Define the Win

Define the win

Happy New Year!  I love the way January 1st is a natural prompt for fresh starts and new opportunities.  As you curl up with a cup of coffee and a fresh sheet of paper or new document on your computer, ready to write your goals for 2017, I encourage you to stop and take a step back.  Don’t worry – I’m not one who dismisses the importance of setting goals.  In fact, my next blog post will be all about goal-setting.  I just think most people jump into setting goals too quickly.  There’s a critical step that you need to take first.

Define the win.

You may be wondering what in the world that means.  Especially if you aren’t the coach of a sports team, or a sales manager.  It doesn’t matter who you are or what you do – you need to know what it looks like to win.  We are right in the middle of football season.  When you’re watching a game, you easily know if your team is winning – because you know the definition of winning – the team with the most points wins.  What if a coach never told his team that simple idea – that they need to score the most points in order to win?  Or what if the team wasn’t told which end zone was theirs?  They could work very hard at playing football but never know if they were winning or losing.

Have you ever really thought about what a win means for you?  What does it mean for you to win in 2017?  The ability to clearly identify a win is essential for you personally, professionally, relationally, and as a leader.  Without a clear picture of your win, you can set goals (even reach them!) but not accomplish anything meaningful.

So, how do you define the win?


Defining the win starts with identifying several broad categories.  What is important to you?  What areas do you want to be intentional about?  Narrow those down until you have between three and five areas to focus on.  When I define the win personally, I often focus on the spiritual, financial, health, career and relationship aspects of my life.  Then, for each of those areas, decide what it looks like to achieve victory consistently.  A key to this step is asking the question, “Is this something I can control?”.  


If I am defining the win for myself financially, “winning the lottery” would not be an appropriate choice.  No matter how many lottery tickets I set a goal to purchase, I have no control on whether I win.  A better way to define the win would be “Have the ability to be generous when opportunities to be generous occur. ”  I can control how generous I am, and I can control taking steps to become more generous.


After you’ve done this for each area, you are ready to set goals!  My financial goals may include attending a class on finances, consistently contributing to a savings plan, and paying off debt.  I could do all three of those things without defining the win, but they would be much less impactful.


As a leader, I helped our kids ministry define the win several months ago.  Our core values focus on impacting kids spiritually, partnering with parents, and creating an empowering volunteer experience.  As a result, we focused on the three broad categories of kids, parents, and volunteers when defining the win for our teams.  I asked the leader of every area in the ministry to answer the question, “What does it look like to win with (kids/parents/volunteers) in this area?”  The intention was that every single volunteer would know that they are making a difference in the lives of the people they are serving each week.  With a well-defined explanation of what this looks like, they are able to serve in confidence and with intentionality.


It was important to develop wins specific to each department.  A win in Kids Services looks very different from a win in Elementary or Babies.  All of the wins worked together to fit under the broader wins for the kids ministry.  Here are the wins that the Babies room established:

Win with kids:  Every child will enjoy their experience with us as their families are enjoying the worship experience.

Win with parents:  Every parent will know their child had fun, and their physical needs were met 100% of the time they were with us.

Win with volunteers:  Lasting, loving relationships are built as we consistently work together as a TEAM!


Once you’ve defined your win, display them.  Keeping the win in front of you will help you consistently evaluate whether the actions you are taking will keep you headed in the right direction.  If you turn on a football game and see no score on the screen, and no scoreboard on the field, it will be much more difficult to know if your team is winning.  Set yourself and your team up for success by communicating and displaying how to win openly.


What does it look like for you to win in 2017?  I would love to hear what a win looks like for you!


2 thoughts on “Define the Win”

  1. Dave says:

    This is an important concept. One thing that, however, that gets in the way for many people: believing they CAN win. Maybe you could address that in a future post.

    1. That’s a great point! I think that would make a great future post. Stay tuned!

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