on March 13th, 2013

Dear Colleagues

Undoubtedly Winning is Vital but So is Integrity and Compassion

Over the past few months; we have seen numerous incidents of winning at all costs. Taking drugs, cheating, fraud and even killing competitors.

The pursuit of excellence – of achieving first place is undoubtedly a wonderful goal, whether it is in sport or in engineering. Having the best engineering design – or the most efficient energy design or the fastest machine. Or being promoted to engineering manager or project manager or being voted the best Young Engineer or Technician in the Nation. We all want to be at the pinnacle of success and it is extraordinarily sweet achieving these accolades. It is embedded in our ‘system’ that winning is an extraordinarily powerful motivator in achieving personal or professional excellence.

Certainly, if we all sat back and didn’t strive for excellence with a winning product or service; we would in all likelihood be condemned to mediocrity in everything we do.

For obvious reasons, sadly, very few of us get there.

However, the pursuit of winning at all costs is definitely not a good objective. Using cheating or bribery or fraud to get to the top is disastrous. It is very hard to hide secrets for very long and ultimately you are likely to be ‘found out’ and the truth emerges. Which eventually can destroy a promising engineering career or personal life. In some countries; fraud and corruption are a way of life and professionals use every devious trick in the book to win a contract. But this is simply unacceptable as it imposes a huge cost on the country.

Victory and winning should always be linked with humility, honesty, integrity and compassion for others.

To be honest – simply participating in the race to the best of one’s ability – whether it be a 100 m sprint or a tender for a large engineering project is ultimately all that society really requires. In these situations when you try your hardest and strain every sinew to win you know ultimately you are a winner.

As Arnold Horshak confirms:

Winning is nice if you don't lose your integrity in the process.

Yours in engineering learning


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