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The fourth habit of highly effective salespeople: Think win-win!

“To go for win-win, you not only have to be nice, you have to be courageous.” [Stephen Covey]

In order to create sustainable, flourishing relationships, Covey explains that we must create a mutually beneficial solution to every situation.

This means that every party within an interaction must benefit and be satisfied by the outcome. This sounds too good to be true, but Covey’s analysis of the six ‘paradigms of human interaction show how possible and, more to the point, essential this all is:

1. Win-win: Both people win. Agreements or solutions are mutually beneficial and satisfying to both parties.

2. Win-lose: “If I win, you lose.” Win-lose people are prone to use position, power, credentials and personality to get their way. They are forthright, aggressive and don’t think of the consequences on other people.

3. Lose-win: “I lose, you win.” Lose-win people are quick to please and appease, and seek strength from popularity or acceptance. But they themselves suffer and often fail to meet the expectations they’ve allowed others to set on them, leading to disappointment on both sides

4. Lose-lose: Both people lose. When two win-lose people get together – that is, when two determined, stubborn, ego-invested individuals interact – the result will be lose-lose.

5. Win: People with the win mentality don’t necessarily want someone else to lose – that’s irrelevant. What matters is that they get what they want.

6. Win-win or no deal: If you can’t reach an agreement that is mutually beneficial, there is no deal.

The only way to create long-term, sustainable, prosperous relationships (which everyone would surely love to have) is to opt for a win-win solution every time

Win-win requires that you have some straightforward, facial conversations to establish what is considered to be a ‘win’ for both parties.

Some people find this too abrupt and will shy away from it. They prefer to appear ‘nice’ and seek to please by offering or accepting tasks which they may not even be able to fulfil. As a result, the tasks don’t get done leading to failure, disappointment and tension. This is a lose-win situation and ultimately leads to both parties losing.

Others find this too soft and prefer to make sure they are gaining the maximum possible from a situation. It may not necessarily be that they seek pleasure from others’ loss, but rather that they fail to recognise and consider the consequences for others around them. This is a win-lose situation and cannot be sustainable long-term.

Covey introduces the ‘abundance mentality’ here – the concept that there is plenty for everyone. This requires a paradigm shift from the ‘scarcity mentality’ whereby people believe that if others have got something, they are losing out.

A competitive environment can very easily be contradictory to win-win. A team spirit and positive, ‘together’ culture must be in place to achieve this.

So what can you do to make a difference?

Think about the outcome, not the journey

Other people may have a different ideal or method to you; as long as they achieve what needs to be done, let them do it in their own way. That way, you’re both winning.

Practice it on every relationship

Think about this concept in terms of your most important relationships in life. Do you have the right balance of give and take?

If not, write down and commit to at least five positive steps you can take to give more than you take. The satisfaction you’ll get is definitely worth it!



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