As I mentioned in April 2013, over the next few months I will be sharing some information with you from one of the most powerful books I have ever read. The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey is a book that helped to transform my life and reorganize my priorities around what is most important. This book is one of the five most influential books I have ever read. Because the book is so powerful I want to share some of the highlights with you that are provided directly on the Stephen Covey website. The seven habits are: Be Proactive; Begin With the End in Mind; Put First Things First; Think Win/Win; Seek First to Understand, Then To Be Understood; Synergize; and Sharpen the Saw.
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Habit 4: Think Win-Win
Think Win-Win isn’t about being nice, nor is it a quick-fix technique. It is a character-based code for human interaction and collaboration.
Most of us learn to base our self-worth on comparisons and competition. We think about succeeding in terms of someone else failing–that is, if I win, you lose; or if you win, I lose. Life becomes a zero-sum game. There is only so much pie to go around, and if you get a big piece, there is less for me; it’s not fair, and I’m going to make sure you don’t get anymore. We all play the game, but how much fun is it really?
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 great!
A person or organization that approaches conflicts with a win-win attitude possesses three vital character traits:
- Integrity: sticking with your true feelings, values, and commitments
- Maturity: expressing your ideas and feelings with courage and consideration for the ideas and feelings of others
- Abundance Mentality: believing there is plenty for everyone
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.
So how are you going to reshape your attitude to reflect win-win thinking?
Charles D. Sands, PhD, MEd
Dean, College of Allied Health
Professor, Health Science