The fourth from 7 habits by Stephen Covey Summary
Habit #1: Be Proactive
Habit #2: Begin With the End in Mind
Habit #3: Put First Things First
Habit #4: Think Win-Win
Habit #5: Seek First to Understand…Then to be Understood
Habit #6: Synergise
Habit #7: Sharpen the Saw
Habit #4: Think Win-Win
The fourth habit is introduced with an overview of habits four to six, which work together to help us accomplish the first three habits. Habit 4 is the root – it is the fundamental paradigm of seeking mutual benefit – the nurturing attitude out of which understanding and synergy grow.
While no one likes to lose, we often go into situation with a win-lose mind-set. The consequences of win-lose on a family are devastating – in fact no one actually wins when this paradigm is followed (win-lose bankrupts the Emotional Bank Account of family members; and results in children who grow up unable to make healthy decisions). If the paradigm is lose-win the result is co-dependency which is also destructive (if we use a lose-win approach we may be popular in the short-run but will find that we have no standard or respect). Once we realise that both of these paradigms are actually lose-lose, we will want to move to the win-win paradigm.
We will grow as a family when we move from "me" (a scarcity mentality) to "we" (an abundance mentality). A good family or marriage require service and sacrifice. When we love another and seek to live with a "we" mentality when we make a sacrifice we are actually giving up something small for something big.
Two characteristics produce healthy, lasting marriages:
(1) both partners stop being single at heart and become married at heart; and
(2) they care more about the health of the relationship that they do about winning arguments.
Covey draws on Frederick Herzberg's motivation insights and says:
(1) don't expect a lot of praise and appreciation from children;
(2) eliminate as many dissatisfiers as possible and
(3) don't define satisfaction for your children.
To move towards win-win in a family we should do the following:
(1) Let children win in the little things.
(2) Interact with children around the big things.
(3) Take steps to offset the competition focus (stress that team work and co-operation are more important than beating others).
One of the hindrances to win-win living involves expectations that are not clarified. We need to share vision, expectation and assumptions that will guide our family.
There are five elements in creating win-win agreement in our family interaction (Covey uses a case study to flesh out these elements on page 192):
(1) Desired Results – we explore with the person what we would like to see happen.
(2) Guidelines – we share guidelines for how they could accomplish the task;
(3) Resources – we discuss the resources that are at the person's disposal;
(4) Accountability – we place the onus on them to be responsible for the task; and (
5) Consequences – we explore consequences that will follow if the task is not handled correctly.
While to think win-win is at the heart of what family is all about, it can be an incredibly hard thing to do when we are caught up in the emotion and the behaviour of the moment. We must pause between what happens to us and our response. The key is to connect with the earlier habits: like keeping our destination in mind. Also we will expert a powerful influence to bring out the best in others if we act on the assumption that they are doing their best as they see it.
Follow the next habits next week… Blessed.. Enjoy!! Let's Build our family 🙂