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Seek “win-win” opportunities

Stephen Covey highlighted the importance of “thinking win-win” as his 4th Habit of Highly Effective People. As we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. today, he sets an example for us in what it looks like to seek win-win opportunities. He recognized situations that were definitely win-lose or lose-win and worked diligently to find new solutions that are truly win-win.  When we work with teams, partnerships or coalitions, particularly when our members are mostly volunteers, the only way to keep people engaged and actively participating is to figure out the “win-win” opportunities. Join me this week as we discuss 3 simple ways to seek “win-win” opportunities.

  1. Know what is important to you (and those who provide you funding! 🙂 Take the time to reflect on your priorities, your capacity and your greatest skills and contributions. Recognize what you (and your organization) values. Know your mission, vision or charge. Know what those who provide your funding find important so that you can recognize what a “win” really looks like.
  2. Ask your team or partnership what is important to them. This may seem completely obvious, but I’ve found that it’s really easy to make lots of assumptions about what we think other people value without actually asking them. You can ask them in many different ways (depending upon the situation, your relationship with them and time available). You can develop a brief electronic survey, conduct individual meetings with a list of questions you ask every person or facilitate small group discussion(s) with a list of key questions.
  3. Evaluate current and future opportunities carefully. Once you know what is important to you and your funders, and you know what is important to your partners and team members, then you can evaluate current and future opportunities based on this information. When someone comes to you with a fantastic grant opportunity, does it align with what is important to you and your partners? Or perhaps you have a limited amount of funding and you have to make a decision which program to support.  What is most important to you and your partners? If you cannot find a win-win, perhaps you turn down the opportunity altogether. It’s better to decide “no deal” than to put yourself in a win-lose or a lose-win situation with your partners!

Similar to our conversation last week on logo wars, it’s really important to have honest and open conversations so that you really know what is important and how to evaluate opportunities. Also, it is completely ok to acknowledge that we all have our own set of goals and priorities. We don’t need to hide or pretend that there isn’t a “self-interest” component to ourselves or our partners. We just need to be careful that we don’t let our self interests win out over other interests (aka win-lose).  Keep considering what can be a “win-win” opportunity and move in that direction!

How have you been able to seek and determine what win-win opportunities look like for you and your team, partnership or coalition?

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