“Mutual Benefit and Respect.”

“Do unto others as you would have done unto you.”

“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” – The Dalai Lama.

It is important to remember that one’s growth through the 7 habits is exactly that – growth and maturity. Nor are the habits items on a checklist that once completed can be checked off and forgotten. Habit 4 is grounded on the independence, confidence and self-awareness you have nurtured through Habits 1-3 and should be continuing to nurture.

According to Covey, a Win-Win situation is recognizing that there is an abundance of recognition, knowledge, love, control, power, etc. in this world and that interactions with each other do not always have to be a competition (except of course when it is a competition.) Working from a foundation of confidence and self-awareness garnered in Habits 1-3, you will be able to approach situations in which you can work with another to understand their paradigm, clarify your own paradigm, and identify a solution in which you both walk away satisfied. It is important not to equate these “negotiations” with giving in or giving up. It is about working towards a mutual agreement or, potentially, no agreement at all.

I used to work for a consulting firm in which the culture was one that encouraged collaboration amongst its employees and extended this to its customers. The culture was backed up and enforced with concrete examples in knowledge sharing and reward systems. I would often explain to my customers that within our organization “collaboration is power”, not knowledge. If you help another reach their goals and climb higher on their ladder, they will be more likely to extend a hand to help you reach the top and those around you will recognize your contributions as well.

As Project Managers, we have opportunities on a daily basis to put Habit 4 into practice. Working with our team members, sponsors, stakeholders, and managers. Remember, approaching interactions with vulnerability does not equate to weakness. It means sitting at the table with an open-mind. An awareness of your own tendency to cling to an idea or position without budging. Flexibility and compassion. As the Dalai Lama reminds us – If you want to be happy, practice compassion!