Give Win First!

by  Mike Henry  |  Partnerships

We all want to win.  No one gets up in the morning and decides, “Today, I think I’d like to lose for a change.” You never tell your spouse, “Honey, I’m so used to losing that today, I’m managing expectations.  My goal is to lose.  That way, when I lose, I’m a winner!”  We use terms like Win-Win because if we win, we’re more than happy for others to win too.  It’s human nature.  I’ll let you win if it helps me win.  Isn’t that what Win-Win is all about?

Who do you trust?

Think for a moment about the people you trust the most.  Got a picture of them in your mind?  What is it about them that inspires you to trust them?  Somewhere very near the top of the list is the thought that they are “for” you.  They understand your best interests and demonstrate a willingness to work in your best interests.  The people you trust the most are people you believe would work for your best interest even if it didn’t mean they would directly benefit.  In fact, if you’re like most people, you trust people to the degree that you think they care for you regardless of the results for them.

By the same token, we tend to trust least where we believe people are “in it” for themselves more than we are in the relationship for ourselves.  There’s almost a balance or an honor among thieves if we’re both in the relationship for what we can individually get out of it.  Many relationships exist on that principle.

Give Win First

But true Win-Win begins when someone else gives win first.  In order for you to demonstrate that you are worthy of trust, you must give win first.  When you can make the other person a winner, they will trust you and want to reciprocate.  We trust people most when we believe they are truly for us more than they are for themselves.

Remove Friction

Trust lubricates relationships and interactions.  We are free to do and be our best around people we trust.  Rather than bemoan the lack of trustworthy people today, work to make sure you’re trustworthy.  Examine your key relationships with your leaders, peers, collaborators and teammates.  How can you give win first?  How can you provide overwhelming evidence that you’re trustworthy?  Constantly grow your trustworthiness and improve the performance of everyone you influence.  That’s the kind of trend our world needs today.


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About The Author

Articles By mike-henry
Chief Instigator (Founder) of Lead Change Group and VP of IT for a mid sized technology company. Passionate about character-based leadership and making a positive difference.  »  View Profile

What People Are Saying

Kelly Ketelboeter  |  01 Apr 2010  |  Reply

Great post Mike!

It is hard to develop that trust if you don’t believe that others are in it for the win-win but for themselves. I have experienced this first hand too many times. When you shift the focus from helping others to helping yourself, you lose respect and with that trust. I am a big believer in karma and as you pointed out a great way to create positive karma is to give win first!

.-= Kelly Ketelboeter´s last blog ..The Break Up =-.

Mike Henry  |  03 Apr 2010  |  Reply

Thanks for the comment Kelly. I appreciate your statement that you lose respect and trust when you shift the focus to yourself. We also need to remember also that trust lost is much harder to re-gain. Mike…

Shawn Murphy  |  03 Apr 2010  |  Reply

We can’t speak enough that change starts with ourselves. Yes it’s a bit cliche to say; however, practicing the intent behind the statement is what matters. “Removing the friction” as you say is indeed the action part behind standing for change through our actions.

There is, however, another viewpoint on your statement “in order for you to demonstrate that you are worthy of trust, you must give win first.” What about starting with trust? When we start with trust we give it freely without the need to demonstrate it first. There are no conditions. No past story interfering with the possibility of trust that exists today.

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