Think Win, Win


The fourth habit taught by Stephan Covey is: think win-win. He points out that successful people have an abundance mentality. They believe people can collaborate and all parties can win. For this reason, they are more cooperative rather than competitive.

Most people have a scarcity mentality. This mindset frames everything as a race, which implies someone has to lose. The masses hurry to get what they can grab and are very secretive about how they solve problems. But successful people want to create mutual benefits. They are willing to share ideas and combine solutions to make win-win satisfaction possible.

For win-win agreements to happen, the following must be clear:

  1. What is the expected result of both parties?
  2. How will the parties work together to get the result?
  3. What resources will the partnership need?
  4. What is the performance standard expected?
  5. What are the pros and cons of working together?

These questions help parties identify personal expectations. They divide the workload and recognize new opportunities and challenges created by working together.

"The essence of principled negotiation is to separate the person from the problem, to focus on interests and not on positions, to invent options for mutual gain, and to insist on objective criteria — some external standard or principle that both parties can buy into."

Given Covey's above description of a win-win situation, some will not work out. In this case, it is better to have tried and failed to collaborate than try and work against each other.

If you like this topic, we highly recommend picking up a copy of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey.