• We are focusing on Habit 4: Think Win-Win here at school. Habit 4 is about mutual benefit, fairness, and abundance. This comes from achieving the Private Victory in Habits 1, 2, and 3. We move from dependence to independence. As we begin Habit 4, we move into the Public Victory and work towards achieving interdependence.


    Think Win-Win isn’t about being nice, nor is it a quick-fix technique. It is a character-based code for human interaction and collaboration.

    Most of us learn to base our self-worth on comparisons and competition. We think about succeeding in terms of someone else failing–that is, if I win, you lose; or if you win, I lose. Life becomes a zero-sum game. There is only so much pie to go around, and if you get a big piece, there is less for me; it’s not fair, and I’m going to make sure you don’t get anymore.


    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 person or organization that approaches conflicts with a win-win attitude possesses three vital character traits:

    1. Integrity: sticking with your true feelings, values, and commitments

    2. Maturity: expressing your ideas and feelings with courage and consideration for the ideas and feelings of others

    3. Abundance Mentality: believing there is plenty for everyone


    There are six paradigms of human interaction: WIN-LOSE, LOSE-WIN, LOSE-LOSE, WIN, WIN-WIN, and WIN-WIN or NO DEAL. Win-Win is the habit of effective interpersonal leadership. It is a belief in the Third Alternative. It's not your way or my way; it's a better, a higher way. The six paradigms are described in detail below.


    WIN-LOSE: "I'm going to win and you're going to lose."

    LOSE-WIN: "Walk over me; everyone else does."

    LOSE-LOSE: "If I'm going to lose, so are you."

    WIN: "As long as I win, I don't care if you win or lose."

    WIN-WIN: "Let's find a solution that works for both of us."

    WIN-WIN or NO DEAL: "Let's find a solution that works for both of us, or let's not play."

    Being highly effective in this habit means to balance courage and consideration within our interaction with others. This means we are willing and able to speak our thoughts respectfully. This is being courageous. It also means being considerate. We are willing and able to seek out and listen to others' thoughts and feelings with respect. When we do this, we are able to develop Win-Win agreements.


    Scott P. Knoebel

    Scott P. Knoebel