Stephen Covey on Integrity, Maturity, and an Abundance Mentality



“Teamwork makes the dream work” — Bang Gae

A Win/Win paradigm is a helpful approach for expanding the pie for yourself and others.  When we go for Win/Wins, we generate new possibilities.

Effectively, we create new “Third Alternatives.”

With a Win/Win approach, we don’t compromise.  Rather than you win, or I win, we find ways where we both win.

To do so, we find ways to create bigger playgrounds and we operate from an Abundance Mentality.

Win/Win is also good for the long-term.  It helps you build trust with other people. By addressing their interests, you show you are not just out for yourself.

What goes around comes around.

At the foundation of the Win/Win paradigm is character.

In the book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey walks us through the 3 character traits essential to the Win/Win paradigm.

The 3 character traits essential to Win/Win are: integrity, maturity, and an Abundance Mentality

1. Integrity

Integrity is the first trait.  Integrity helps us align our actions with our values.

When we do this, we can identity what a true Win really is that’s consistent with our innermost values.

Integrity also gives us a foundation for trust with others.

Covey writes:

“We’ve already defined integrity as the value we place on ourselves. 

Habits 1, 2, and 3 help us develop and maintain integrity. 

As we clearly identify our values and proactively organize and execute around those values on a daily basis, we develop self-awareness and independent will by making and keeping meaningful promises and commitments.

There’s no way to go for a Win in our own lives if we don’t even know, in a deep sense, what constitutes a Win — what is, in fact, harmonious with our innermost values

And if we can’t make and keep commitments to ourselves as well as to others, our commitments become meaningless. 

We know it; others know it. 

They sense duplicity and become guarded. 

There’s no foundation of trust and Win/Win becomes an ineffective superficial technique. 

Integrity is the cornerstone in the foundation.”

2. Maturity

Maturity is the second trait.  It’s our ability to balance our convictions with the convictions of others.  It’s also our ability to take a long-term view and focus on increasing the standard of living and quality of life for all stakeholders.

Covey writes:

“Maturity is the balance between courage and consideration.  If a person can express his feelings and convictions with courage balanced with consideration for the feelings and convictions of another person, he is mature, particularly if the issue is very important to both parties.

If you examine many of the psychological tests used for hiring, promoting, and training purposes, you will find that they are designed to evaluate this kind of maturity. 

Whether it’s called the ego strength/empathy balance, or the self confidence/respect for others balance, the concern for people/concern for tasks balance, ‘I’m okay, you’re okay’ in transactional analysis language, or 9.1, 1.1, 5.5, 9.9, in management grid language — the quality sought for is the balance of what I call courage and consideration.

Respect for this quality is deeply ingrained in the theory of human interaction, management, and leadership. 

It is a deep embodiment of the P/PC balance. While courage may focus on getting the golden egg, consideration deals with the long-term welfare of  of the other stakeholders

The basic task of the leadership is to increase the standard of living and the quality of life for all stakeholders.”

3. Abundance Mentality

With a Scarcity Mentality, we operate from our Lizard Brain or in Fight-or-Flight mode.   This leads to turf wars and bad behaviors.

The Abundance Mentality helps us operate at a higher-level.

We believe there’s enough for everybody, and we take it as a challenge to figure out how to make that so.

Covey writes:

“The third character trait essential to Win/Win is the Abundance Mentality, the paradigm that there is plenty out there for everybody.

Most people are deeply scripted in what I call the Scarcity Mentality.  They see life as having only so much, as though there were only one pie out there.  And if someone were to get a big piece of the pie, it would mean less for everybody else.  The Scarcity Mentality is the zero-sum paradigm of life.

People with a Scarcity Mentality have a very difficult time sharing recognition and credit, power or profit – even with those who help in the production.  They also have a very hard time being genuinely happy for the successes of other people – even, and sometimes especially, members of their own family or close friends and associates.  It’s almost as if something is being taken from them when someone else receives special recognition of or windfall gain or has remarkable success or achievement.”

The Abundance Mentality, on the other hand, flows out of a deep inner sense of personal worth and security.

It is the paradigm that there is plenty out there and enough to spare for everybody.  It results in sharing of prestige, of recognition, of profits, of decision making.  It opens possibilities, options, alternatives, and creativity.

The Abundance Mentality takes the personal joy, satisfaction and fulfillment of Habits 1, 2, and 3 and turns it outward appreciating the uniqueness, the inner direction, the proactive nature of others.  It recognizes the unlimited possibilities for positive interactive growth and development, creating new Third Alternatives.”

If you find yourself fighting over space, see if you can create more space.

And, remember that a true “win” is harmonious with our innermost values.

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