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conclusion: “Winning By Any Means Necessary” is a mindset whose time has come – and gone. Changing Behavior Requires Changing Mindsets For many of us, it’s hard to digest the scale of this betrayal. We can’t believe VW would violate US laws in such an extreme and intentional way. We can’t stomach their knowingly pumping toxins into the atmosphere while the rest of the world organizes to tackle climate change. We can’t make sense of their seeming appreciation of customer loyalty while they were secretly violating that trust in the most egregious and nefarious way. There is a hard truth at the root of this mystery. At the end of the day, there is no compliance rule, no regulation, and even no moral imperative, that can hold if the mindset in place is not supporting it. That explains at least part of what went so very wrong here. This principle also tells us something about what needs to change, both in VW and in many businesses that share their mindset about winning. It’s not accomplished by replacing the CEO. It’s not done by inflicting the pain of a slashed stock price. The change we need to prevent something like this from happening again comes from a transformation in the mindset of leaders, who then embed their new values and worldview throughout the organization. Leading wisely and living well requires a different understanding of what it means to win. A mindset that says successful leaders tap into something bigger than

themselves and take honorable action that considers the common good. In this worldview, winning means creating results that are profitable and sustainable, attained through fair play. It means extending your circle of concern beyond yourself or just those immediately around you, to a felt sense of broad, mutual responsibility to care about each other’s safety and well-being. In this mindset, breaking laws to dump poison into the air would make no sense, because we’d understand that since we are part of nature, doing catastrophic damage to our environment would be far, far from “winning.” VW's appalling behavior reveals a disturbing mindset underneath. Any business with a similar, outdated set of values around winning should heed their warning call. You can set your culture in the right direction by taking a hard look at the beliefs that drive your executive decisions and collective action. Then do the real work of transforming problematic mindsets and embedding new ones. This guides you toward a kind of winning that is the true measure of success.  ERICA ARIEL FOX is the President and CoFounder of Mobius Executive Leadership. She is a leadership expert and the New York Times Best-selling author of Winning From Within: A Breakthrough Method for Leading, Living, and Lasting Change. She advises executives and other senior leaders on personal and organizational transformation.

“ You are an aperture through which

the universe is looking at and exploring itself. – Alan Watts


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Profile for Mobius Executive Leadership

Mobius Strip June 2016  

The Next Practice Institute

Mobius Strip June 2016  

The Next Practice Institute