Choosing Second Best

Second best

Sometimes second best is the best.

Yesterday I chatted with Davis Taylor, founder and leader of TAI Incorporated. I wanted to learn more about the Pro Development Assessment™ my coach, Bob Hancox recently gave me. Bob pointed me to Davis.

Not surprisingly, we talked more about leadership than anything else. Our conversation turned to benefits of second best.

Two benefits of choosing second best:


Davis said, “Second best can be more effective. Sometimes I take a second best because more people buy into it. That makes it the best because more people get aligned.”


Young leaders grow leadership muscle when they run with their ideas, not yours. In this case, their way is the best, even if you don’t think it is. Davis said, “You build for the future by allowing second best.”

Rejecting second best:

Davis said, Reject second best if its:

  1. Immoral or unethical.
  2. Permanently damaging.
  3. Something that takes you out of the game.

Rethinking best:

Helping others find their best is best.

People achieve most when they find their best, not yours.

Battle for best:

When you believe your passion is best and theirs is second best, you become convincer. Convincing is conforming them to your passion. It’s adversarial, perhaps covertly, but adversarial, none the less. Sometimes it’s manipulative. Other times it’s rational.

Win the battle; lose the war:

It’s impossible to passionately live someone else’s passion. Fueling passion in others isn’t pressuring and conforming, it’s aligning.

Suppose you convince them your passion is best. Your way is “right.” Theirs becomes second best. Congratulations, you won. In the process, you lifted yourself and pushed them down. Next time, they’ll give-in easier. Perhaps they won’t resist at all. Or, they’ll move on.

Eventually, you’ll wonder why they’re not engaged. Why don’t they take ownership? Why aren’t they motivated?

What benefits can you see for choosing second best? What dangers?