I’m not a winner, I never have been.

I’ll be 50 in a few months and as far back as I can remember I haven’t won anything of significance. I didn’t win in any sports at school, didn’t do especially well academically, and certainly in what is so often a deeply competitive adult world I always find myself coming somewhere between second and last. I’ve come second in several job interviews, in one case actually getting the job when the preferred candidate said no.

For a while this lack of winning bothered me but some introspection identified two main reasons behind my lifelong habit of being the best loser.

  1. I don’t have a psychological need to win. I’m often surrounded by very competitive people who can get really frustrated if they don’t win. I’ve never really cared that much. I’m much more interested in taking part than in winning.
  2. I’m actually not very good at anything. For a brief time in my 20’s I could escape from handcuffs faster than anyone else in the world but other than that brief moment of pointless excellence I’ve learnt that my real skill is being moderately competent at lots of things. It’s not really a super-power to be proud of but it is quite useful when presented with something that needs doing.

That I’ve just won a Director of the Year award from the Institute of Directors is all the more surprising. Except of course, that it’s not an award for me, any more than an Oscar for Best Film is an award for just one person. It’s a reflection of the work of many, many people. Director of the Year is an award for all the people of Delt. The real credit goes to our founders, our clients, our board members and our staff.

There is nothing more satisfying than being able to help people do amazing things. That’s even better than winning, though in all honesty, having now tried it, I do prefer it to coming last.

Giles Letheren – Chief Executive Officer

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