Habit 4: Think Win-Win

Competition is something everyone has been exposed to at one time oranother because just about everyone has played some kind of sport.Sports is all about competition, and it has some benefits. It motivatesyou to succeed, you get an emotional rush when you “win,” you improveyour skills.

Business is also about competition–with othercompanies. Unfortunately, competition seems to occur within a business.People “compete” for having the best idea for something, “compete” fora promotion, “compete” for the attention of the boss. We also completeoutside of business, for example with your spouse over any littlething, or with your children over everything. 🙂

All of thiscomes from a mentality that the things are scarse. Namely, that themore someone else has, the less you can have. While for a few thingsthis is true, the fact of the matter is most things we seek are notscarce, but rather abundant. Everyone can get attention and praise,everyone can contribute and profit from a situation. It takesapproaching things with a Win-Win mindset.

A Win-Win mindsetseeks mutual benefit and is designed to be cooperative. Also, to have acooperative mindset, you must listen to what the other people want andbe honest about what you want. This last part takes courage.

Someother mindsets that permeate our life include Win-Lose, where winningat the expense of the other is the goal, Lose-Win, where you give upwhat you want to the other person despite your feelings to thecontrary, Lose-Lose, where you actively try and bring other peopledown, and Win, which basically means you are focused on winning anddon’t particularly care if the other person wins or loses too, andfinally Win-Win or No Deal where you either come to a mutuallybeneficial agreement or “agree to disagree” amecibly.

So how doto you have a Win-Win mindset? You have the the courage to express yourthoughts and feelings, and the willingness and ability to seek tounderstand the thoughts and feelings of others.

When you have a Win-Win mindset, you can begin to build Win-Win agreeements with others. Win-Win agreements have five elements:

Desired Results: What end you have in mind.
Guidelines: The rules that govern pursuing the desired results.
Resources: What tools you have to use to meet the guidelines.
Accountability: What will be used to measure that the desired results are obtained.
Consequences: What will happen if the desired results are (not) achieved?

Togive an example of this, I recently took my kids to a large playground.The big problem I have with this playground is that my son, almost 6,wants to go all over the place and I feel he is still too small to beout of my sight. I, of course, have to watch my daughter, who is only2. I decided to give into my son and take him to this playground,however I made an agreement with him about what I expected. I had himrepeat the agreement back to me to confirm his understanding. It lookedsomething like this:

Desired Results: We need to be able to seeeach other at all times. If you want to move out of my sight, to adifferent part of the playground, you must ask me first.
Guidelines: Can I see you? Can you see me?
Resources: Eyes and ears.
Accountability: Did he dissapear or not?
Consequences: If the Desired Results aren’t obtained, son would be forbidden from going to this playground for several weeks.

AsI am thinking about this, a large part of thinking Win-Win is embdeddedin the next habit, which is “Seek first to understand, then to beunderstood.” To be truly Win-Win, you must understand the otherparticiants.

tags: 7 habits, self improvement






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