How to think win/win

Hello and welcome to my blog! I finally finished reading habit 4 from the book “The 7 habits of highly effective people” by Stephen Covey a few days ago and I wanted to share what I learned with you, partly to help solidify the ideas in my head, and partly to encourage you to think win/win in your relationships.

See, I struggle with relationships. I take things personally. I react rather than respond. I jump to conclusions. I get anxious. I am easily triggered. The list goes on. I’m not saying it’s all my fault! People can be very difficult to deal with, but one thing I’ve learned is that you can’t change other people. You can only focus on yourself and try to lead by example.

When I 1st started reading this book 2 years ago (an ex-friend gave it to me as a birthday gift), I was excited. I read the 1st 3 habits. It took me a year (it’s a heavy book, not just in weight but in ideas too). Then I stopped. I think it’s because the book reminded me of her. Honestly, I still mourn our friendship. I’m sure I made my share of social mistakes to make her jump off the friendship train and ghost me, but she wasn’t exactly the loyal type of person. Still, I refuse to speak badly of her because she encouraged my blogging, though she never read my blogs, and she was the one who gave me the confidence to publish my 1st book before the pandemic hit. I think we just have different mindsets, and her being rich didn’t help matters. Rich people make me feel insecure. Maybe because I didn’t grow up with a lot of money, and even though I’m married to someone who gives me what I need and 50% of what I want (I still want a desk, a library, a treadmill, a massage chair, and a coffeemaker), I’m not used to buying people expensive gifts because I don’t even buy expensive things for myself, nor will my husband let me if I wanted to.

It took me a whole year of trying to apply the habits of self-mastery, and failing before I decided to move on to habit 4 and convince myself that continuing the book would be my closure from this lost friendship that I grieve. So after reading the introduction about emotional intelligence and sharing it with you, I decided to read habit 4 and take notes while reading it since that worked very well for me with the emotional bank account post.

However, the notes were 4 pages this time instead of 1 page. So if you’re in a hurry, come back to this post later to read about how to think to win/win. If you’re not interested, it’s okay. I won’t be offended if you leave the post. I’m not good at reading long posts either, so I rarely write extremely long posts.

That being said, I will try to keep my notes precise and not elaborate too much. If you want more details, read the book. I couldn’t recommend it more.

Without further ado, let’s jump in:

Think win/win:

Thinking win/win involves the exercise of unique human endowments:

  1. Self-awareness
  2. Imagination
  3. Conscience
  4. Independent will

This results in mutual learning, influence, and benefits, which require courage and consideration.

A leader can think of win/win rather than win/lose or lose/win or lose/lose. It’s not possible to think win/win all the time, but if you’re able to execute it half the time, you are a true leader.

Effective interpersonal (between people you deal with) leadership requires:

  1. Vision
  2. Proactive initiative (habit 1)
  3. Security
  4. Guidance
  5. Wisdom
  6. Power

You can only gain these characteristics from principle-centered personal leadership (mastering habits 1, 2, and 3).

Habit 1: Be Proactive (rather than reactive)
Habit 2: Begin with the end in mind (don't die with regrets)
Habit 3: Put 1st things 1st (prioritize your values above all)

The principle of win/win embraces 5 interdependent dimensions of life:

  1. Character
  2. Relationships
  3. Agreements
  4. Structure and systems
  5. Process

1. Character (foundation)

Mind map of Character

Character includes integrity, maturity, and an abundance mentality.

2. Relationships

In relationships, trust is the base. Without it, we focus on personalities or positions, leading to negative energy.

Mind map: foundations of relationships

The obstacles to trust are:

  • Deep issues
  • Fundamental differences

The solution is:

  • Awareness
  • Commitment

If all fails:

  • No deal
  • Or compromise

If my emotional deposit is high with you, you will agree to win/win easily.

If my emotional deposit is low with you, you may agree to my face only, or become overreactive and torpedo my idea, or become maliciously obedient, resulting in resentment.

An agreement means very little on paper

Stephen Covey

3. Agreements

There are 5 elements necessary for a win/win agreement:

  • Desired results to be identified
  • Guidelines to specify parameters
  • Resources to identify support available
  • Accountability to set up standards and time frame
  • Consequences to be specified upfront

Traditional authoritarians follow the win/lose method. They have overdrawn emotional bank accounts. They hover over, check and direct in an effort to control people because they don’t trust anyone.

Learner controlled instruction is better for win/win agreements

There are 4 types of consequences:

  • Financial: income, allowance) or penalty
  • Psychological: gain or loss of recognition, approval, respect, credibility
  • Opportunity: training, development perks
  • Responsibility: enlarge or diminish the scope of authority

4. Systems:

The systems must align with the win/win paradigm (habits 1, 2, and 3 together create habits 4 and 5).

So often the problem is in the system, not in the people.

Stephen Covey

5. Processes:

You need win/win means to get win/win ends. The principled approach works better than the positional approach (read the book Getting to Yes for more on this topic).

The essence of principled negotiation is:

  1. Separate the person from the problem
  2. Focus on interests and not positions
  3. Invent options for mutual gain
  4. Insist on objective criteria +external standard)
4 step win/win process

I hope you found this post useful. I worked hard on it. It took me 2 months to read this chapter and take notes. I made these mindmaps and lists to simplify the ideas as much as possible. This is a great book and I recommend it to anyone who is on a self-improvement journey. Thank you for reading. Comment your thoughts below and share this post with anyone who may benefit from it.

7 responses to “How to think win/win”

  1. The graphics are really well done!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks. I made them on Canva website.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. its a great book and great review sadge!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. look forward to your next post

    Liked by 1 person

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