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Winning Well: A Manager's Guide to Getting Results---Without Losing Your Soul

Winning Well: A Manager's Guide to Getting Results---Without Losing Your Soul

by Karin Hurt, David Dye
Winning Well: A Manager's Guide to Getting Results---Without Losing Your Soul

Winning Well: A Manager's Guide to Getting Results---Without Losing Your Soul

by Karin Hurt, David Dye


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Today’s hypercompetitive economy has created tense, overextended workplaces, forcing managers to choose between results and relationships. Executives set aggressive goals, so managers drive their teams to deliver, resulting in burnout. Or, employees seek connection and support, so managers focus on relationships . . . and fail to make the numbers. The fallout is stress, frustration, and disengagement—for both team members and managers.But in order to succeed, managers need to achieve both. They must get their workers to achieve while creating an environment that makes them truly want to. Winning Well offers managers a quick, practical action plan—complete with examples, stories, and online assessments. Managers will learn how to:• Stamp out the corrosive win-at-all-costs mentality• Focus on the game, not just the score• Reinforce behaviors that produce results• Sustain energy and momentum• Be the leader people want to work for• And moreTo prevent burnout and disengagement, while still achieving the necessary success for the company, managers must learn how to get their employees productive while creating an environment that makes them want to produce even more. Winning Well offers a quick, practical action plan for making the workplace productive, rewarding, and even fun.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780814437254
Publisher: AMACOM
Publication date: 04/15/2016
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 146,174
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.20(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Karin Hurt is the founder of Let’s Grow Leaders, an international training firm which helps leaders achieve breakthrough results, without losing their soul. She was recently named on Inc’s list of 100 Great Leadership Speakers. Other books include Winning Well.

David Dye is President of Let's Grow Leaders, an International training firm that works with leaders to achieve breakthrough results without losing their soul. Other books include Winning Well: A Managers Guide to Getting Results Without Losing Your Soul and The Seven Things Your Team Needs to Hear You Say.

Read an Excerpt

Winning Well

A Manager's Guide to Getting Resultsâ"Without Losing Your Soul

By Karin Hurt, David Dye


Copyright © 2016 Karin Hurt and David Dye
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-8144-3726-1


Winning Well

"Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.– HELEN KELLER

Too often, managers try to win at all costs, when they should be focused on Winning Well. The hypercompetitive postrecession global economy puts frontline and middle-level managers in a difficult position — expected to win, to "move the needle," to get the highest ratings, rankings, and results. Many managers become hell-bent on winning no matter what it takes, and they treat people like objects — in short, they lose their soul.

This exacts a high price from managers as they work longer hours to try to keep up. Those unwilling to make this trade-off either leave for a less-competitive environment or try to stave off the performance demands by "being nice" to their team. After years of trying to win while sandwiched between the employees who do the heavy lifting and leaders above them piling on more, they give up and try to get along. Inevitably, after prolonged stress and declining performance, they surrender to apathy, disengage, or get fired.

Don't think this is happening where you work? Research says otherwise. According to Gallup, nearly two-thirds of American workers and managers are disengaged. We don't believe that's a coincidence. No one wins in environments like that.

* * *

"You can't be in last place!" Joe shouted, and immediately winced as he saw Ann's exhausted eyes begin to tear up.

Later in his office, Joe admitted: "She didn't deserve that. She's a newly promoted center director working long hours in a fast ramp-up. The problem is, we're out of time. The business plan called for this center to be profitable in six months, and it's been over a year, and we're not even close. My VP keeps calling for updates every few hours, and that just wastes everyone's time."

Joe squeezed his temples. "My people need me to coach and support them, but if we don't improve in the next 90 days, none of us will be here next year. Maybe I need to go."

Joe leads a 600-person call center. The company stack ranks employees, meaning that every representative is assessed on a balanced scorecard of quality, productivity, and financials and ranked in order from highest to lowest. The managers and centers are ranked in the same way, and Joe's center is dead last. The vice president of operations keeps a close eye on those numbers and constantly calls Joe to ask what he's doing about the ranking. Joe spends most of his time putting out fires, answering customer complaints, and crunching numbers in a desperate attempt to move his team up the stack rank.

Whether your organization stack ranks or not, can you identify with Joe's frustration? He's been asked to win a game that feels rigged. He can't possibly do everything he needs to. The company keeps score, and Joe is losing. Every time he tries to win, he ends up hurting people — people he knows are trying as hard as he is.

At this point, he's not sure he can win, but if he can, it seems that victory will cost him dearly. He can feel his soul slipping away every time he loses his temper. It gets results — but at what cost?


Winning doesn't mean you reach some imaginary state of perfection. Winning means that you and your people succeed at doing what you're there to do. The real competition isn't the department across the building or the organization across town. Your competition is mediocrity.

Whether you manage a group of engineers with a government contract to build the next interplanetary satellite, or you supervise a nonprofit team working to save an endangered shrew, or you manage a team of property tax assessors in a large city, or you're a surgeon working with an anesthesiologist and operating room nurses you've never met before to save a patient's life, or you manage a 24-hour convenience store, winning means you achieve excellence. When you win, we have better customer service, better products, better care, better experiences, and a better world. When you win, life is better for everyone.


Winning Well means that you sustain excellent performance over time, because you refuse to succumb to harsh, stress-inducing shortcuts that temporarily scare people into "performing." You need energized, motivated people all working together. Your strategy is only as strong as the ability of your people to execute at the front line, and if they're too scared or tired to think, they won't. You can have all the great plans, six sigma quality programs, and brilliant competitive positioning in the universe, but if the human beings doing the real work lack the competence, confidence, and creativity to pull it off, you're finished.

In fact, in today's connected world, people increasingly expect a positive work environment. When you don't provide it, they can easily go across the street to your competitor or go into business for themselves as freelancers or independent contractors. Now everyone else but you benefits from the time and training you invested.

The stories and best practices in this book come from our experience working with thousands of managers across private, public, and nonprofit industries who have something in common: They must motivate their people to achieve results that often feel impossible. Winning Well doesn't mean you'll be a pushover. It means you'll be a manager known for getting results, whom people respect, and whom people want to work with. You can win — and you can win without losing your soul.


In Winning Well, we share proven, practical tools you can use to inspire your people and achieve excellent results over time. These are the same tools we used in our own careers and we share with all the managers we train and coach. This isn't a book about management theory; we give you enough context so you can understand why something works and how to adapt it for your needs, but our goal is to give you resources you can use right away not just to win — but to win well.

Winning Well is written so you can quickly find the answers you need. We recommend that you read it through and answer the action plan questions at the end of each chapter. You can also use the book as a real-world reference guide for challenges you face. Have a team member who feels left out or needs more challenge? Turn to Chapter 17 or Chapter 19 and solve your problem. Do delegated tasks slip through your fingers? Check out Chapter 9. If you're looking for a quick activity to energize your team or build better relationships, flip through Section 3 and you'll find several that meet your needs.

Every chapter includes real-life examples taken from our experiences or those of the many managers we've worked with. At the conclusion of every chapter is Your Winning Well Action Plan. The questions and activities in these sections are designed to help you apply what you've learned and see changes as soon as possible. Each section ends with a summary of the Winning Well practices essential to your success.

In the next chapter, we'll share the management mindset that is the core of Winning Well. You can take this model with you into any scenario you'll ever encounter and win well. Section 1 concludes with recommendations on how to use data without letting it distract you from what's ultimately important.

In Section 2, Chapters 4 to 11, we give you tools that allow you to win — to achieve meaningful results. These are practical tips, techniques, and tactics you can apply immediately to address performance-related issues, including how to get your people focused on results, how to make business decisions everyone gets behind, and how to quickly hold your people accountable for commitments and results.

In the third section of the book, Chapters 12 to 21 provide you the keys to win well — to motivate, inspire, and energize your team. You will dive into the fundamental needs all employee have and explore practical methods for supporting them in ways that sustain and improve results.

In the final section, Chapters 22 to 25 address challenges you'll encounter on your Winning Well journey. Section 4 gives you specific ways to overcome bosses who don't care if you win well, employees who don't care if they win at all, and perhaps the most difficult challenge — you.


In addition to the tools in the book, we've included a wealth of additional resources, appendixes, activities, and handouts in the Winning Well Tool Kit available online at We recommend you download the tool kit and keep it nearby as you read.


How to Win Well in Every Situation

"'Think simple' as my old master used to say — meaning reduce the whole of its parts into the simplest terms, getting back to first principles."–FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT

In this chapter we share four foundational Winning Well principles: confidence, humility, results, and relationships. In the Action Plan at the end of this chapter you can complete a Winning Well assessment to identify areas where you already excel, and behaviors that could use additional focus.

* * *

"Don't throw fish!"

There aren't many places you'd hear that sentence spoken — unless you spend time in children's classrooms. Then, all bets are off.

David began his professional career as an educator. When you're trained as a teacher, one of the most important professional skills you ever learn is how to manage your classroom. How do you create and maintain a safe learning environment and keep 30 (or more) students focused when many of them would rather be doing something else? How do you prevent misbehavior?

Early in his teaching career, a mentor shared an important principle of classroom management. She called it the "Don't throw fish" paradigm. When it comes to classroom management, inexperienced teachers often default to a list of rules. You'll remember these from your own classroom days: raise your hand to speak, keep your hands to yourself, and stay in line.

But what do you do when a student does something that isn't covered by the rules? Say, for example, he throws a ball at a classmate. The inexperienced teacher says, "Don't throw balls at people."

That's when little Tommy, who ought to be a lawyer when he grows up, grabs a goldfish out of the classroom aquarium and throws it at Susie. The exasperated teacher yells, "Tommy, didn't I tell you not to throw things at people?"

Tommy, impish grin firmly in place, says, "You said don't throw balls — you didn't say anything about fish."

The point David's mentor made is this: You'll never have a specific rule for everything. It is far more useful to have a few simple, straightforward guidelines that apply all the time.

We share many specific tools you can use in specific situations and to achieve specific results, but we don't address every situation you'll ever experience. We can do better. We can give you the Winning Well principles — the model and practices that will get you through any management or leadership situation you'll ever face. When you master these, you'll be ready for anything. In fact, all of the specific tools we give throughout the rest of the book are built on these principles.


Managers who sustain results over time operate from four principles. Internally, they value confidence and humility. Externally, they build on this strong internal foundation with a combined focus on relationships and results. Let's start with confidence, because yours will inspire others' and make the other three principles easier to enact. There are three critical components to managing with confidence: know your strengths, stand up for what matters, and speak the truth.


1. Know your strengths, own them, and use them.

You don't need to manage exactly like anyone else, but you do need to be confident in who you are and what you bring to the table. If you don't believe in yourself, your employees won't either.

One time Karin went on a western cattle roundup with her family. Their young cowgirl guide, Jo, was calm under pressure, clearly knew what she was doing, and kept all the city folk safe. If one of the riders lost control and found himself and his horse surrounded by cows, she'd shout out, "You're a cow," as a fun but clear reminder to get the person back to safety.

Unfortunately for Jo, she lacked confidence. Apart from the high-pressure moments, she undercut her own strengths by saying things like, "Oh, I am not very good at getting people's attention. I really talk too much; it's not good; sometimes I just can't stop talking. I'm sure you would have had a better experience if my brother had led the ride."

Karin watched as people were leaving and saw how Jo's lack of confidence reduced her tips. She had taught the city slickers how much to value her.

Just like Jo's words, your words will teach your employees what to think of you. It didn't matter that she was a young woman. Imagine if Jo had said, "I've been herding cattle with my daddy from the time I was in diapers. Follow me and you'll learn some fun techniques and we'll have a successful evening. Ignore me, and ... well, that can be dangerous. Now saddle up!"

You have strengths. The more you know what they are, own them, and use them, the more your people can respect you.

2. Stand up for what matters.

Jo let a lot of stuff go at the beginning of the session that turned out to be disruptive and annoying. One well-to-do family was quite disorganized and ignored her 17 calls to get their act together. All the other participants ended up waiting for them, which cut into the time for their cattle drive.

A more confident start would have gone a long way. Imagine if Jo had said, "Safety first on this mission. Everyone needs closed-toed shoes, a helmet, and some water. We leave precisely at 5:00 p.m., otherwise the bulls are likely to get a little crazy. If you're not here at five, we'll have to leave without you. Any questions?"

3. Speak the truth.

Your influence and credibility naturally improve when you speak the truth. Confidence is your belief in yourself and your ability to handle what comes your way. When you fail to speak the truth, you undercut your ability to trust yourself.

The most difficult and most important part of speaking the truth is being willing to share tough feedback and deliver bad news — up, down, and sideways. Winning Well means being willing to tell your boss the project is in jeopardy, to tell your peer that his negative attitude is impacting morale, to tell your direct report her body odor could get in the way of her career aspirations, or to admit to yourself that the way you've been doing things isn't working and it's time to learn a new skill.

* * *

Confidence is a critical internal value, but it becomes more powerful when paired with humility. Humility does not mean putting yourself down or allowing other people to treat you poorly. As an internal management value, humility means that you have an accurate self-image. You know your strengths and you know your challenges. You recognize your internal worth and you also recognize and respect the dignity and worth of every human being.


Excerpted from Winning Well by Karin Hurt, David Dye. Copyright © 2016 Karin Hurt and David Dye. Excerpted by permission of AMACOM.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Foreword ix

Section 1 The World of Winning Well

Chapter 1 Winning Well 3

Chapter 2 How to Win Well in Every Situation 9

Chapter 3 Master the Metrics Maze 28

Section 2 Winning-Achieve Results, Get Things Done, and Move to the Top

Chapter 4 How to Keep Your People Focused on Results 39

Chapter 5 Lead Meetings That Get Results and That People Want to Attend 46

Chapter 6 How to Make Business Decisions Your People Get Behind 56

Chapter 7 How to Hold Your People Accountable Without Losing Your Soul 62

Chapter 8 How to Solve the Right Problem Quickly and Get Back to Work 71

Chapter 9 How to Delegate So Nothing Falls Through the Cracks 82

Chapter 10 Get More Done in Less Time 90

Chapter 11 How and Why to Terminate Employees with Grace and Dignity 98

Section 3 Winning Well-Motivate, Inspire, and Energize Your Team

Chapter 12 The Secret to Releasing Your People's Energy 109

Chapter 13 How to Create Confidence and Momentum 118

Chapter 14 Build a Loyal Team of Problem Solvers 128

Chapter 15 Inspire Your Team to Double Productivity 140

Chapter 16 Get the Feedback You Need and the Influence You Crave 148

Chapter 17 Energize Your Team and Ensure That They Own the Results 160

Chapter 18 A Powerful Prescription for Energy- and Soul-Loss Prevention 170

Chapter 19 Great Relationships Require Great Results 180

Chapter 20 Sustain Your Team's Energy and Momentum 191

Chapter 21 Essential Practices That Build Your Credibility and Influence 203

Section 4 It's Time to Win Well

Chapter 22 What If My Boss Doesn't Want to Win and Doesn't Care About Their Soul or Mine? 217

Chapter 23 What If My Team Doesn't Want to Win? 226

Chapter 24 How to Inspire and Motivate Yourself 234

Chapter 25 Your Winning Well Legacy 244

Index 249

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