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  • Simon Rickman

How to turn lose-win in to win-win

Updated: Feb 10, 2019

It's all about building positive relationships

Let me introduce you to Miss Win-Lose, and how she changed her name to Mrs Win-Win.

“I don’t care who it impacts. I know it’s good for the company, so it must be good for everyone who works here!” So said Miss Win-Lose to her colleague, Mr Win-Win. “But if what you say is true, aren’t lots of people going to be disappointed?” enquired Mr Win-Win. “Who cares,” said Miss Win-Lose. “As long as I get the result the boss is looking for, then it’s the price of being in business. As they say, if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen!”

Mr Win-Win wasn’t convinced. He never would be where Miss Win-Lose was concerned. Their philosophy on life was quite different. Mr Win-Win was so much more positive. He had a sunny disposition. He genuinely cared about other people, and was concerned that his direct reports always understood what he was asking them, and why they needed to do something for him. In this way, they both got something out of the activity....a win/win.

Miss Win-Lose, on the other hand, was quite the opposite.

She used to tell her team what to do in a very direct manner; then just leave them to get on with it. If they didn’t understand her instructions, it was always their fault. After all, that’s what they got paid for. And as long as she got what she wanted, then she was satisfied. Consequently, people loved working for Mr Win-Win, and hated working for Miss Win-Lose most of the time. 

During one of my 121 coaching sessions with Miss Win-Lose, I talked about the consequences of her actions. I explained that, although she got some great results, she tended to leave a nasty taste behind. As a result, I was receiving lots of requests from her team not to work with her. They wanted to move to Mr Win-Win’s team. 

This really shocked her. She thought that all the big bosses cared about were the results. I explained that although the results are important, it’s not just WHAT you do that matters, but HOW you get them is just as important. We ran out of time, so, we set up another coaching session the following week, so that I could help her to start to change her habits.

During the session I went through the ‘Relationship Building Quadrant’ with her. I explained that there is a better way to accomplish your goals that is mutually beneficial to all sides. You don’t have to win on your own all of the time. For a longer term benefit, it’s better to go for a win-win. “I know him!” exclaimed Miss Win-Lose. “He’s my colleague who works on the second floor.” 

I explained that her philosophy tended to result in an ‘I win, you lose’ situation. As such, she had created a reputation that she would do anything to get her way. Great for short term success, but disastrous for the long term. Instead, I suggested that she would be even more effective if she adopted Mr Win-Win’s philosophy. This is that life is about co-operation, not competition; and that success doesn’t have to be at expense of others. Mr Win-Win wants everyone to win, and if she really wanted to win, then she would do even better by letting the other person win as well, however small that was.

Over the next couple of months, Miss Win-Lose worked really hard to change her habits. She adopted the ‘mentality of plenty’, which meant that she didn’t have to win at someone else’s expense. It wasn’t easy. But she worked hard to have more confidence in herself and more consideration of others. And gradually, she began to see more of Mr Win-Win, but that's another story. Suffice it to say that she is now called Mrs Win-Win!

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