There are two general buckets you can put entrepreneurs, especially ones who have achieved some level of success: playing to win or playing not to lose. If you think about it, this approach or strategy, whether explicitly identified or not, plays out in many different activities and actions.
Some areas that differ when playing to win vs trying not to lose:
- Aggressiveness with hiring, especially in the fight for talent
- Willingness to lead a market and innovate vs being a follower
- Timeliness of decision making and the speed with which new information is received and a decision is made
- Internal culture with a propensity to try new things vs a fear of sticking one’s neck out on a new initiative
There’s no right or wrong answers when it comes to playing to win or not to lose but it’s important to identify which is which and how your startup operates.
What else? What are some other differences between startups that play to win instead of not to lose?