Mastering the Win/Win


And so it goes, on and on. We all do it and we look so ridiculous, but we keep on doing it. What is it about us human beings that we are so sure that we have the right answer, and everyone else with a different opinion is wrong? What if we could find a way to work together and go for the win/win? That is, not a compromise, but a higher order solution that comprehends both sides.

New ideas and solutions are often killed by fear, our judgments and ignorance. Like in the story of the farmer who had a goat. He didn’t treat the goat very well, and the goat did not produce much milk for him. One day, he had this great idea to treat the goat better. He gave her the best grain, petted her and talked nicely to her, and even warmed his hands before he milked her. Before you know it, he was getting more milk than ever before; so much in fact, that he sold the surplus. He did so well that he was able to buy his wife a new dress and then a new coat. The farmer’s wife across the road saw this and became furious. She went to her husband and said, “How come she has a new dress and a new coat and I have nothing? I want you to do something about this.” And so the farmer did; he got his gun and shot the neighbor’s goat. How many times have we shot the neighbor’s goat because we didn’t understand something or felt inferior (a loser) compared to someone else’s success? When were we so determined to have it our way? Or, when have we had our own goat shot?

It takes longer to go for the win/win. And it takes courage and a willingness to listen and to be open to new ideas and new solutions. When someone’s opinion is not being considered, they feel as if they are not being listened to. This is the root cause of poor communication and why people complain about not being heard.

If you are a controlling, domineering authority type, you will have the tendency to go for the win/lose. You’ll win and get your way while the other person feels like he has lost and does not have a say. This disempowers the other person. If you are always going for the win/lose in your conversations, then you have a bunch of losses working for you and around you. It is a powerful leader who can go for the win/win, allowing everyone to feel and act like winners, rather than approaching life with a “you win some and you lose some” mentality. Defeat is not a natural phenomenon: It is an interpretation of an outcome that is brought about by lack of communication and compassion for other viewpoints.

Or are you the one who goes for the lose/win? You’ll lose to let the other person win because you can’t stand conflict; you are the people pleasers of the world. But, people pleasers will often sabotage the outcome, while they appear to agree with their loss of power. In our American culture we are so into “looking good” and “being right”, that we often spend more energy on appearance than on what produces outcomes. That’s why many of us withhold our ideas when we are in a group situation: We are afraid of not having the “right” answers or not “looking good” in front of our peers. The cost for this type of lose/lose attitude is enough to bankrupt a company, and community and the world. By not sharing our ideas and solutions, we withhold our talent and everyone loses.

To go for the win/win, you must set up an environment where there is trust, where people feel that they can share their ideas without ridicule or criticism. Brainstorm the problem until a solution arises that furthers both sides. Encourage out-of-the-box thinking and support each other. Eliminate hidden agendas. There’s nothing wrong with having your own agenda; what makes it dysfunctional is that it is hidden. Get everyone’s views out into the open.

It’s a matter of what you want. You can be right or you can be compassionate and open to others. You can stop walking over people to get your way and start going for winning in all your relationships. Or stop people pleasing and stand up for your point of view. Remember your way of thinking is a contribution, so have the courage to express it; otherwise, we all lose. We further ourselves as human beings when we take the time and energy to go for the win/win.

Johanne Edwards

As an entrepreneur, executive in industry, a business consultant and self development trainer, I have used many techniques, processes and systems to manifest outstanding results. I believe that the small business owner with an entrepreneurial mindset will drive our future economic success. I’m eager to share these Critical Skill Sets with you so that you too can become an UnBEATable entrepreneur. 810-735-7850


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