On winning

Stephanie Finch

August 4, 2017

What winning means to me

Sometimes a film comes out of nowhere and gives you a new hero. With no real interest in Formula 1, I sat down to watch Rush and 2 hours 3 minutes later stood up with a complete infatuation with Niki Lauda.


The Austrian perfectionist is portrayed with a deeply clinical attitude to winning, a stark contrast to the flamboyant charms and natural talents of his rival James Hunt. You could probably make a lot of assumptions about people’s attitudes to work and winning based on who they think the hero of that movie is.


For me, Lauda’s obsession with his sport, his dedication to learning and testing, his high expectations of the team around him and the gruelling demands he made on himself had me singing his praises to anyone who would listen. He was hugely competitive, celebrated the wins, but saw the benefit in learning from his losses; constantly learning and improving to give himself the winning edge.


To win, you have to be able to critique your performance. But it’s not about getting preoccupied with the losses. Something that’s stuck in my head since hearing it was a unique approach to post-match analysis from a certain football manager. He would encourage his team to go to the pub, relax and unwind without too much talk if they had lost their game. However, if they won, the players would be made to endure an extensive breakdown of the game, made to analyse and understand what they each did to contribute to the win, made to recognise what went right.

“To win, you have to be able to critique your performance. But it’s not about getting preoccupied with the losses.”

The same thinking can be applied to PR. Sometimes you can be beautifully prepared, every play thought through, confident in every tactic you have, and yet you walk away feeling like you’ve lost, annoyed the game didn’t go your way. But it’s when the story catches fire, when it’s covered by all the titles you wanted it to and more, created a massive boost to your client’s visibility and goes on to grab industry awards left, right and centre that you need to get back to the office, sit down and thoroughly examine what made the campaign so successful.


There are two kinds of people in this world, people who like to win, and liars. But whichever way the dice rolls, you have to be able to learn from your performance.


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