IN THIS SUMMARY
According to Kanter, winning creates a “halo” effect, which encourages positive behavior, and positive behavior, in turn, makes further wins more likely. In addition, the probability of future success makes it easier to attract the best talent, the most loyal fans/customers, and the most willing investors—those eager to commit money, time, reputation, emotional energy, etc., to ensure the perpetuation of victory. By the same token, losing repels and breeds the kind of qualms that make it more difficult for teams to bond and to attract new talent, loyal fans/customers, and willing investors. Any company, group, team, or individual can be swept along by these persistent patterns of winning or losing, which the author maintains are often a matter of confidence — “the bridge connecting expectations and performance, investments, and results.” And, though confidence is a ubiquitous term, used in a wide variety of circumstances, few really understand that it is a primary factor (driven by fundamental principles) in the simplest sports contests as well as in the most complicated business and political situations. Drawing on her comprehensive investigation into the successes and failures of organizations in business, college and professional sports, education, health care, and politics, Kanter employs the dynamics of confidence to explain the cultures of success and failure, why winning and losing streaks perpetuate themselves, and how to transform the forces of decline into cycles of success. Kanter’s contribution to management theory and practice, community problems, the emotional and investment climate of nations, and the “personal game of life” is that she brings the reality of continuing success and repeated failure down to earth. Her illumination of the “science” and “psychology” of confidence cuts through what might have been a daunting complexity in less deft hands and offers a description and analysis that transforms an abstract concept into an accessible “how-to.” It is a theory and practice of success, offered to executives and managers, concerned with business strategy, managers and employees, seeking ways to cultivate teamwork and a creative work environment, and professionals and community activists, interested in the trajectories of success.