Is win-win possible all the time?

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Success, We=All Who Matter
Reading time: 2 min.

Generating win-win relationships with everyone who matters is important for your and your organization’s success. But is it always possible or reasonable to try for win-win?

Yes, of course it is. Here’s why.

  1. You can have win-win even when it appears impossible. You will surely encounter situations where you can not get to a win-win solution right way. Instead of falling back to a “I win-you lose” or “I lose-you win” solution, simply choose not to play. Choosing not to play is a great way to open everyone’s thinking to better possibilities.
  2. Win-win works even if you’re sure the other side won’t go for it. By stating your commitment to you winning and them winning, you unilaterally change the game from adversarial to collaborative. The potential of choosing not to play is your power tool, your ace-in-the-hole.
  3. Win-win is worth the investment. A win-win approach often generates better solutions than either side had thought of before.
  4. Your commitment is to the relationship. Even when some situations are contentious or complex, people will see and respond well to your overall commitment to mutual success. In short, their trust in you grows with your continued commitment to win-win.

Who matters to your success? How much trust is there in your relationship? How much trust would there be if your redoubled your commitment to win-win with them?


To your continued success,



The We Lens and Win-Win

Posted Leave a commentPosted in We=All Who Matter
Reading time: 2 min.

Success for you and your organization is simple using  The Four Lenses of Success: What, We, Can, and Do. Let’s explore the “We” lens.

Help on the Journey

You can never, never, ever create the success you want by yourself.  Though you absolutely get to call it your success, you always need help from those around you. The people who matter to your success may be clients, peers, bosses, investors, employees, friends, family members, vendors, politicians, or members of the press. Use the We lens to focus on and create win-win relationships with each of them.

About Win-Win

We’ll discuss the details of win-win in future posts. For now, here are some highlights.

  • Win-win is more than a quid pro quo. It is not, “I scratched your back so now you scratch mine.” It is not about tallying who has done which favors for whom.
  • It is a habit that starts with a commitment: “I am committed equally to your success and to mine.”
  • “Win-win” is short for “you win and I win otherwise we’ll choose not to play.” If we cannot come up with a solution that works for you and for me–if one of us would lose–we’ll stop.
  • As we’ll see in a future post, only one side need make the commitment to win-win for it to work.
  • Win-win also applies to situations involving multiple parties and complex topics.
  • There are many other names for win-win. “The Golden Rule” and “Give to Others What You Need Most” are two.

Where could you use more win-win? Look for places where you or someone who matters is losing.

Questions? Love to hear ’em and respond below.


To your continued success,


The Four Lenses of Success

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Do=Natural flow of action, Strategy, Success, We=All Who Matter, What=Compelling Focus, Will=Our inner game
Reading time: 2 min.

Success for you or your organization is simple. You need only look through four lenses described below to see where you have trouble and where you can focus. These lenses act as both a road map to success and a diagnostic.

Lens What’s needed for success Signs of trouble
What A clear, complete, common, and compelling goal. (Because success is always an outcome.) Fuzzy, incomplete, competing, or uncompelling, goals.
We Win-win relationships with all who matter. (Because you can never do it alone.) Tension, politics, lose-win, or win-lose with any who matter.
Can Higher-“buzz” thinking, beliefs, attitude that support you, your organization, your goals. (Because your thinking creates your world.) Lower “buzz” thinking, beliefs, attitude that detract.
Do An easy flow of action to get things done. (Because success is always an outcome.) Pushing, avoiding, lack of results, drained energy.


Every one of these daily notes/posts addresses something in one or more of the lenses. Notes about The Effectiveness Habits, for instance, are mostly about the “Do” lens.  Look for more to come from all four of the lenses.

Meanwhile, try using the above table as a diagnostic. For someone or some organization you know, apply theses lenses to their situation. Can you see where they are well focused (if at all) and where they may be having trouble (if at all)?

Don’t send that email (or txt)!

Posted 2 CommentsPosted in We=All Who Matter
Reading time: 1

They are easy. They are ubiquitous. And they are overused.

Emails and texts are so easy to send and are great for transactions. Use them for things like, “Where are you?” “I can meet at 2:30” and “The Q2 net disbursements were $1.2M”

They are NOT effective for communicating anything with significant emotion, either positive or negative. The words you write in an email or text make too narrow a pipe to adequately and accurately give your meaning to your recipients.

Missing from email and text are tone and body language.

Need to persuade someone? Need to address a contentious topic? Do you feel tense, angry, worried as you compose an email or text? Then don’t send an email or text.

Pick up the phone. Or visit in person.

Go for the Understanding

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Career, Leading, Organizations, Success, We=All Who Matter
Reading time: 1

From the “you have to slow down to speed up” department comes this reminder: seek, first, to understand the other person’s perspective. Want to get more done quicker? Then slow down and take more time to understand what the other person really means, needs, and will do.

Try this: ask someone to explain their perspective. Then listen. Say what you think you heard them say, in your words. Ask the person if she thinks, based on what you said, that you understand what she had said. If not, ask her to reexplain. Keep going until she says you understand her perspective. When you do, then turn the tables and ask her to do the same favor for you. Use this technique anytime. It is especially good when you and the other person are stuck on an issue, not coming to resolution.

Does this take time? Yup. Typically about 20 minutes. Is there anything better you could be doing with that time. Unlikely.

Perspective is everything

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Organizations, Success, We=All Who Matter, Will=Our inner game
Reading time: 1

How you look at anything–anything–matters. The instant you shift your perspective on any issue, the issue changes and the resolution becomes clear. You know this, of course. You are a master at reframing, thinking outside the box, and helping others shift their perspective for better problem solving.

Here’s my encouragement to you: Use this talent on the big issues, too. You know the ones I’m talking about. The thorny, tough, wow-when-will-this-problem-ever-go-away, or even the painful issues can be resolved more simply than you had guessed with a shift in perspective.

And, by the way, now is as good a time as any to start. Ya?

It’s not a communication problem

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Leading, Organizations, Success, We=All Who Matter
Reading time: 2 min.

“We have a communications problem.”

In working with people and their organizations, I often hear statements like that one.

Truth is that it’s almost never a communications problem; it’s a relationship problem.

What’s the difference? The word communication has evolved away from its roots (think, “commune”). It is used mostly today to describe an activity, task, or transaction (think, “communications plan” or “communication system”).

The word “relationship,” on the other hand, points to a connection–mostly emotional–between people.

We are all in relation to everyone else. We are all human beings who have a spark of intelligence, consciousness within. We see this as important, even precious in ourselves and others.

When the transactions of communication aren’t working well, it’s pretty much a guarantee that the real solution will be in a sustained strengthening of relationships. There typically isn’t enough trust or accountability. False civility and politics may also be present.

Strengthening relationship is simple

It is not difficult to strengthen relationships. A good place to start is by simply acknowledging or remembering–and it doesn’t have to be spoken or written–that the other(s) have that spark within them. The ancient Sanskrit word namaste captures this well. Loosely translated, it means, “The spark that I am sees and respects the spark that you are.”

Build on that simple acknowledgment by knowing and growing your emotional intelligence, using practical models and tools (such as DISC), and getting good feedback. This will help you and your organization become better relaters and communicators.

Better relationships then make the communications smoother, easier, and more effective.

In the movie, Cool Hand Luke, the character called The Captain is famous for saying, “What we’ve got here is failure to communicate.”

No, sir. What we have here is failure to relate.

Pricing on Principle

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Money, We=All Who Matter
Reading time: 2 min.

How much should you charge for your products or services? This is an intense and complex question, yes? It probably brings up thoughts and fears about competition, worth, value, being liked and accepted, scarcity, and security. There are lots of approaches to pricing and they all have merits. Here is a principle you can use to navigate to your answer.

“Set your price so that you feel that you are getting well paid and your clients feel they are getting a bargain.”

I picked up this gem from Alan Weiss’ book, Million Dollar Consulting. Highly recommended for people offering services to businesses. And the principle applies to any offer and any client.

This principle works because it honors both you and your client.  If you agree to a price that harms you, you will feel bad.  If you agree to a price that harms your client, they will feel bad.  Straightforward, yes?

Feeling bad is an impractical way to start a partnership with anyone.  It undermines your and your client’s ability and desire to create a successful outcome and extend the relationship beyond this project or sale.

To set a price that follows the principle, you must know

  • what price range would have you feeling your are getting well paid, and
  • what value your client would realize and recognize by using your product or service.

The first part is relatively easy.  You can know what range of prices would feel best for you by checking in with your feelings. What would feel good, really?

To learn what value your client would derive, ask them.

You could have a conversation that starts like this: “Conservatively, how much money would this (product/service/project) save or generate for you?” Then set your price as some fraction (10% for instance) of that amount.  Allan Weiss, in his book, gives great tips and coaching on having this kind of conversation.


In your corner,


Get the Why Right

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Sweetspot, We=All Who Matter, What=Compelling Focus
Reading time: 3 min.

Imagine you’re in a senior management meeting. Brenda, the CEO, starts by reviewing the current financial numbers then kicking off this discussion.

Brenda: “We are struggling to make a profit here. It’s getting serious. What should we do?”

Betty: “We have to do more marketing. No one knows who we are and every sale is a struggle.”

Bob: “No, what we really need is a better processes and execution. We can’t get out of our own way. We are wasting way too much of every dollar we earn on random acts of madness.”

Betty: “I disagree. Our inflow of new clients has slowed to a trickle. Let’s not focus on re-arranging the deck chairs.”

Bob: “With all due respect, Betty, we are way too inefficient at what we do. Any new investments in marketing or anything else will just dig us deeper into the hole.”

Betty: “Brenda, clearly you see my point. We can’t keep starving our sales this way.”

Brenda: “I think the real problem is…”

What do you think Brenda should say next? Here are four things she could say, from least to most effective.

“You’re right, Betty {or Bob}. Let’s focus on marketing {or processes and execution}.” Least Effective Brenda needs everyone’s help. Taking sides, even if she really believes one answer is better, will bring bad feelings, apathy, or a withdrawal of support and good ideas from the person with other idea.
“I don’t like to hear you fighting about this. Maybe we need a team-building session.” Somewhat Effective Brenda needs to lead the organization toward more success, including solving the financial current financial crunch. Team building, trust, openness, and good communication are essential. And a team-building exercise may make sense as part of a broader strategy to move the organization out of the hole it’s in.
“I think you’re both right. Let’s improve both marketing and our processes.” Effective with Hidden Risk Brenda, again, must focus on the bigger prize. Here she’s falling into the trap of creating win-win amongst her team member at the expense of greater win for all. She may be sub-optimizing. How do we know that improving “both marketing and our processes” is the best possible strategy?
“Thank you, both. These are good points. Let’s consider what we want right now as an organization and why.  What goal do both of your suggestions have in common? And what else might we need to do?” Most Effective Brenda knows the goal of leadership: inspiring people to a common, compelling goal. She sets aside her initial judgement about the right tactics in favor of building with the team a common cause.  From here, the team can brainstorm, plan, and act in concert towards success.

The ultimate success rule here is, “Let’s agree on why then we can agree on what.”

Success with Driving types

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Leading, We=All Who Matter
Reading time: 5 min.

You know the type. Driven, demanding, forceful. Perhaps these types of people are easy for your to work with…maybe you are one yourself. Or maybe you find these types of people to be among the most difficult to work with. No matter; here’s a method for successfully dealing with driven bosses, peers, and staff in your work world. It’s called the “D Package” and takes its name from the behavioral style know as “D” or “Dominance” in the DISC style language. The “D Package” is a way of delivering your message so that this driven, demanding, forceful type person will hear and respond to you productively.

Let’s start with an example situation to illustrate the “D Package”. Your company needs to hire a new VP of Sales and the driven, demanding, forceful (a.k.a. “high D”) CEO has found a stellar candidate. As VP of Operations, you see trouble. This candidate is an experienced heavy-hitter who would be perfect…if only the company itself was ready. The company is poised for new growth and needs to make some difficult decisions about target markets, product design, and the supply chain. Without making these decisions, hiring this candidate would likely be a disaster. The company would have to make some big promises to attract this person and tough changes to keep her. You also have the impression that the CEO is frustrated with the company’s progress and position and looks to the new Sales VP to spark the changes needed.

As VP of Operations, you find certain encounters with the high-D CEO to be uncomfortable, to say the least. They can seem like conflicts, not discussions. You and others walk away from some of these encounters feeling personally attacked though “attacked” might be too strong a word. So how do you proceed? If you do nothing, your company will likely experience real damage. If you’re tempted to raise and discuss your concerns with the CEO, you’ll likely not succeed because a high-D CEO may subconsciously misread your intent and interpret your overture as a waste of time, complaint, or even insubordination.

Here’s how to proceed: use the “D Package”. The “D Package” is a way to prepare and format all oral and written communication to high-D people like your fictional CEO. Below are are the components of the “D Package”. Pay attention the tone of the example statements (your intent is to help the CEO and company with a very real problem and you’re saying “I’m here to fix it”) and note what’s NOT said (not a lot of justification, explanation, process, or method). Your job here is to be brief, be bold, and then be gone (off implementing the decisions made).


  • Issue: Create a one sentence description of the situation/problem. e.g. “We’re not ready to hire June.”
  • Impact: Create a one or two sentence description of the impact to the high-D person, in their language, of the issue. e.g. “If we bring her in before we’re ready, it’ll cost dearly in lost revenues and declining client- and associate satisfaction from the resulting turmoil.”
  • Options: Present a set of options from which the high-D person can choose to start resolving the issue. e.g. “Here are the options: 1) We can hire June right away, using her energy and experience as a catalyst to get ourselves where we need to be. 2) We can prepare ourselves before we hire June so that when she arrives, the company is poised to take advantage of her strenghts and she can hit the ground running. 3) We can do nothing.”
  • Recommendation: State which of the options you recommend and a brief description why. For example, “I recommend the second option because we, the executive team, can have an agreed upon plan in short order. The risk is we might lose June to another company so we can continue the hiring process while we develop the plan. Worse case: if we do lode June, we’ll have a solid plan and a clear idea of the kind of VP of Sales we need to attract. I don’t recommend the first option could deliver an unnecessary body-blow to the staff and clients who may jump ship. The third option is, I think you’ll agree, obviously inadequate.”
  • Decision?: Make a request that the high-D person chooses from the options.

Prepare yourself, before you deliver this “D Package”, for a detailed discussion/argument. I call this “pulling on the Teflon(r) suit and picking up the virtual 2-by-4 (for figuratively whacking the high-D between the eyes).” If you’re not a high-D person yourself, you’ll probably find this way of engaging very uncomfortable, at first. The high-D person will likely come back at you with counter arguments (because you’ve engaged him/her how s/he likes to be engaged: in a battle of ideas–not personalities–over a challenge or obstacle he/she faces), detailed questioning (because s/he want to make sure you’ve thought it through and aren’t dumping the problem in his or her lap), and even a show of angry emotion (sterness, abruptness, louder voice, etc).

In your preparation, anticipate questions (“What kind of resulting turmoil would we see if we hire June right away?”) and prepare responses . This is where you make the arguments and feed the data that you might have done in an email or memo or presentation prior to learning about the “D Pacakage.”

The first key point to remember: this assertive approach is how high-Ds like to interact with the world. Do this and they’ll respond productively.

The second key point to remember: this approach will backfire unless your intent is clearly to help the person who is high D to win.  Anything else is just arguing.  So get your intent straight before engaging.

Want to learn more or see how to present your material in a “D Package”?  Contact me.

What have been your experiences using the “D Package”? Leave your comments here!