Take on the double-win approach

Take on the double-win approach

In his best-seller, ‘The 7 habits of highly effective people’, Stephen R Covey throws open a superb paradigm for success in one’s professional and personal life. Referring to it as the 4th habit of highly effective and successful people, he describes it as the “win-win” habit. Elucidating on the principle, he defines it as a habit in which an individual focuses all his attention and efforts in making everyone a winner, in the game of life.

“Win-win is a frame of mind and heart that constantly seeks mutual benefit... it means that agreements and solutions are mutually beneficial, mutually satisfying... win-win sees life as a cooperative, not competitive arena... win-win is based on the paradigm that one person’s success is not achieved at the expense 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,” he writes, explaining the concept of the win-win philosophy.

This double-win approach is in fact a widely advocated philosophy of many renowned thinkers as well. James Bender, in his book, ‘How to Talk Well’, writes about how it benefits everyone when we mutually help each other. He relates a story of a farmer who grew award-winning corn. Each year he entered his best corn in the regional fair where it won a blue ribbon.

One year a newspaper reporter interviewed him to learn about how he grew blue-ribbon corn year after year. The reporter discovered something fascinating. He learned that the farmer actually shared his best seed corn with his neighbours.

“How can you afford to share your best seeds with your neighbours when they are entering corn in competition against yours each year?” the reporter questioned.

“Why sir,” said the farmer, “didn’t you know? The wind picks up pollen from the ripening corn and swirls it from field to field. If my neighbours grow inferior corn, cross-pollination will steadily degrade the quality of my corn. If I am to grow good corn, I must help my neighbours grow good corn.”

By taking on the double-win approach, the farmer finds his own victory: a convincing illustration on the power of thinking win-win. No one truly wins until everyone wins.

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