Habit 4 - Think Win/Win

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

The Better Option - Win/WIn

Steven Covey tells us that most people think in terms of either/or: either you win or lose; either you are nice or tough; either you are agressive or you get run over. Win/Win thinking is about the better alternative, the third option. It's learning not to think "If I win, you lose" or "If you win, I lose". It's about asking "How can we work it out so that we BOTH WIN?" Doing this takes both consideration and courage. Consideration means looking at the issue through the eyes of the other person. It involves listening and tryinig to understand what that person really wants. However, you also have to have be courageous enough to speak up for your interests.

Three Vital Character Traits for a Win/Win Attitude

A person or organization that approaches conflicts with a win-win attitude possesses three vital character traits:

  1. Integrity: sticking with your true feelings, values, and commitments
  2. Maturity: expressing your ideas and feelings with courage and consideration for the ideas and feelings of others
  3. Abundance Mentality: believing there is plenty for everyone

It's All About Relationships

Win/Win thinking is about collaboration, not competition. It's about trusting and being trustworthy. Most of all, its about relationships. In Habit 1, we learned the importance of being proactive. Win/Win requires that same proactivity toward realtionship building. We learned in Habit 2 to begin with the end in mind. When we are negotiating with somone, what is the "end" we seek? To win or defeat the other person? Or to work together to achieve a solution acceptable to all? The unintentional "end" to this way of thinking is the establishment of an empathetic relationship based on trust. Putting first things first (Habit 3) allows us to determine before our interactions what is most important to us. We then can listen to others to determine what their most important wants and needs are. In that way we can begin to develop relationships that are founded upon integrity, maturity, and the belief that there is plenty of "wins" for everyone.

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Source: The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People (Steven Covey, 1989)