In Dr. Stephen Covey’s classic book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, the fourth habit is: “Think win/win.”  This habit is the first one of the seven that involves how we relate to others.  The idea is, if we are pursuing success with the first three habits that involve self-mastery, then we will be prepared to pursue those relational elements with the same degree of success.

Notice personal success precedes success with others.  Think win/win means we abandon the idea that for me to win the other person must lose.  I call this habit, “the negotiation habit.”  It means I actively pursue agreements with others that allow them to benefit as well as me.  In that sense, we both come out winners.

This also means I have to be thinking about what the other person needs or wants.  I should always be approaching the relationship with the attitude of, “you may very well be able to help me, but more importantly, what can I do to help you?”  If I do that, then I can build creative solutions.  But those creative solutions will not materialize if I am not seeking them.

Think win/win means I am thinking about the other person as much as about me.  Think win/win means we look for ways for everyone to benefit.  Think win/win can even mean we decide to part ways; sometimes that may be in everyone’s best interests.  “I’m sorry, but I can’t help you.  And to pretend I can would be doing us both a disservice.”

The applications are many, but only one best solution exists.  Win/lose?  Lose/lose?  Lose/win?  I think I will aim for win/win every time.

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About James Meadows

Currently I serve as a training team manager for Johnson Controls at a customer-care center in Kansas City. Additionally, I am a business consultant, a freelance corporate writer, an Assembly of God ordained minister, a Civil Air Patrol chaplain, and a blogger. I believe we are living in the most fascinating times of human history. To maximize the opportunities these times present, I have a passionate interest in leadership development and organizational success, both of which I view as inextricably linked.

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