Last week, we saw that if we are able to think Win/Win, agreements and deals are beneficial to all parties. Thinking Win/Win is being co-operative, not competitive.
Win/Win is not your way or my way; it is a better way. An essential character trait for Win/Win is the abundance mentality as opposed to the scarcity mentality that we looked at earlier. The abundance mentality is a paradigm that means: there is plenty for everybody. It results in sharing of recognition, of profits, of decision making. Thinking Win/Win may result in Win/Win agreements between companies and suppliers, employer & employees, any group of people who interact to accomplish something. And if we can’t find a solution in which both parties recognise themselves, it is possible to agree to disagree in a respectful way: No deal.
Applying the abundance mentality and thinking Win/Win in doing business is doing business in a sustainable way and with integrity. It is a way of doing business, which is fair and decent and does not exploit customers, workers, children, women, the poor and the environment. It is a way in which we apply principles that underpin sustainable behaviour, protecting and restoring relationships and resources instead of exploiting and exhausting them.
In conclusion, I then challenged the reader and business owner to reflect and ask yourself, to what extent you do business with integrity, thinking Win/Win and guided by the abundance mentality? In whatever business you are in, do you nurture the relationships with your workers, customers, investors, suppliers and the authorities or do you, to a certain extent exploit them, risking that very essential relationship to go sour, negatively affecting your business in the long run?
In the meantime, I have come across some experiences which I should like to share and which I should like to reflect on, against the values shared above.
True or false? Some time ago, I purchased a so called EVDO external modem and the 3G package of ETB 500 per month. I was promised a fast internet connection in and out of the city. This excited me as I often travel to the countryside. Meanwhile, I have yet to experience the connections I was promised, while ETB 500 is automatically deducted from my credit by the end of every month in a typical Win/Lose fashion, which would have resulted in Lose/Lose had there been any sort of competition in this particular business sector.
True or false? We travelled to the countryside recently. When passing through a town, a man crossed the road, but stopped in the middle of our lane. We slowed down and came to a stand-still about one meter away from the pedestrian who, when spotting us came towards our car, leant against it and pretended to be hit by it. There were witnesses who all stated later that our car did not hit the man. The man, by the way, was as drunk as a skunk and continued to claim he was hit and pretended to be in a lot of pain. Somehow, it became a police case, which resulted in us being stuck in the town for the next two days all because of an incident created by a drunk and everybody dealing with the case knew it was a lie. The result was a Lose/Lose situation for all.
True or false? Over the past few years, the real estate business has been developing and booming in Ethiopia. Homebuyers invest their money in a real estate developer who in return promises to build homes against a choice of payment schedules. Some real estate developers, and one in particular, who has been front page news for the past few weeks, however take the money from the homebuyers and invest large portions of it in other activities. As long as this brings fast returns, they will get away with it, but when it does not, taking such risks result in serious cash shortage to pay for the activity it was meant for in the first place. The homebuyers were never informed or asked permission and they all now realise that they are not getting what they have paid for. Greed and a lack of transparency and integrity now resulted in a Lose/Lose situation for all.
True or false? I know of a court case that has been dragging on for more than a year now. The case is rather simple. A tenant, who according to the contract was given due notice by the landlord to vacate the premises, refused to do so. The case has been presented in court but a decision is not being made. Every time a hearing is due, either the lawyer of the tenant does not show up or the judge defers the case for some reason or other. Meanwhile, the judge has called the landlord several times asking for a meeting out of court and saying he can conclude the case shortly. What does this mean? Furthermore, the tenant has now extended his stay for more than a year without paying a cent for rent. How do we define this case study? The landlord is certainly losing, but who will win in the end? Without integrity in the judiciary system, not only individuals lose, the entire society loses and we are all lost.
I can continue but I will not, as the reader will be able to add numerous similar incidents to an endless list of incidents that are the result of a Win/Lose and scarcity mentality. Once again, I challenge the reader to check your ways and steps in doing business. Think Win/Win and remember there is space for everybody.