Think Win-Win Means Everyone Can Win

painted cliffs

At The Leader In Me Symposium (TLIM) in San Antonio last week, I heard perhaps the most succinct definition of “Think Win-Win” from an elementary school student.

TLIM is a conference for teachers, administrators and anyone interested in incorporating the principles of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People into an academic setting.

A student, whose name I was not quick enough to write down, stood before a crowd of over a thousand and explained why “Think Win-Win” is his favorite habit. He then told us what he thought it meant:

“Think Win-Win means EVERYONE CAN win.”

And that my friends, is a lesson all us adults can stand to learn.

It’s not that getting to win-win is easy. It’s not that everyone will be willing to come along without some serious convincing. It’s believing from the start that there is a WAY that everyone can win; we just need to work at finding it.

Now here’s where it would be all too easy to devolve into some kind of rant about the way society is these days, or to blame one generation’s way of doing things for all of our problems, but that’s not where I’m going with this.

What I’m saying is that I believe, like that eloquent student at the conference, that we are much better off when we start in a place where it is possible for everyone to have their needs met.

Of course, it’s always easier to go for a quick solution, often at the expense of the interests of others. It’s always faster to work in spite of others instead of with them. It’s always cheapest (in terms of our personal commitments) to avoid truly finding out what makes others tick.

Yes, getting to win-win takes work, but it has to start first with a mindset. And that mindset means believing it’s possible to begin with!

Image credit: “Painted Cliffs” by JJ Harrison ( – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons .

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