Principles vs. Position
Covey explains the concept of "Think Win-Win" in Habit 4. He shows that a principled approach to negotiation, instead of a purely positional one, leads to superior outcomes for all parties involved, because it fosters better long-term relationships and sustainable agreements.
A principled approach involves the application of fairness, integrity, and mutual respect. The focus is on interests and mutual benefits rather than specific positions. Instead of viewing the negotiation as a zero-sum game where one's gain is another's loss, a principled approach encourages all parties to identify and strive for mutual gains. In this context, the negotiation becomes a problem-solving exercise where all parties collaborate to achieve the best outcome for everyone involved. It requires self-awareness to understand one's own needs, imagination to think of creative solutions, and independent will to be committed to reaching the best result for all.
On the other hand, a positional approach to bargaining is based on taking a fixed position, often rigid, with a strong attachment to that specific outcome. The negotiator is unwilling to deviate from their stance and considers any compromise as a loss. This approach can lead to a competitive, adversarial, or even combative environment. It supports a mindset that sees the negotiation process as a battlefield where one party wins and the other loses. This can harm the relationship and even prevent the possibility of future fruitful collaborations.
Essentially, the principled approach aligns with the win-win mindset, because it is about coming together to achieve mutually beneficial results, thereby preserving and even enhancing relationships. It involves empathy, understanding, and creative problem-solving. The positional approach, in contrast, is a win-lose or lose-lose strategy that can undermine relationships and often leaves at least one party feeling unsatisfied.
If they apply the "Think Win-Win" principle, people and organizations can develop more cooperative and fruitful relationships, which can then lead to better outcomes for everyone involved. This principled approach promotes better harmony and greater respect among parties. It also helps to establish a longer-term environment that encourages collaboration and mutual benefit.
Covey, S. R. (2020).The 7 habits of highly effective people. Simon & Schuster.
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