Win Together – Covey’s Fourth Habit


Win-win - Nathan

In our efforts to Find a Better Way, Strategic Americans all attend Franklin Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People workshop. Over the next few months, you’ll hear about each of the seven habits from a different SA associate.

Over the past several years we have taken our entire company through Franklin Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.  One habit that seems to resonate the most with nearly everyone is Habit 4 – Think Win-Win.

As a general rule I believe we all understand and try to attain win-win outcomes in our relationships, our families, and in our business.  Realizing it doesn’t always happen, but it is definitely worth the effort to reap the benefits.  While there is much to learn from this habit, the critical aspect to being successful in this habit lies in the very first word – Think.  The Think portion of this begins with your mindset. The way we think directly impacts our actions, both positively and negatively.

Every one of our actions is a direct result of the way we see things – the way we interpret people and happenings.  Everything is filtered by the way we think.  We end up at win-win by balancing cooperation and competition with the hope that it will deliver mutually beneficial outcomes as described by Franklin Covey.

Let me give you a personal example.

My wife was gone for the weekend and my son James and I were going to do a special activity. However, before we could do the activity James had a list of to-dos from his mom to complete – included on the list was that he must have his room cleaned before anything else.  As any good teenage boy would do, he accomplished his high-level cleaning in under three minutes and was ready to go.  After a quick inspection, you guessed it, it was still a mess.

A brief argument ensued over the exact definitions of what mom meant by “clean room” and how his bathroom, while filled with dirty clothes, was not technically part of his room. This was also supported by the fact that mom didn’t specifically ask him to clean his bathroom.  You know the drill.  I felt my blood pressure beginning to escalate.  Then I remembered my goal – to have a fun and memorable time with my son.

In that moment I had to think. I had to decide what outcome I wanted.  While an agreement as to what was required had not been determined, I suggested if he wanted to go on our fun outing he had one hour to get the job done and if he started right away I would help him clean his room – but he only had my help for the next 15 minutes.

Guess what happened – we quickly accomplished the task and had a wonderful weekend together.

I’d like to say it’s just that easy, but unfortunately at least for me I don’t always think that clearly in the heat of the moment.

Why a personal example? Because habits, good or bad, practiced in any part of our lives, impact other areas – including our business relationships.

Think about a situation you are currently challenged with, take a step back and think like Franklin Covey would.  Outline what would be a win for you (easy part) and then write down what would be a win for the other party (not as easy).  Shift your thinking to what would be an acceptable win for them and begin to chart a course of action to come together with them while not losing sight of what is a win for you.


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