Andrew was still upset. The contract was lost and there was nothing he could do about it. He had lost his appeal with the purchasing agent, the procurement manager and the director of operations.
“We did everything by the book,” he said. “This is the way we have earned all of our major contracts. Our reputation is stellar. I can’t believe this is happening.”
“You got sucker-punched,” I observed.
“What?” Andrew replied.
“Sucker-punched,” I repeated. “We often think that our future success lies in the fact that we had one small string of successes in the past. We think that the curve in front of us continues upward without hesitation. We do not realize that, as we continue to do things the way we have always done, the world subtly changes. The nuances of the deal creep up, new players enter the game without detection, and suddenly we are on our ass.” Andrew’s face showed no emotion on the outside, but his eyes betrayed a growing realization.
“There is good news, though,” I continued. “This is not a game. This is life. In a game, there are few second chances. The final period has an ending, even overtime is sudden death.
“In life, in business, there are lots of second chances and the final period can be extended. But only if you stop thinking about your past success and start thinking about what has changed around you.”