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Complete the following sentence; For there to be a winner, there has to be a _______. Most everyone thinks that for there to be a WINNER, there must be a LOSER. This is the default paradigm. It is a subtle belief that for me to really win, someone else must lose. For me to win as a business owner, my employee must lose, or my customer must lose, or my supplier/vendor must lose, and certainly my competition has to lose!

The fourth habit in of Steven Covey’s “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” is “Think WIN:WIN”. If you are playing football or chess, for you to win, your opponent must lose. That makes logical sense for competitive games. But in most of life and business, the ultimate effectiveness is when both parties win. If you “Think WIN:WIN, you will use your proactivity to create WIN:WIN scenarios with your partner. The WIN:WIN person is always seeking to create a resolution where everyone wins.

A sophisticated version of WIN:LOSE mindset is compromise, that says for both parties to win something, they both must also be willing to lose something. WIN:WIN is not the same as compromise. It is taking what is good for me, and good for you, and creating a superior resolution for both parties. In a WIN:WIN resolution, both parties gain more than they would have in a compromise. This is just another way to express the principle of abundance, that there is plenty for everyone.

The practice of this habit requires a high level of proactivity. You must be able to step back from the challenge and begin with the end in mind. You must have a clear commitment to first things, one of those being the advancement of the success of others as well as your own.

WIN:WIN is not allowing others to win at your expense and loss. That is LOSE:WIN. It is not compromise, where both parties must sacrifice something to win. WIN:WIN is a collaborative creation that ends in both parties winning more than they would have by just defeating and dominating their opponent.

WIN:WIN is not always possible or the best solution. It requires both parties to be committed to mutual benefit. But it is a way of thinking that dominates a highly effective person. Everyone winning is by far the best outcome if it can be achieved. It takes proactive skillful communication and leadership to create WIN:WIN outcomes.

Perhaps you are currently facing conflict and disagreement with another person. WIN:WIN is an exciting possibility as you seek a resolution. My challenge is for you to invite that person to work with you to create a resolution where both of you win.

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