One of the most fundamental values of effective people. Make it a habit.
Like you, we (Zenie Foundation) keep learning and evolving. From our early mission of providing financial assistance to college students, we’ve evolved to “helping effective students become effective adults”. Education is a key element, but personal values are the foundation. We are our values; our knowledge and education are simply tools to help apply our values. Our values determine how effective we become as adults.
Have you read “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey? It’s an all-time classic about values and effectiveness. You can buy a paper back copy from Amazon for about $10.00 or a Kindle version for $0.99. I recommend it.
Covey builds a framework starting with Dependence that we are born into, followed by a drive toward Independence as we approach adulthood and finally Interdependence where we mature - recognizing and accepting that we are part of teams, communities and societies. Covey begins the journey from Independence to Interdependence with a Habit he calls Think Win-Win.
Our society and economy create an abundance of benefits so we can create winners without losers, yet we’re surrounded by Win-Lose mentality. It’s based on the concept of scarce benefits so for me to gain benefits you must lose benefits. In game theory this is called a zero-sum game. We suffer, as our politics have become a zero-sum game. Far too many businesses now put profit ahead of serving their customers – Volkswagen, Wells Fargo Bank and Mylan (the maker of EpiPen for life-threatening allergies) to name some recent examples.
Sports are highly competitive and appear to be zero-sum with winners and losers. Professional sports maintain the competition, but in a win-win structure. In the just completed Super Bowl LI, the winning players will receive a total bonus of $165,000 including their bonuses from their prior playoff wins. The losing Super Bowl players will receive a bonus of $117,000. Not a bad consolation.
Golf and tennis are individual, not team sports. Using the 2016 Masters Golf Tournament as an example, the winner received $1.8 million, second place earned $1.08 million and the 10th finish earned $270,000. In these sports, the athletes have no base salary and must live off their winnings. In golf and tennis, the players compete in the same tournaments, often travel together and are friends while competing to win. So professional sports has learned how to build successful industries with intense competition by rewarding winning and losing.
Driving down the highway a few years ago I saw a billboard displaying: “What part of “Thou Shalt Not” Don’t You Understand?” The Thou Shalt Not’s are table stakes (table stakes is a term describing the minimum cost of participation in any activity) and then we each must build our core values to represent what we really stand for.
In my businesses, we lived the value that “we exist to serve our customers”. If we provide our customers valuable products and services, serve them well and run an effective business, our customers will reward us; benefitting employees, management and shareholders. If we want greater rewards, we simply strive to serve our customers better.
Don’t be misled. We’re surrounded by abundance and effective leaders can always create more benefits and rewards. You will be a more effective student and adult if you ALWAYS seek win-win relationships and agreements.
Think about the people you most trust and respect. Aren’t they win-win people? Think of those about who you have reservations. Aren’t they often win-lose people?
Try building your personal habit of win-win in everything you do. Your rewards will be abundant.
Our mission is to help students become effective adults.