Love-to-Win or Hate-to-Lose? An Analysis of CEO Motivation

I have been asking my successful CEO candidates this question for years – what motivates you more, do you love to win or the hate to lose?    This question was meant to satisfy my own intellectual curiosity since I didn’t necessarily have a preference for which option a CEO candidate would select.

However, I have become more interested in this concept in light of contemplating the similarities between an elite CEO and an elite competitive athlete.  Like sports, private equity is a high-stakes game filled with winners and losers.  And similar to elite athletes, private equity-backed CEOs are under the highest levels of scrutiny and pressure to perform.

In this post I’ll share several discoveries and provide my opinion on which of the two motivators might be more powerful.

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Intriguing topic….what drives people to push themselves harder than those around them… it the pleasure of winning, or the agony of defeat?


Important data as you make hires for your leadership team, read on to learn which one is the one that consistently results in the most successful leaders, and then  implement some personality profiling tools to identify which of these two options motivates your candidate.


At the very least, incorporate this question into your interviews.  


What do you think pushes someone to work longer and push harder….fear of losing or the anticipated taste of success?


There is definitive data that shows that one of these consistently results in people who outperform others. Can you guess which one it is before reading? 


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