This week we read Habits 4 and 5 in Stephen Covey’s “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.”
In Habit 4 “Think Win/Win,” Covey explains that for the most effective relationship interactions, the most valuable solution is to seek mutually beneficial goal. He explains 6 paradigms of human interaction:
- Win/Win (Mutual benefit in all human interactions)
- Win/Lose (I win, you lose)
- Lose/Win (I lose, you win)
- Win (I work for my own good and leave you to work for your own end)
- Lose/Lose (both parties lose – a vindictive mentality)
Do you have an example from your own experience where you achieved (or not) a win/win situation?
Covey explains that there are 5 dimensions essential to the principle of Win/Win:
- Character – there are three character traits essential to Win/Win:
- Integrity – so true! You cannot have a good character without a the ability to make and keep commitments.
- Maturity – Covey explains that maturity is when someone can express his/her “feelings and convictions with courage balanced with consideration for the feelings and convictions of another person.” (pg 217)
- Abundance Mentality – a belief that you hold that there is plenty out there for everyone to have their fair share.
- Relationships – trust in the other person in the relationship leads to win/win. Without trust, the best that we can hope for is compromise.
- Agreements – a clear, mutual agreement about the following five elements lead to a partnership relationship that bring about Win/Win:
- Desired results
- Supportive Systems – Only if you walk the walk and actually follow thru with the Win/Win mentality (rather than just talk about it) Win/Win will thrive.
- Processes – Covey believes the following four-step process helps with negotiation:
- See the problem from the other’s point of view.
- Identify the key issues and concerns involved.
- Determine which results would constitute a fully acceptable solution.
- Identify possible new options to achieve those results.
Which of the five dimensions essential to the principle of Win/Win mentioned above do you think are most often lacking to cause a solution other than Win/Win?
Habit 6 Covey calls “Seek first to understand then to be understood” – the principle that is key to effective interpersonal communication.
Communication is one of the most valuable skills in life. Covey makes the point that we spend years in school learning to read and write, take speech classes, etc, but what about listening? Communication cannot take place with listening. Most people do not listen with the intention of understanding; they listen with the intention of replying. Listen to understand is what Covey calls “Empathic Listening.” It is trying to understand the other person’s paradigm. We all know people that seem to listen to reply, not understand. I find those people untrustworthy – they are only interested in hearing themselves speak!
Covey compares “seek to understand” to “diagnose before you prescribe” – we have to understand what is going on first before we come up with a solution.
Because we listen autobiographically (from the perspective of our own paradigms), we tend to respond in one of four ways:
- We evaluate
- We probe
- We advise
- We interpret
These responses are second-nature to us, but they do not help us to understand the other’s paradigm. We need to empathetically listen. Empathic listening involves four developmental stages: mimic content, rephrase content, reflect feeling, rephrase the content and reflect the feeling.
Once you understand the other person with whom you are communicating, then you are able to seek to be understood. When you can present your own ideas clearly, specifically, visually and in the context of the paradigms of your audience, you significantly increase the credibility of your ideas.
Why does Covey consider the principle of seeking first to understand then to be understood so important? What does he mean by it and how is it relevant in your life?
- Do you have an example from your own experience where you achieved (or not) a win/win situation?
- Which of the five dimensions essential to the principle of Win/Win mentioned above do you think are most often lacking to cause a solution other than Win/Win?
- Why does Covey consider the principle of seeking first to understand then to be understood so important? What does he mean by it and how is it relevant in your life?