This post is the 7th in a series of posts where I've been studying the book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven Covey from a Christian entrepreneur’s perspective, and I'm summarizing and Biblically backing up each of the seven habits. Scroll to the end of this article for links to the entire series.
Welcome back to my series that summarizes and brings the Bible into each of the seven habits laid out in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. In this series, my goal is to show how the best-selling self-help books all derive from Bible-based principals - like I did with Secrets of the Millionaire Mind by T. Harve Ecker.
The first of Covey’s 7 Habits all prompt us to get our own lives together: Being Proactive, Beginning With the End in Mind, and Putting First Things First. These are habits we work on privately every morning in our alone time with God. By working out these first three habits throughout our Godpreneurial journey, we start to become more like Christ, understanding that we have a calling in the business world, and that we can bring our visions to life.
However, now it's time to take this privately-developed habits, and start interacting with the world and letting our light shine. We don't do business alone; we interact with others who have their own desires and ambitions, and deal with their own levels of internal conflict.
How do Christian entrepreneurs successfully navigate the world as individuals who live among other individuals? How did Jesus and the apostles do it?
That’s what the next habit seeks to answer — Think Win/Win.
My $30,000 Lesson
One time, I sold a company an entire branding and website package for $30,000. We went back and forth in the negotiations, and they of course wanted a lower price. I wouldn't budge. I had a strong “win-lose” mindset. Yes, I won that deal and we did a great job, but the next time that entrepreneur launched another business, guess who did NOT get a call….me! I succeeded in getting the price I wanted, but the customer preferred to take their business elsewhere the next time. In the long term, I lost.
However, if I would have been thinking ”win-win,” I might have built a positive relationship rather than eroding it. If, instead, I would have sought a mutually satisfactory deal, the customer would probably remember that I was fair – and she would come back again the next time, thereby increasing my profits in the long run.
The lesson I learned is that it's impossible for a long-term positive relationship to form between me and my clients if I'm constantly in competition with their budget. It doesn't mean I lower my price for everyone, it means that if they can't meet my prices, maybe God didn't want us to do business together in the first place. Maybe, the win-win was that we both agree to NOT do business, and the next day I find a better-fit client, and she finds a better-fit agency.
Winning Conflict in Business
When I interact with employees, clients, prospects, vendors, or my business partners, I'm always believing that everyone can win. My mindset is always thinking that there's enough pie for everyone, and it is far better when all parties work toward a "win-win" solution that is beneficial for everyone, rather than fighting for a “win-lose” outcome.
However, I've interacted with people in business whose worldviews are shaped by a strong "win-lose" paradigm. This means they see any interaction with others, whether at work or in their personal life, as basically a competition, where they need to fight the other person for the bigger slice of pie.
As Christian entrepreneurs leading God-first businesses, I believe that the Lord really wants everyone to win. When our clients, employees, and partners win, it doesn't mean we lose. In fact, it makes it more likely we'll "win" too.
Win-win thinking in business is an application of the Golden Rule:
"Whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them" (Matthew 7:12).
The apostle Paul also discussed this principle in Philippians 2:3:
"Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself."
Win-win thinking is an important part of your Godpreneurial journey. The more you become like Christ, the more God will want to use you to deal with some form of interpersonal conflicts happening around you. This is why it's very important to turn win-lose conflict into win-win thinking.
Some of your greatest testimonies as a Christian entrepreneur will be when you turned a conflict into an opportunity.
God-first entrepreneurs do not avoid, repress or deny conflict, but rather see it as an opportunity God has given them to be Christ in the conflict and bring God into the center of the solution. Once you begin to see people problems that way, the Holy Spirit exchanges your carnal combative posture for a creative stance. In turn, the people you're dealing with don't feel threatened, they feel challenged.
That's the power we have as Kingdom driven entrepreneurs.
Losing Conflict in Business
Of course, there are times that, no matter how much we seek the win-win, you will lose - in the short term. Sometimes the other person isn't interested in a win-win solution, only in making you lose. But we know that in the end, God wins and so do His people.
The Bible says
"If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men." (Romans 12:18)
When you live peaceably with employees, partners, and clients, you end up as a winner whether the other person does or not. As a Godpreneur you should always try to make it possible for the other person to win too, but sometimes people will choose otherwise. If this happens, you shouldn't feel like a failure since you have done your part.
Conquering Conflict in Our Companies
Whenever we see that someone is going to be the loser in a situation in our businesses, think win-win! Here are some helpful tips:
Start with a quick prayer: "God, what is win-win? Thank you for using me to reveal it!"
Get the facts.
Focus on the present and the future, not the past (don't play the blame game).
Break down the problem into smaller parts and find mutually beneficial agreements on these step by step.
Brainstorm for possible solutions.
Find common ground.
The next two habits from Stephen Covey's book will help the win-win concept for our entrepreneurial journey. The fifth habit is "Seek first to understand, then to be understood." This requires what he calls empathetic listening in our business, where "you listen with your ears, but you also, and more importantly, listen with your eyes and your heart."
These steps lead to the sixth habit, "synergize," or creative cooperation in our companies. Synergy is like winning multiplied. When everyone is working together creatively, the results can be phenomenal!
Let's keep the winning going in the next articles!
Read the Whole Series: A Christian Entrepreneur's Perspective on The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
I pray you enjoy the series as much as I enjoyed creating it!