December 30; When Is Losing Beneficial?
365 Daily Bible Verse &
One-Minute Management Lessons For The Busy Faithful


30 December

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because,

having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life

that the Lord has promised to those who love him.

James 1:12

When Is Losing Beneficial?


“Frank didn’t quit, ” said the decision maker. Frank, a consultant, was being considered for another new assignment on an important political battle —after he just lost a legislative vote. And Frank wanted back in the fight.

I was confused. The big-money-donor, campaign-advisor-boss wanted to keep Frank, the hard-loser. I wanted easy winners. But the smart-money-man wanted someone substantial, a resilient fighter tested by a set back and came back fighting; that is: Frank.

And the boss was right.

Morton Blackwell, founder of the Leadership Institute, in his laws on public policy, explains “Don’t fully trust anyone until he has stuck with a good cause which he saw was losing.”

Every manager’s job is to find that talent that does hard things and doesn’t quit.


C. S. Lewis reminds us that, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone…”

Failure is the wake-up call.

Toyota in the 1950’s was still recovering after World War II. Quitting was not an option. The company and Japan had two challenges in competing on the world market.

They didn’t have capital to finance inventory.

They didn’t have space to warehouse inventory.

“It had to learn how to operate without it,” as writer Joan Magretta, Ph.D., notes. This “meant sharing information with suppliers, treating them more like partners and less like adversaries…Haggling with suppliers over price was always a win—lose game.”

So how did Toyota get to win—win?

Conventional wisdom in manufacturing was that inventory was a necessary evil. You needed to keep extra parts lying around as a buffer, because you took it for granted that the production process would break down periodically.

Rather than risk having to shut down an assembly line because you were short on axels, for example, you kept inventory on hand, just in case.

Unable to afford “just in case,” Toyota developed just in time. If every step in the production process could be made completely reliable, you could have your suppliers deliver the exact number of components you needed, precisely when you were going to need them. (Margot 2002)

Managers in post-war Japan didn’t quit and were forced to be better and smarter through adversity.

When a manager cares, he doesn’t abandon the fight nor the company’s vision. Robert Townsend, CEO of Avis in the 1970’s,

…showed seemingly great vulnerability when he admitted his mistakes far more forthrightly than was customary for CEOs at the time.

“Admit your mistakes openly, maybe even joyfully,” he wrote in the aptly titled Up the Organization. “Encourage your associates to do like-wise by commiserating with them.”

Townsend admitted that his “batting average” was probably no better than .333. “But my mistakes were discussed openly and most of them corrected with a little help from my friends.”

He and King Solomon would have done well together in an executive support group. (Woolfe 2002)

Robert Townsend also advises, “Beware the boss who walks on water and never makes a mistake. Save yourself a lot of grief and seek employment elsewhere.” (Townsend 2011)

Morton Blackwell says, “Pray as if it all depended on God; work as if it all depended on you.”


Frank had worked through the loss and the pain. We firmly believed in our campaign and, in Frank, we had the battle-hardened manager  to spearhead the next battle. As Winston Churchill said, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. James 1:12


What Management Is: How it Works and Why It’s Everyone’s Business, Joan Magretta, Free Press, 2002. Page 103

Leadership Secrets from the Bible from Moses to Matthew—Management Lessons for Contemporary Leaders, Lorin Woolfe, MJF Books, 2002, Page 81

Townsend, Robert C.; Bennis, Warren (2011-01-06). Up the Organization: How to Stop the Corporation from Stifling People and Strangling Profits (J-B Warren Bennis Series) (p. 77). Wiley. Kindle Edition.


You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *