Habit 4 – Think win / win

Habit 4 is based on an idea called the abundance mentality – that there is plenty out there for everybody. It is about co-operation not competitiveness. One person’s success is not necessarily achieved at the expense of the success of others.


Win/Win is one of six total philosophies of human interaction which show possible outcomes during interactions between people:


1. Win/Win – People can seek mutual benefit in all human interactions.

2. Win/Lose – The competitive paradigm: if I win, you lose. In relationships if both people aren’t winning, both are losing.

3. Lose/Win – The Doormat paradigm. The individual seeks strength from

popularity based on acceptance.

4. Lose/Lose – When people become obsessed with making the other person lose,

even at their own expense.

5. Win – Focusing solely on getting what one wants, regardless of the needs of


6. Win/Win or No Deal – If we can’t find a mutually beneficial solution, we agree to

disagree agreeably no deal. This approach is most realistic at the beginning of a

business relationship or enterprise. In a continuing relationship, it’s no longer an



The principle of Win/Win is fundamental to the success of all of our interactions. The Win/Win process begins looking at people’s character and moves towards relationships from which agreements can flow. A Win/Win environment has systems and processes to ensure success.


Character is the foundation of Win/Win and everything else builds on that foundation. You must show integrity and be mature. You must find the balance between consideration and courage – if you can listen and empathically understand a person but also have the courage to confront and ensure your voice is heard a Win/Win situation is possible.


Relationships occur when both parties are committed and try to understand each other’s viewpoints. They work together to find a solution that benefits everyone. At this stage if it is not possible to find this solution, No Deal is always an option.


Once a relationship is successfully underway agreements begin to happen. They provide the direction and definition to create a Win/Win situation. Agreements must have high trust levels and a mutual understanding and include the desired outcome, guidelines, resources etc to make a Win/Win situation happen.


The reward system is vital in a Win/Win model. It is pointless having a Win/Win model in place the rewarding Win/Lose. You can’t reward a few team members for positive performances because then team members who didn’t get rewarded will lose. As people learn to think Win/Win they can put in systems to create and reinforce it which will eliminate any competitiveness and focus on success.


Finally the process to arrive at a Win/Win situation is to:

  • See the problem from the other persons view point
  • Identify the key issues and concerns involved
  • Determine what results could deliver the best situation
  • Identify new options to achieve these results


Overall Habit 4 shows that when thinking Win/Win, agreements and solutions are mutually beneficial and satisfying for each party involved. It is not your way or my way but a better way.



One response to “Habit 4 – Think win / win”

  1. Anthony Chadwick says:

    another great post. Thanks Kathryn. Collaboration is always more fun than competition too!

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