Think Win-Win

AUGUST 09, 2016
This is the fourth part of an 8-part series called “7 Habits of Highly Effective Pharmacists."

A pharmacy manager recently mentioned to me how difficult it is to motivate some of his employees. He told me that although the rewards program currently in place was working, he knew the company wasn’t going to keep its word because the rewards are more detrimental to it than beneficial.
I asked if he could think of something more realistic, but his only idea was more beneficial to the company than the employees. I pointed out that this was a lose–win scenario that probably wouldn’t motivate his employees. Although he agreed, that’s the “reward” program he stuck with.
I walked away from the conversation feeling sad because the pharmacy manager agreed to accept a lose-win scenario. His employees lose, but his company wins. 
Moving Toward Interdependence
The first 3 habits we discussed focused on independence. We talked about how you can be an effective individual. But, relying solely on yourself isn’t a great way to live because you don’t interact well with other humans. If you’re all by yourself in this world, there’s no way to make a great impact.
When you’re interdependent, however, you’re able to communicate with those around you, which allows you to get more things done. Interdependence starts with thinking win–win, but it takes years of practice and patience to cultivate.
What Win–Win Means
It’s a scenario mutually benefitting everyone involved. Those who think win–win see life as cooperative, rather than competitive, which is win–lose or lose–win. 
Most think in terms of dichotomies—like strong vs. weak or win vs. lose—but this thinking is flawed because it’s based on power and position, rather than principle. Win–win is based on the paradigm that there’s plenty in this world for everyone and success can be achieved when others win, too. 
It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking the winners are always winning and the losers are always losing. The challenge is to read the reality accurately and not translate a win-lose instance into every situation. 
A win–lose or lose–win scenario occurs anytime someone loses in the relationship. The truth is, in either scenario, everyone loses in the long run.
Let’s say I allow a win–lose situation in my relationship with my kids by only playing video games for the next 5 years of their lives. I’d win out while my kids lose out on spending time with their father. They might become rebellious teenagers and awful adults who eventually become estranged from me, so my kids and I both lose.

Alex Barker, PharmD
Alex Barker, PharmD
Alex Barker is the founder of The Happy PharmD, which helps pharmacists create an inspiring career, break free from the mundane "pill-flipping" life. He is a Full-time Pharmacist, Media Company founder, franchise owner, Business Coach, Speaker, and Author. He's also the Founder of Pharmacy School HQ, which helps students get into pharmacy school and become residents.