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April 2007 - How to Win

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John Kline, PhD, inspirational and motivational keynote and after-dinner speaker and corporate trainer.

April 2007

How to Win

Americans are competitors.  We want to win.  This characteristic helped make our country great, but there is a negative side to being competitive and it shows itself in relationships.  Negative political campaigns, daily interpersonal interactions and a prevalent “win-at-all-costs” attitude are examples.

When both sides take the “I am right, you are wrong attitude,” trouble results because whether we are trying to solve the Middle East problem, work on a corporate merger or just reach agreement with our spouse or friend, this attitude prevents us from seeing any point of view but our own.  Inside, we think that by making ourselves right and our opponent wrong, we will win; but this type of winning does not bring satisfaction, success or resolution of differences.

Let’s face it; some things are fact.  It is raining outside or it isn’t, this is Monday or it’s not, it is night or it is day.  But most things in the world are far more complex. We live in a world comprised not of black and white, but of gray.  Yet we shape our world to fit our perceptions.

So how do we operate successfully in a world of gray?

  • Understand most conflicts are not based on fact, but on a relative point of view.
  • Know whether you are discussing fact (my shirt is red) or perception (I have a nice shirt).
  • Frame your conversation not as “this is how it is,” but rather “this is how it seems to me.”
  • Before sharing your viewpoint, paraphrase the other party’s view to show they were heard and understood.

When you start to do these things, hopefully the other party will reciprocate, leading to a win-win situation.

John Kline
Montgomery, Alabama

April 2007 - How to Win
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