6. SPII’s Charter of Values – #WinWin
Assertiveness is the best way to resolve conflict: a solution where everyone wins should always be sought.
We knew most of them already: they were part of us since the beginning of our Company culture and history. But working on them, analyzing their meaning and implications, they became even more important to us.
Our 6th Value was exactly this: something we have had with us all along, but which became increasingly clear over the years.
So much that today we pride ourselves of being a win-win Company.
One that strives to avoid a win-lose mentality.
One where we try to always see the third possible outcome in any negotiation: the one where we all win.
How do we do it? By learning the subtle but very important art of assertiveness.
A natural enemy
When we find ourselves in conflict, or in a negotiation, or in any situation when we have our ideas confronted, we naturally tend towards either of two reactions: passiveness or aggressiveness.
It’s natural, something deeply wired in all of us, from our culture, education, character…if we have an aggressive personality by nature, we will tend to overcome the person in front of us, to impose our point of view, and ultimately to win for the sake of winning, even if it means making the other lose.
On the contrary, if we tend to be shy and insecure, we will easily fall in the trap of passiveness and let decisions, opportunities and confrontations pass us by…
These two tendencies are as natural in organizations as they are in people. This is why they are an enemy to be fought with a powerful weapon: assertiveness.
Assertiveness is a state of mind
“The basic difference between being assertive and being aggressive is how our words and behavior affect the rights and well being of others”
Sharon Anthony Bower
Being assertive is not natural for most of us: it’s something we have to learn the hard way, and to repeat over and over in order to wire it in our natural responses, in place of of the previous ones.
But ultimately, when it happens, everything changes! Because assertiveness allows for an easier resolution of conflicts, for better decisions and improved relationships.
Being assertive means to “communicate clearly and with confidence your feelings, needs, wants and thoughts, whilst acknowledging the needs of others”.
Being assertive then will enable you to be clearer on how you wish to proceed in a certain situation, and at the same time, you will value others’ opinions and feelings, respecting their ideas as well.
Most of all, this will allow you to evaluate their proposals without prejudice.
It sounds easier said than done, I know.
But you know what happens once you master this ability?
The third option: win-win
Then it becomes natural to see that there is always a solution that allows both me and you to win. There is always a space, a point between mine opinion and yours, where we can meet and agree on something.
No, it’s not true: win-win is not ALWAYS possible, let’s be honest.
Sometimes one will have to let go, sometime the other will have to admit there is a better point of view….still, assertiveness is what allows us to avoid passiveness and aggressiveness. Or worse, a passive-aggressive approach!
Can you see how special this vision is?
Especially because, with this mindset, the most important thing is not to reach the win-win solution. It’s to strive for it, trying not to give up until you reach that new, improved, common idea.
Thinking win-win is not about compromising, if that means finding a solution that is “half right” and doesn’t make either of us feel like it’s the best option.
It’s about re-imagining the options, striving to look for a new one, one that is better than mine original idea and than yours.
Maybe, if we are both looking for an orange, we don’t have to fight over the last one.
Maybe if we talk it through, we express our opinions and our desires, we try to understand what the other side wants…we may realize that we could both have the orange, because I need it for an orange juice and you…you only want its peel for your Spritz!
And then, we can all go enjoy our aperitivo after work together. Cheers!
See you next time,