Win-Win (Part 1)
by Tom Goodman
August 28, 2008
As a church worker you're going to see (and sometimes share in) conflict. Do you look for ways to turn it into something beautiful?
Mount Everest and the rest of the Himalayas are the result of conflict. The Indian and Eurasian continents press into each other at the rate of about four inches a year, and all that earth and rock have to go somewhere, so it goes upward. As India
keeps moving inward, compressing and lifting southern Eurasia, a spectacular natural treasure continues to be created.
Think of that: no collision, no Everest. The world would be a poorer place.
The collisions between people have the potential of creating the same majesty and wonder. The compression of two lives against each other is almost always uncomfortable, distressing, and frustrating. But it's amazing how out of that compression a
solution can be reached that is as towering and beautiful as Mount Everest.
One way to make something beautiful out of the collision of competing interests is to "think win-win." Philippians 2:4 says, "Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others."
Not only... but also. Look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Think win-win.
A "win-lose" attitude is based on the assumption that the only way the issue can be resolved is by one party winning and the other party losing. People with a "win-lose" attitude deal with conflicts determined to do whatever it takes to be the winner
instead of the loser. I've met Christians with a "win-lose" mentality who feel that their approach to conflict is godly because they truly have no ambition to stick it to the loser; they have no motivation for retaliation; they have no bitterness in
their heart. Their focus isn't on making the other person lose, per say. It's simply that, in their assumption that every conflict ends with a winner and a loser, they don't want to be the loser.
On the other hand, a "win-win" attitude is based on the assumption that a resolution to the conflict can be found that will benefit both parties. In the conflicts you face, God wants you to think win-win. He wants you approaching the conflict with
the expectant hope that both parties can end the conflict satisfied.
About 20 years ago, Roger Fisher and William Ury wrote a book called Getting to Yes. Since then it's been translated into 25 different languages and millions of people have read it. The book is all about four principles of reaching agreement
in a conflict, which I'll summarize in four words: relationships, interests, creativity, and standards.
The amazing thing is that the principles from this Harvard business school book were already laid out 2000 years ago in God's word. The Bible really is the world's most practical book. Across the next 4 weeks in LeaderLines, we'll see what
God's word has to say about these four principles:
Relationships: Separate the people from the problem.
Interests: Focus on the interests, not the positions.
Creativity: Brainstorm creative options for solving the problem.
Standards: Agree on the standards you will use to solve the problem.
We'll begin next week with the first principle. God has provided a way for our conflicts to result in beauty. He wants us to look not only to our own interests, but also to the interests of others. Whether it's a conflict between
we lead or with
those we lead, God wants us to enter into every conflict determined to find a win-win solution.
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