An Overview of Habit 4 essay

The book “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”, revealed the seven habits found common among many successful people in the business world. The author, Stephen R. Covey, broke six of them down into two paradigms; Independent and Interdependent. Habit number four “Think Win/Win” is the first in the Interdependence Paradigms. This chapter starts out by introducing us to Covey’s idea that there are six paradigms to describe human interactions: Win/Win, Win/Lose, Lose/Win, Lose/Lose, Win and Win/Win or No Deal.

Covey then proceeds to explain the nature and meaning of each six paradigms and further reinforces the explanation by citing specific examples for each. Win/Win The first interrelation paradigm is the Win/Win. Covey describes this paradigm as seeking a mutually satisfying solution or approach to a given situation. This means that all parties feel good about the decision and feel committed to the action plan. Win/Win philosophy takes a less aggressive approach, it does not caters to an “I win or you win” philosophy but instead embraces an abundance mentality believing that there is plenty for all and we all can win.

It identifies key issues and concerns and determines what results would make a fully acceptable solution, one that is beneficial for all. Covey recommends that this positive approach to human interaction be applied to all relationships, be it business partnerships, deals or even personal relationships. Win/Lose Next on the paradigm list is Win/Lose. This paradigm is one that creates the idea of a winner and a loser in the relationship. This is how humans generally operate in real life. We are taught the win lose philosophy most of our lives.

This is practiced in athletic games where winners are awarded or in company promotions that award prizes to the biggest seller or highest producer. The intent is often to try and motivate individuals to do their best, but it also fosters the desire for others to fail, creating an uncooperative atmosphere. This paradigm promotes a competitive spirit. Lose/Win This paradigm is exactly the opposite of the Win/Lose. This is a person that capitulates in an effort to be accepted. This is the classic nice guy that will finish last because of being nice and refusing to give up on it.

Win/Lose personalities love to seize on Lose/Win personalities because they compliment each other. Living this paradigm can result in psychosomatic illness from repressed resentment. Lose/Lose Fourth on the personalities list is the Lose/Lose relationship. This often comes about when two conflicting Win/Lose personalities collide. Both are so intent on winning that neither is willing to adjust or modify their philosophies in a manner that could benefit them both. This is where revenge will be sought no matter the personal cost. This is the philosophy of adversarial conflict, war, or of highly dependent persons.

(If nobody wins, being a loser isn’t so bad. ). Win The fifth paradigm is just plain Win. This is one that a lot of business people have. It focused solely on getting what one wants, regardless of the needs of others. Their only concern is for personal gain and everyone else is on their own to make their own personal gains. This is the most common approach in everyday negotiation Win/Win or No Deal The sixth relationship paradigm that Covey discusses is the Win/Win or No Deal philosophy. That is to say that both parties come to an agreement to which both parties can live or they just walk away with no deal at all.

There has to be an agreement up front that the goal is to reach an agreement that all parties concerned must feel good about the end result or there is no relationship at all. This way everyone wins or no one loses. In this case, “If we can’t find a mutually beneficial solution, we agree to disagree agreeably” – no deal. Finally Covey starts to question which philosophy works best. He concluded that it depends on the situation. If you are in a race or a tennis match, you have to go for the Win/Lose philosophy or you just won’t last long. If you value the relationship more than the outcome then Lose/win might be more important.

A life threatening situation may prompt you into a Win philosophy where your only concern is for the person in danger. Covey revealed however, that in general though the Win/Win philosophy is really the best philosophy to take. Win/Win allows success for all parties as well as strengthening the relationship. It will provide a means for everyone to grow and prosper. It shows signs of integrity that can pay off further down the road (Covey, 2004 ). Discussion Questions: 1. In your own experience, which of the six interdependent paradigms do you use the most in your interaction with other people?

Now that you learn about habit 4, which changes do you think should you do in your human interactions? 2. Which of the six paradigms you think is the reason behind the break up of families? Which would preserve it? 3. Is there any situation when win/win is not the best option? 4. What kind of interdependent paradigm did the people you admire the most use? Similarly, what kind of paradigm did the people you least respect use? 5. Cite an example in your life when applying win/win would have averted a negative or tragic outcome.


Covey, Stephen R. (2004). The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. New York: Free Press.