#221 Think Win/Win +

Habits #4 + #5 of Highly Effective People

Continuing our series on Stephen Covey and his awesome book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, today we’ll look at Habits #4 + #5: Think Win/Win + Seek First to Understand.

But, first, a little pop quiz: Can you recall the first three habits? 😃

The science of learning says: One of the best ways to make something stick is to quiz yourself. The act of trying to recall something actually strengthens your memory of it.

So… Do you remember the first three habits? (Also, know that explaining an idea to someone else is a REALLY good way to master the subject yourself.)

OK. Enough on learning. Our first three Habits: Be Proactive. Begin with the End in Mind. Put First Things First.

Today: Think Win/Win + Seek First to Understand.

We have Covey to thank for the “Win/Win” concept becoming a part of our culture but let’s unpack it a bit. What’s it mean to think win/win?

Well, the easiest way to operationalize it is to go back to the golden rule. Treat others the way YOU want to be treated. And, of course, make sure you’re treating YOURSELF the way you’d like to be treated.

Result? Win. Win.

You win. The other person wins.

The alternatives? Well, the obvious: You win, they lose. Or… The less obvious but equally sub-optimal: You lose, they win.

(Which way do you tend to fall when you miss the win/win mark?)

That leads us to another one of the best ways to make sure everyone wins: Habit #5: Seek First to Understand.

Covey tells us that before we seek to be UNDERSTOOD we want to seek to UNDERSTAND.

What is it the other person wants and needs? It’s hard to help someone create a win if we don’t know what that looks like for them, eh?

When approaching any kind of deal, I like to say, “Your ideal is my ideal.”

Then we get to have fun seeing where the other person’s ideal maps over our ideal—which, of course, requires we understand ourselves—which, of course, brings us all the way back to Habit #2: Begin with the End in Mind.

We know what we want. We seek to understand what the other person wants. All with the intention of making sure everyone’s winning.


Back to you: Got any important relationships that could use a little Optimization?

What’s one little thing you can do to sprinkle some win sauce on it today?

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