Image from Alexis Rodrigo
I love watching sport: NRL, AFL, Super 15s, Moto GP, Superbikes and, of course, special events like the Rugby World Cup and the Olympics. In most sports of course there are winners and losers. In fact, as a society, we are taught very early on that in everything we should seek to win no matter what because winners are the ones that society holds in high esteem. Now while this idea of “there is only one winner” is fantastic in sport (except in strange sports like soccer – after 80 minutes the score can be 0-0 and no one wins!! – how does that work???!!!), it is a terrible idea when it comes to relationships or trying to achieve anything with people.
Generally, there are three ways most people approach relationships:
Win / Lose – this says, “I’m right, you’re wrong” and, “It’s my way or the highway.” People who approach relationships like this are usually very strong, dominant people and only feel validated if they get their way.
Lose / Win – says, “I don’t want to rock the boat” and, “I will agree to anything to keep the peace.” These people are always the victims and always give in.
Win / Win – says, “It’s not my way or your way, but a better way.” These people understand and value others, and always seek mutually beneficial outcomes. People like this usually are very successful in life and are seen as great leaders.
One of our team members explains these principles very well using an illustration from his childhood. Apparently when he and his brother were growing up they both shared a love of cake (what child doesn’t!). Anyway, sometimes the unthinkable would happen and there would only be one piece of cake left and they had to decide who was going to get it. Inevitably, they would argue over it. Sometimes the older brother would grab the cake and lick it so his younger brother would not want it (win – lose). Other times, the younger brother would feel like he couldn’t be bothered fighting for it, so would just give the cake to his big brother (lose – win). And, sometimes, they would grab a knife and cut the piece of cake in two (win – win).
If we want to do anything in life of any significance, or we want to build significant relationships and teams, we need to learn how to develop win win relationships. Win win does not mean that we approach life as a committee or even that we try and please everyone all the time (anybody who has tried this will know the futility of that approach). It is more of a mindset that places value in people rather than winning. It’s an approach that determines to find the best outcome and results, to find the best way not just ‘my’ way. To create win win relationships will take work, it will necessitate making the choice to do it, but it’s a choice that will bring fantastic results to you and to those around you if you make it.