Habit 4: Think Win/Win

“7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Dr. Stephen R. Covey

Analysis by Bob Bugle

“Habits are powerful factors in our lives. Because they are consistent, often unconscious patterns, they constantly, daily, express our character and produce our effectiveness…or ineffectiveness.” Dr. Covey

Dr. Covey defines a habit as the intersection of knowledge (what to do), skill (how to do it) and desire (wanting to do it). Unless all three elements are involved, a good habit will never be formed. Merely knowing what to do and having the will to do it produces ineffective results if we don’t possess the skill set required to accomplish the task. Similarly, having the knowledge and skill but lacking the desire accomplishes nothing.

Habit 4: “Think Win/Win”

It’s been said that people don’t care about what we have to say until they believe we care about them as people. If this is indeed a truism, then convincing people that their well-being is top of mind for us can be a daunting task given the skepticism and cynicism that pervades modern culture. (Someone told me the difference between a skeptic and a cynic is that the cynic has more/better information.)

As a society, instead of trusting others unless they prove to be undeserving of that trust, we prefer to be suspicious of others’ intentions unless or until they prove to have earned our trust. This negative world view is not just limited to individuals we encounter whom we’ve never met, but corporations we believe are trying to sell us products and services we don’t need and can’t afford, political figures who we believe say what they think we want to hear instead of what they truly believe, and institutions that seem to focus on the expansion of their own influence, to the detriment of the people they were designed to serve.

Companies that are successful most often understand and value the relationships they have with their customers and employees and practice Win/Win.  Healthy personal relationships are also founded on a mutually beneficial Win/Win philosophy. When we stray from the Win/Win philosophy, relationships immediately begin to deteriorate, followed quickly by any agreements upon which they were founded.

According to Dr. Covey, there are six (6) Paradigms of Human Interaction. Following is a listing accompanied by a brief description of each:

Win/Win:  “A frame of mind that constantly seeks mutual benefit in all human interactions. Win/Win means that agreements or solutions are mutually beneficial, mutually satisfying. With a Win/Win solution, all parties feel good about the decision and feel committed to the action plan. Win/Win sees life as a cooperative, not a competitive arena.”

Win/Lose:  “This is the authoritarian approach. I get my way, you don’t get yours. Win/Lose people are prone to use position, power, credentials, possessions or personality to get their way. Winning is beating the other person as in an athletic event or in a court of law. Most of life is an interdependent, not an independent reality. Most results you want depend on cooperation between you and others.   And the Win/Lose mentality is dysfunctional to that cooperation.”

Lose/Win:  “Lose/Win is worse than Win/Lose because it has no standards. People who think Lose/Win are usually quick to please or appease. The seek strength through popularity or acceptance. In negotiation, Lose/Win is seen as capitulation.  In leadership style, it’s permissiveness or indulgence. Lose/Win means being the nice guy even if nice guys finish last.”

Lose/Lose:  “When two Win/Lose people get together the result will be Lose/Lose. Because neither individual can win, both will lose. Both will become vindictive and want to get back or get even, blind to the fact that murder is suicide, that revenge is a two-edged sword.”

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.  A person with a Win mentality thinks in terms of securing their own ends, and leaving it to others to secure theirs.”

Win/Win or No Deal:  “When individuals cannot come up with a synergistic solution, one that is agreeable to both parties, an even higher level of expression than Win/Win would be Win/Win or No Deal. No Deal basically means that if we can’t find a solution that would benefit both parties, we agree to disagree agreeably-No Deal. No expectations have been created, no performance contracts established. It is much better to realize this up front instead of downstream when expectations have been created and both parties have been disillusioned.  When you have No Deal as an option in your mind, you feel liberated because you have no need to manipulate people, to push your own agenda. You can be open, and really try to understand the deeper issues underlying the positions.”

Win/Win is not some slick sales or negotiating technique to be learned in a one day seminar. Win/Win is a philosophy of human interaction. It demonstrates to others our deep-seated belief that their needs are as important as our own. That we understand that if their needs aren’t met, the successful outcome we thought we achieved in reaching the agreement will not come to fruition.

 Relationships are built upon trust.  Mutual trust is created when both parties believe that the other person has their potential partner’s best interest at heart. Where there is no trust, there can be no agreement. 

Bob Bugle's career spans 25 years in commercial advertising sales and management including Radio (Pittsburgh-Hearst Corp.) and Cable Television (Pittsburgh and Baltimore-AT&T, Comcast). For the past 13 years, Mr. Bugle has assisted businesses and Church-related organizations in their efforts to market to the Catholic/faith based community via ad placements in faith based media including national and local Print, Digital and Radio, as well as select commercial media including Outdoor, Transit, Cable Television and national/local Print (Baltimore-Cathedral Foundation), and since 2009 expanded to include healthcare recruitment advertising (George Washington University Medical Center) as the owner/founder of Bugle Media Services. Personal: Married for 38 years, Bob and Bobbie Bugle have two children, Stephanie and Cliff and live in Forest Hill, Maryland. Bob is a graduate of Duquesne University, is past President of the Pittsburgh Radio & Television Club (renamed Media Association of Pittsburgh), is an active member of the Knights of Columbus, Chairs the Finance Committee of St Margaret’s Parish in Bel Air, MD and has presented at numerous national and regional conferences for the Radio Advertising Bureau, Cable Television Advertising Bureau and the Catholic Press Association. Hobbies include golf, gardening and Civil War reenacting.