Vince Lombardi was wrong….


Or was he?

It depends on which of the many quotes about winning, losing and life from the legendary Green Bay Packers football coach, who died in 1970, you pick.

For instance Lombardi famously said, “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.”

I recently had dinner with Mr. Sylvan Schefler, a very wise and seasoned Wall Street senior executive who has seen the ups and downs of winning (and losing) in the market. He was intrigued by the Vested Outsourcing concept: Our approach is to consciously tie the economics of the contract to having all parties “win” in the deal.

Perhaps thinking of Lombardi’s “winning is everything” assertion, Mr. Schefler made a profound statement I thought was worth sharing. He said,  “Vince Lombardi is wrong.”

Could Vince Lombardi actually be wrong?

Well when it comes to football his “winning is everything” philosophy is absolutely correct. However, in the world of international business beyond the 100-yard gridiron that was Lombardi’s universe, it is becoming increasingly clear that approach just can’t work.

Mr. Schefler for example has seen the impact of shortsighted and greedy decisions brought on by the temptations of Wall Street.   He claims that today’s businesses that focus on winning at the expense of others is definitely wrong.

This is the basic game plan outlined in my new Vested Outsourcing book, which is being published by Palgrave Macmillan  (available on Feb 2nd). The heart of Vested Outsourcing teaches us that we need to shift from the What’s in it for Me (WIIFMe) mentality to a What’s in it for We (WIIFWe) approach. Meanwhile, also check my eBook, Vested Outsourcing: Five Rules that will Transform Outsourcing, for more.

When you are shortsighted about returns and you clothesline the other players – to use a football term – no one really comes out a winner over the long term.

We need to get to a place in our business relationships where the emphasis is not on winning above all else but on redefining, if you will, what it really means to win: Achieving success and prospering along with your partners and your relationships.

It’s past time to get past the “me first” and  “winning is everything” mindset of the business world. After all, isn’t that a large part of what caused the Great Recession and the chaos in the real estate, retail, world trade and financial markets?

I like another of Lombardi’s famous sayings, which shows a more nuanced view of the world of winning: “Individual commitment to a group effort – that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.”

He also said, “People who work together will win.”

In that respect Lombardi was not wrong at all, he was right on!


  1. Kate: I do not see these ideas in competition. The Vested Outsourcing idea is about how to select players on the team. You outsource and, as your data rightfully shows, you ensure you are aligned with your outsourcing partner. It truly has to be a WIIFWE because the shipper, or person hiring the outsource partner, and the outsource partner are on the same team.

    The “winning is everything” mentality has to do with the folks on the other side of the playing field. In business, that is your competitor, not your supplier. In that case, yes, winning is everything.

    The problem that can come up is when your outsourced partner is playing on BOTH SIDES of the field. In some cases the 3Pl is providing the same services, the same innovation and the same quality to the competitor of the company who hired the outsourced partner. This causes a problem. Imagine if a football player played for the Green Bay Packers on Sunday and another team on Monday… it would be tough.

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