how you deal with this scenario will determine the direction of your career. You will notice that while you may face a no-win scenario, that doesn’t mean you must admit defeat. If you are facing defeat, follow this link – Overcoming Defeat. If you appear to be facing a no-win scenario, here’s what you should be doing.
Unlike Kirk, I do believe in the no-win scenario. If you followed the link to Overcoming Defeat, you know that losing doesn’t necessarily mean you have to admit defeat. However, you cannot win every battle or challenge you face. The idea that we can do anything if we set our mind to it is just plain wrong. Yes, champions will say this from the winners platform. Yes, great champions never give up. But there are battles, that we will lose, despite all of our best efforts.
The first thing you need to realize, is that you can’t win them all.
Why is this important? It is important because as a leader, you will certainly face this situation. You will have the boss who is just plain old incompetent. There will be political aspects to an organization that you just can’t surmount. There will be deadlines that you won’t meet, teams you can’t motivate and yes, you may even lose your job. So, cut yourself some slack when you face a no-win scenario.
The second thing you must understand is that you don’t have to fear the no-win scenario.
If you must win every battle, fear will creep into your life, causing you to behave in ways that do not make sense. Fear of losing will cause you to either become too aggressive, or too cautious. It will cause you to second guess yourself and perhaps lead to indecisiveness. If you face your demons before you are placed in a no-win situation, you will be more confident in knowing that everyone faces defeat, and it is how we rebound from defeat that is important, and that our self worth is not centered around a perfect season or a perfect score.
There are many lessons to be learned when facing the no-win scenario, but one that requires mentioning is to face the reality that you didn’t win… and move on. The worst thing you can do for yourself, is to hold on and wallow in self-pity and despair. To win the next battle, you have to move on. As a leader, you don’t want to hold onto the past. You shouldn’t continually beat your head into the wall, trying to win a battle that isn’t winnable. No. Move onto the next battle, knowing that circumstances will be different. That the skills you bring to the table can have a totally different outcome the next time. Be resilient.
All the best!
All the time!