“From the foundations of character, we build and maintain Win/Win relationships. The trust, the Emotional Bank Account, is the essence of Win/Win. Without trust, the best we can do is compromise; without trust, we lack the credibility for open, mutual learning and communication and real creativity.
But if our Emotional Bank Account is high, credibility is no longer an issue. Enough deposits have been made so that you know and I know that we deeply respect each other. We’re focused on the issues, not on the personalities or positions.
A relationship where bank accounts are high and both parties are deeply committed to Win/Win is the ideal springboard for tremendous synergy (Habit 6). That relationship neither makes the issues any less real or important, nor eliminates the difference in perspective.
But what if that kind of relationship isn’t there? What if you have to work out an agreement with someone who hasn’t even heard of Win/Win and is deeply scripted in Win/Lose or some other philosophy?
When you’re dealing with a person who is coming from a paradigm of Win/Lose, the relationship is still the key. The place to focus is on your Circle of Influence. You make deposits into the Emotional Bank Account through genuine courtesy, respect, and appreciation for that person and for the other point of view. You stay longer in the communication process.
And the stronger you are—the more genuine your character, the higher your level of proactivity, the more committed you really are to Win/Win—the more powerful your influence will be with that other person. This is the real test of interpersonal leadership. It goes beyond transactional leadership into transformational leadership, transforming the individuals involved as well as the relationship.
It’s important to realize that not all decisions need to be Win/Win, even when the Emotional Bank Account is high. Again, the key is the relationship.
An agreement means very little in letter without the character and relationship base to sustain it in spirit. So we need to approach Win/Win from a genuine desire to invest in the relationships that make it possible.”
The human condition, with outdated beliefs, past in-bred habits, inability or lack of interest in learning (new ideas, trying something new, experimenting, trial and error) also affects (gets in the way) the ability to trust. In my human resource experience I’ve been amazed by how long these “conditions” last, and how they’ve become impediments to growth.
Covey’s statement concerning Emotional Bank Accounts is exemplified by a group of us that meet once a month over lunch. The conversation is significant because the high level of Emotional Bank Accounts, and the commitment to Win/Win, allows us to focus on issues, openly, without being concerned with differences. This group has a significant impact on my emotional well-being, in a world that has the opposite effect. I suggest that anyone, who has not experienced this level of interaction, make an effort to participate in a group where you will experience it.
Next: Habit 4
Agreements (#3 on the Five Dimensions of Win/Win chart)