The first three habits are part of what Covey calls the Private Victory. They are about you, about reaching a state of independence. The next three habits are part of the Public Victory, which brings your from independence to interdependence. The Private Victory alone brings forth individual producers, the Public Victory creates leaders and teamplayers.Habit 4 is called Think Win-Win. If you work in large companies you probably heard that expression a lot of times already, maybe even so often that it landed on your bullshit bingo cards.Win-win is misused very often and comes down to a win-lose proposition in a pretty package. Think Win-Win is about adopting a new paradigm, the paradigm of creation instead of the paradigm of competition.
Covey sums up seven different paradigms of interpersonal interaction:
- Win / Win
I win and you win. This is looking for an
alternative solution that creates value for all parties involved. This is based on the premises of abundance.
- Win / Lose
I win, you lose. This is a highly competitive mindset, based on the premises of limited rewards.
- Lose / Win
I lose, you win. This is where someone accepts a loss, just to make the other feel good. Sounds strange? Ever caved in to an apparantly pointless argument, saying “Allright, if it’s that important to you, we’ll do it your way”. That’s a typical Lose /
- Lose / Lose
This happens when people are too competitive and need to win at all cost. This ultimately ends up in a lose / lose situation.
This is a mindset that’s only focused on winning, regardless of what it brings to others. The others are not in the equation here. This in effect is the mindset of someone who hasn’t gotten out of the private victory yet.
- Win / Win or no agreement
This is a mindset where people want to agree to a win / win solution, and if not possible, decide to do no business at all. “Let’s agree to disagree agreeably.”
This is not in the original list of Covey, yet he mentions it in the text as a viable option, albeit undesirable at most times. A compromise is where both win and both lose a little.
Abundance or limited rewards?
The paradigm of abundance is critical as a basis for the habit Think Win Win. If rewards are limited, win/win is hard, if not impossible. If you believe in abundance however, than there’s enough for everybody to go around. Or as Covey puts it, it’s not about getting a bigger piece of the pie, it’s about making the pie bigger!
The mindset of abundance is also a central theme in the movie The Secret. However they don’t make it very clear that this is not about the resources. Resources are limited in a lot of ways. The mindset of abundance is about the rewards! The rewards are abundant, the resources are only a means to an end. If the resources you have in mind are not available, what other ways are there to get to the rewards. That’s the central theme of the mindset of abundance.
Look for the third alternative
Imagine two people interacting and both have a solution that the other does not regard as a win. Anything other than a win/win attitude would defend their solution, as this brings them the biggest win. A lot of energy will be wasted in a competitive process of negotiating
and arguing, and at best will result in a Compromise (limited rewards are divided among them). Or as a cliché: 1 + 1 = 1.5
Now the win/win attitude says to believe in abundant rewards, so if the original solutions don’t provide enough rewards for either, the energy will go into a creative process where the focus is to look for a third alternative, where the total reward is bigger. As a cliché again: 1 + 1 > 2
I’m thinking win/win, but HE/SHE IS NOT!
Sounds nice and all this win/win attitude, but I’m the only one doing the win/win part. If only the other one… That’s the trick isn’t it? How can you successfully use win/win, when the other isn’t?
Well first of all, this isn’t a trick. Win/win is a paradigm, a mindset. You have to genuinely want to achieve a win/win solution, not aim for win/win but settle for win/lose if it proves too difficult.Covey calls this the character dimension. Character is built on integrity, maturity and the mentality of abundance. Maturity (as defined by Hrand Saxenian) is the ability to express one’s own feelings and convictions balanced with consideration for the thoughts and feelings of others.
To do this in a relationship, you have to show respect for the other. When it comes down to achieving your goals through this relationship, the win/win mindset calls for seeing it from the others side, trying to understand what the other is wanting to achieve, for the sake of finding a way to get both wants fulfilled. And in the end, if you want win/win to succeed, you have to make agreements that support it, reward systems that reward it, and processes that support it. However in this article I’m not going to elaborate on these
A short recap
Habit 4 Think Win Win is the first of three, that form the Public Victory. It brings you from independence to interdependence. The Public Victory needs the basis of the Private Victory, that consists of the first three habits. The posts about these habits can be found here:
Next week I’ll cover habit 5: Seek first to understand, then to be understood
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