Habit 4 – Creating a Win-Win

Habit 4 of the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People is “Think Win-Win.” I’ve been avoiding posting here because I honestly have no idea what to write.

Win-Win Situations makes sense – in theory – but I have yet to see it used consistently in practice. I’ve seen companies come close but most miss the mark entirely because of Trust issues. Or because someone does not recognize that opportunities for constructive criticism are just that: opportunities. Creating a Win-Win is very delicately hinged on creating an environment of Trust and Respect.

But they exist! I’ve seen families, marriages and friendships blossom under Win-Win scenarios. I’ve created them, often unwittingly, for myself and loved ones on the small scale. The key to this hope lies in the Abundance Mentality.

While the world and its people are hardly black and white, the stressful holiday season is like a laser beam on those who endeavor to share and create opportunities (Abundance Mentality) and those who manipulate and scheme to get their way at all costs (Scarcity Mentality). At the root of this scheming is self-centeredness. You can see it in line at the store, at Christmas dinner, even in Facebook status updates.

Self-centeredness and self-absorption comes from a fear that:

“I will not have enough.”

When we operate from the standpoint that there is not enough out there for us, whether it be money, food or love, we become stingy. We are insecure and untrusting. We feel that others are out to get us, take our share and work to protect what is ours with the defensiveness of an inmate at mealtime. And really, how can we make room for others in our hearts and lives if we focus entirely on ourselves?

The fact of the matter is, most Americans have more than enough even during these tough times. If you are reading this blog, you have internet connection and the invaluable skill of literacy. If you aren’t reading this blog (moot point, but let’s make it anyway), how much do you really need? Food, shelter and companionship are the three that strike a chord with me. I have those and much, much more. There is no need to be stingy with what I can share: my time, love, support, attention, insight and knowledge. Tomorrow, I’m giving blood. I’ve got plenty, it takes minimal time and effort, and there are a lot of people out there who need it. Simple enough. I just have to trust that my body will keep making more. If it it doesn’t, well I guess I will cross that bridge when the time comes.

Operating from a place of trust means we are more willing to give of ourselves to help those around us. And those we help? Well, therein lies the value of professional networking. Those who remember us for the good we do, for being reliable, dependable and knowledgeable, are more likely to speak highly of us and find a way to ultimately return the favor. Do unto others, as they say.

So while I wait patiently – or perhaps just look more closely – for evidence of “Win-Win” in reality, I will continue creating abundance by sharing what I can and expecting more will find its way to me. Call it The Law of Attraction, call it Business Karma, call it common sense. It’s already working.

Have you seen an instance of Win-Win Situations in your work or personal life? If so, please share it in the comments below.

Discussion of the remaining habits can be found here.