Win-win thinking is the practice of reaching your goals by building up others as opposed to trying to defeat them. This is a philosophy, value, habit, practice, strategy or tactic that can be applied to any business or personal goal. The following are illustrative examples of win-win thinking.
Win-win StrategyA win-win strategy is a strategy that overcomes a tradeoff that others assume must be made. This is commonly described with the analogy "having your cake and eating it too." Tradeoffs are an inherent part of strategy but it is common to incorrectly assume that two things are a tradeoff based on a false dichotomy such as freedom versus security or freedom versus safety. As an example of a win-win strategy that defeats this false dichotomy consider a neighborhood that implements natural surveillance that increases freedom and security at the same time.
Abundance MentalityAbundance mentality is the philosophy that their is enough for everyone such that another person's success doesn't diminish or threaten your own. Where others may fight for share of a pie, a person with abundance mentality bakes more pies.
Employee SatisfactionIndustrial firms traditionally viewed employees as labor that could be monitored and controlled to increase productivity. This didn't work very well for knowledge workers where productivity is linked to factors that can't be controlled such as creativity. This resulted in a win-win shift in the management of employees whereby employees where given goals and incentives to reach these goals. By measuring goals at the level of individual contributors, firms began to realize that some employees are extremely productive. This resulted in a further win-win shift whereby firms sought to measure and improve the happiness of high-performing employees as measured by employee satisfaction in order to avoid losing them to the competition.
Productive CompetitionWin-win thinking doesn't necessarily avoid competition but rather embraces it as a healthy opportunity. This can avoid negative strategies that hurt all such as a price war and allows for potential collaboration and mutual benefit. For example, a Japanese restaurant finds that a half-dozen competing Japanese restaurants have opened up in their area in the space of a year due to the large Japanese community in the neighborhood. The owner adopts the win-win mindset that the area may eventually resemble a business cluster that attracts more business for all. As such, they work with local community groups and businesses in the area to have the neighborhood designated a "Nihonmachi" or "Japantown."
Good BusinessThe principle that a business will leave the world better off including impact to the environment and the quality of life of stakeholders and communities where the firm operates. This may be required to survive into the future as societies are increasingly unwilling to accept the economic bads created by firms.
ComraderyTeams that develop a strong sense of shared identity and purpose may support each other in the spirit of comradery.
Servant LeadershipViewing leadership as a supportive role such as a coach, mentor, collaborator, partner and advocate. This can be contrasted with leaders who feel they have to dominate and keep down talent because they feel threatened. By building up and collaborating with the talent around them, servant leaders develop large professional networks based on positive relationships.
Authenticity & CandorBeing yourself and being forthcoming with the truth such that you aren't trying to defeat anyone with subterfuge. This can be a reasonable strategy to win. For example, a salesperson who admits to the weakness of a product may be viewed as likable and trustworthy.
OptimismWin-win thinking requires optimism that can see beyond the constrained resources, competitive threats and problems of today to see opportunities to work with others to achieve a leap forward. For example, a manager who tries to learn from a talented rival in hopes of making great strides forward in their career.
NegotiationWin-win thinking is a basic approach to negotiation whereby you try to offer the other side something that is better than their BATNA. Negotiating with intent to "defeat" the other side is unlikely to work unless you have a strong negotiating position.
This is the complete list of articles we have written about thinking.
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