Win / Win is a frame of mind and heart that constantly seek mutual benefit in all human interaction. Win/Win means that the 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 and not a competitive arena. Most people tend to think in terms of dichotomies:
Strong or weak, win or lose. But that kind of thinking is fundamentally flawed. It is based on power and position rather than on principle. Win / Win is based on the model that there is plenty for everybody, that one person’s success is not achieved at the expenses or exclusion of the success of others. Win / Win is a belief in the Third Alternative. It is not your way or my way; it is a better way, a higher way.
If individuals do not come up with a synergistic solution one that was agreeable to both they can go for an even higher expression of Win / Win or no Deal.
No deal basically means that if we cannot find a solution that would benefit both of us, we agree to disagree agreeably – No Deal. No expectations have been created, no performance contracts established.
We do not take on a particular assignment together because it is obvious that our values or our goals are going in opposite direction. The Win / Win or No Deal approach is most realistic at the beginning of a business relationship or enterprise. In a continuing business relationship, No Deal may not be a viable option, which can create serious problems, especially for family business or businesses that are begun initially on the basis of friendship.
In every Win / Win agreement, the following five elements should be made very explicit:
Desired results: To identify what is to be done and when.
Guidelines: To specify the parameters (principles, policies, etc) within which results are to be accomplished.
Resources: To identify the human, financial, technical, or organizational support available to help accomplish the results.
Accountability: To set up the standards of performance and the time of evaluation.
Consequences: To specify – good and bad, natural and logical – What does and will happen as a result of the evaluation. These five elements give Win / Win agreements a life of their own.
Seek First to Understanding, then to be understood.
This habit, seek first to understand then to be understood is the key to effective interpersonal communication.
Communication is the most important skill in life. People spent years learning how to read, write and speak, but what about listening? What training or education one has that enables him to listen so that he really understands deeply another human being from that individual’s own frame of reference?
Technique alone cannot help in being effective in the habit of interpersonal communication because technique can be sensed as duplicated and manipulated. We typically seek first to be understood. Most people do not listen with the intent to understand, they listen with an intention to reply. They are either speaking or preparing to speak or reading their autobiography into other people’s lives.
To be effective one has to build the skills of emphatic listening (from empathy). Empathic listening is not active listening or reflective listening, which basically involves mimicking what another person says. Empathic listening means listening with an intention to understand to really understand.
Empathic listening gets inside another person’s frame of reference. You look out through it, you see the world the way they see the world, you understand their point of view, you understand how they feel.
Empathic listening is so powerful because it gives you accurate data to work with. Instead of projecting your own autobiography and assuming thoughts, feelings, motives, and interpretation, you are dealing with the reality inside another person’s head and heart. You are listening to understand. You are focused on receiving the deep, communication of another human soul.
The habit, seek first to understand, then to be understood is very critical in reaching win /win solutions. Seeking to understand requires consideration; seeking to be understood takes courage. Win/Win requires a high degree of both.