Try win-win instead of hardball

Teamwork is essential in healthcare. Yet, too often, we act as individuals looking after our own interests. Solving problems together, even if the objectives seem opposed, is beneficial for all parties for many reasons.

Stephen Covey introduced the principle of win-win in his book the Seven habits of highly effective people. It’s still a great principle for conflict resolution, incl in teams, groups, organisations etc. Covey:

Win-win sees life as a cooperative arena, not a competitive one. Win-win is a frame of mind and heart that constantly seeks mutual benefit in all human interactions. Win-win means agreements or solutions are mutually beneficial and satisfying. We both get to eat the pie, and it tastes pretty darn good!

A win-loose outcome is bad for all parties. Even though the winner may feel triumphant, the loser may not want to deal with the winner ever again.

So what’s required for a win-win result? First of all it requires an open mind. Black & white or good & bad thinking is not helpful and often not realistic either. Secondly, understanding the other party is crucial:  Where do they stand? What is important for them? Where is the common ground?  And finally: flexibility, as there are always more solutions to a problem.

Win-win is not about being nice, as Covey said. It’s about being courageous and considerate at the same time.

The seven habits according to my son

At breakfast my six-year old son mentioned he knew ‘the seven habits’. I couldn’t believe my ears. Was he talking about the seven habits of highly effective people, by Steven R. Covey?

“What kind of habits have you learned?” I asked.

He put down his cup and said to my amazement and surprise: “Habit one: be proactive.” So this is what children learn in school these days!

Here are three of the seven habits of highly effective kids, according to my son:

Habit 1: Be proactive

“When I start cleaning up my room before mum asks me to. ”

Habit 3: First things first

“When I do my homework first, and then play a game on the iPad.”

Habit 4: Think win-win

“When Daniel and I don’t agree and we find something we both like.”

If only all adults would strive for mutually beneficial solutions, set their priorities based on importance instead of urgency, and take responsibility for their choices in life…