As we lead into our fourth habit from the famous book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey, it’s a good time to recap on the first three habits: Habit 1: Be Proactive – Your life doesn’t just happen. We need to proactively set the course. Habit 2: Begin with the end in mind – Develop your own personal mission statement for what you wish to achieve in your life, your career, your business. Habit 3: Put first things first – To be as effective as possible, we must effectively spend our most precious commodity, time. Now habit 4 is all about win-win thinking!
What is the meaning of win-win?
This is an excerpt taken from The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People which summarises habit number four focused on thinking win-win. “Win-win sees life as a cooperative arena, not a competitive one. Win-win is a frame of mind and heart that constantly seeks mutual benefit in all human interactions. Win-win means agreements or solutions are mutually beneficial and satisfying. We both get to eat the pie, and it tastes pretty darn good!” Thinking win-win is predicated on the ability to embrace and encourage human interaction and collaboration. When we look at how most people learn, our experiences and level of self-worth are based on comparisons and competition. We tend to think about succeeding in terms of someone else missing out or even failing – If I win, you lose. When we live our lives like this we soon realise how unfulfilling it is and that life in general becomes a zero-sum game. It doesn’t have to be this way, there is another way to go about things.
How to apply win-win thinking to your business
The habit of living your life based on thinking about a win-win outcome sees us cooperating more than competing. Win-win means agreements or solutions are mutually beneficial and satisfying. If we think about the win-win process in relation to how you run your business, we could consider it as a four-step process:
- For each daily problem/challenge that you encounter – before jumping into defensive mode or reacting to the situation – think about the situation from the others point of view, in terms of the needs and concerns of the other party.
- Identify the key issues and concerns involved.
- Determine what results would make a fully acceptable solution.
- Identify new options to achieve those results that can benefit everyone involved.
You can only achieve win-win solutions with win-win procedures. Win-win is not a personality technique. Here are Stephen Covey’s direct thoughts on win-win: “Many people think in terms of either/or: either you’re nice or you’re tough. Win-win requires that you be both. It is a balancing act between courage and consideration. To go for win-win, you not only have to be empathic, but you also have to be confident. You not only have to be considerate and sensitive, you also have to be brave. To do that – to achieve that balance between courage and consideration – is the essence of real maturity and is fundamental to win-win.” How could you instil the win-win habit in your business and in your life?