Win-Win Should Be Our Goal, Our Strategy, and Our Clear Commitment to Each Other
We should all want to win.
Winning is a good thing.
We should all want our friends and families and our communities to win.
That can happen.
It is actually entirely possible to create a world of inter group interactions where we all win — but that world of multiple wins will only happen if we make that our goal and then do what we need to do in each setting to make it happen.
We need to understand our actual array of options relative to winning and losing for our communities and our groups. There is actually a winning option continuum open to us in most settings — with win-win for everyone at one end of the continuum and lose-lose for everyone at the other end of that continuum.
Win-lose is in the middle of that inter group interaction outcome continuum.
We can end up at any point along that continuum by making the decision to end up at that point and then doing the right things to get there. Win-lose, win-win, and lose-lose are the three sets of options we actually look at and have in most settings where winning is relevant and we can decide a high percentage of the time where we will end up if we begin with that end in mind.
The truth is that most people who think about that continuum of wins and losses focus entirely on the most conflicted options in the middle that require someone to lose in order for someone to win. We generally don’t even think about the options that we actually have most of the time on either end of that continuum.
That is a mistake. We should not focus exclusively on the context and the options in the middle of that continuum.
We should actually think very clearly about both ends of that continuum.
We should fear one end and we should seek the other.
We should all think about, fear and avoid the options on one end that make everyone lose — and we should all aspire to and try to channel our thinking and our behaviors into the positive and beneficial approaches that create wins for each group that are possible and can exist for us all on the other end of that continuum.
Win-win is possible a very high percentage of the time if we begin with that goal in mind.
That outcome of having both parties win almost never happens spontaneously or serendipitously in a setting. It generally isn’t the default outcome anywhere. But. If we want win-win to happen, then we need to steer toward it and we need to make it happen in every relevant setting.
If we want to win and if we want the people we care about to win, then we need to have a clear sense of how to make that mutual win happen for us all in each setting and we need a clear sense of how to have it continue to happen once it occurs and has been put in place.
We should all agree that losing is not a good thing and we also should all agree that losing at any level should not be our goal in any setting.
Losing is generally bad.
Losing can be painful, damaging, discouraging, unpleasant, demoralizing, debilitating, and personally and collectively uncomfortable and losing is consistently clearly undesirable for the actual losers.
We do not want to lose.
So — we should very intentionally avoid losing.
We have choices. We should choose not to lose and not losing should be a choice and a goal for our thinking at this point in time for us in every relevant inter group setting where winning and losing are optional outcomes and losing is possible.
Win-Lose situations and win lose processes inherently have someone losing as one of the natural and expected consequences of the win-lose context they create.
Losing can happen for us whenever we set up and enter into win-lose situations or settings and then somehow actually lose.
Lose-lose Situations Are Particularly Damaging
Lose-lose situations are the worst set of options on the win loss continuum.
Losing happens by definition, by process and too often, by both intention and design in lose-lose situations, because when you set up and find yourself in lose-lose situations, the basic outcome and consequence of a lose-lose situation is, by definition, for everyone in that situation to take a loss.
Lose-lose settings and lose-lose outcomes exist in the real world in meaningful numbers for several reasons.
Lose-lose consequences are sometimes unintended, accidental, and purely circumstantial and they are sometimes very intentional, and lose-lose outcomes should all be avoided regardless of their motivational origin or status because everyone loses when they happen.
Both intentional and unintentional processes that end up in lose-lose outcomes can do damage as they unfold.
Intentional lose-lose outcomes happen far too often when there are people in a setting who are so angry that they would prefer to have everyone in the setting — including themselves — lose rather than anyone in the setting have a win and so they do what they need to do to make that bad outcome happen.
Bad things can happen as a result of those decisions. The creativity, the cruelty and the damage to other people that can be inspired and created by people who are choosing to go down lose-lose pathways has been extreme, horrible, malevolent and even purely evil in some places where the opportunity to be horrible has existed and enabled evil to play itself out in damaging ways.
We need to do what we can in our conflicted settings in America not to have angry people who have lose-lose as their goal for their interactions setting the course for the people in their relevant settings.
We need to know that those reactions and interactions are happening when they happen.
Knowledge is power.
That mantra and adage can apply to the entire continuum of wins and losses we face in both group and inter group settings because we will have much more power over those settings and outcomes when we understand clearly what they are and what they can do both for us and to us.
We need to understand that total continuum of wins and losses clearly and well — because if we do want to achieve inter group Peace in America, we should steer accordingly and very intentionally in each setting to the outcomes we want to achieve where everyone wins and we should equally intentionally in every setting avoid the outcomes and situations where the people lose.
We should all want to win.
We should all start our strategies in each setting with the intent of winning.
Winning is a good thing.
It’s good to win.
We should feel good when we create a win.
And, it very important to understand, that we should not feel that someone has to lose in any setting in order for us to win in that setting.
That is a common mistake in thinking that too many people make. Too many people believe that if someone wins, that means that someone else needs to lose.
People tend to think of winning and losing as being inherently linked.
That’s bad and dysfunctional thinking.
Wins do not need to create losses.
We need to recognize and understand clearly that our winning does not mean that someone else has to lose — and we should realize and appreciate the fact and the wisdom that the exact opposite is true and that our own win is much more likely to survive over time and to be sustained if our win is achieved in a context and setting that also has the other group achieving a win.
Wins build on wins.
Wins can very significantly both enable, encourage, enforce. and often reinforce wins.
When the other group in a setting also wins, then the groups have reasons to support each other going forward. When the other group loses in any setting, then there is almost always an inherent instability, danger and risk in your win because whoever has lost in that setting is very often directly motivated by that fact and by the circumstances and consequences of their loss to decide and determine in very real ways how to actually hurt your group and to cause you to lose in the future.
Getting even can be very motivating for the other group.
The other group can want you to lose in the future with so much energy that they are even willing to take a loss themselves to see you losing in some way as part of their ongoing approach to you and to the setting you are both in.
There is often an inherent instability and an inherent and often a very real future risk for you in the situations where you clearly win and they lose.
That future risk for you does not need to happen if the other group in that setting does not lose as part of your win.
There can be a level of stability and real functional security for you, over time in settings where both groups win and then your win does not put you at future risk when that happens.
Being aware of the other groups in a setting at an adequate level can actually very often help give you future security and success.
Win-win outcomes and the basic interaction processes that tend to be used to build them can help make much better awareness of the other groups in your setting happen for both you and them can help you better understand them in important ways that can benefit everyone at multiple levels.
The groups in various settings often understand each other better in the context of win-win outcomes as part of the processes and the interactions that are used to create win-win results and that allow those win-win outcomes to happen in a setting can be extremely informative for everyone in the setting.
The functional learning processes that groups go through to negotiate and achieve win-win outcomes in a setting are often high value teaching and learning processes at a very direct level and those discussions and those direct interactions can and almost always do create an better understanding of each other that makes protecting future wins for both groups more likely to happen and that also makes both groups who have a positive relationship with each other happy when those mutual wins happen.
We don’t need to ration wins
We do not have a finite number of wins.
We live in a world of huge possibility and vast resources. As a country, we have vast wealth and great and growing levels of national assets. Our science is getting better every day, and our ability to enhance health care, strengthen positive community activity and improve community and individual functionality levels, and our basic and essential infrastructure has never been better.
We can afford to have everyone win.
That outcome of achieving mutual wins in key areas actually builds overall economic strength instead of being an expense and cost for each setting.
We are stronger functionally, collectively and economically in any setting when all groups prosper and when all groups do well.
We can all meet the needs of our group for safety and security and prosperity and for functional achievement and accomplishment and even group self-esteem without anyone in the world needed to be unsafe or not prosperous or not having their functional needs met in order for our group to be safe and functioning well as a group.
We can have our group or our family in any setting thriving and doing well while each of the other groups in our community is also thriving and also doing well with no barrier or limit to that outcome of any kind.
We live in a world of vast resources, and we have a growing numbers of tools and approaches to use to get access to those resources — extending all the way to an expanding set of artificial intelligence tools that can now build continuously improving things in increasingly skillful ways — and the purely functional truth and reality is that having any groups benefiting in useful and positive ways from those tools does not inherently require any other groups to lose.
We all need to know and understand that having each group win is a better outcome than just achieving a win for any group in a win lose setting at the most obvious and highly functional and extremely practical level because if you are in any setting where the other group loses, you now have an enemy and you have an opposition force in that situation and setting who will want to win in the future and who will want you to lose in the future when they finally win.
The very most expensive thing we actually have in our lives is often our enemies.
Never underestimate the expense of having an enemy.
If you do not know that now, that might be the single most valuable thing you will learn from reading this piece.
Enemies create both a future threat and a current anger and the loser when we win can have very real set of very real reasons to want to damage us at some future time and to create a win-lose setting and win-lose outcome in the future where we are the ones who lose.
Having someone who hates you and who wants you to lose is the price you far too often pay for setting up a significant win-lose outcome in any setting and then being the winner.
The very worst, most negative and most damaging outcome for you as the winner in any setting can be that you make the losing side in that setting so angry that they decide and believe that the right outcome and behavior now for them is to escalate the situation to create lose-lose outcomes for everyone in that setting.
They then do what they need to do in that setting to make both sides lose.
They can dislike you so much for your win that they are willing to be damaged themselves in what are sometimes very real and significant ways just to damage you as well.
Lose-lose happens far too often as an angry response to a loss and it often makes sense to the people doing it because their anger fuels their judgement and amplifies their commitment to each other in powerful and damaging ways.
We have a very large set of settings in the world today where both sides are so angry that they are both willing to be badly damaged in the goal of doing significant damage to the other side. That happens at the individual behavior level as well.
People are sometimes willing to strap bombs onto their own body and the people wrapped in those bombs choose to die an ugly death just to have the other side in their setting damaged in some real way as well.
That behavior, sadly, isn’t rare.
That outcome is not a hypothetical, purely academic or purely theoretical concern.
Bombs go off in the world every day to show how real that behavior is.
Suicide bombers exist in amazingly large numbers in the world today — literally occurring almost daily in some conflicted settings — and we all need to know and understand and value and appreciate the fact that those bombers do not happen in settings where the groups have figured out win-win solutions to their problems and win-win approaches to their inter group issues.
Avoiding the equivalent of suicide bombers in your world is another reason why win-win is better and can be much better than both win-lose and lose-lose for the settings you are in.
Win-win is a better outcome at multiple very practical levels and it should be our goal in each community and setting where it is a relevant context for our interactions.
Remember, when you do that —
The goal of win-win is still — very clearly and directly — to win, and you do actually win when it happens.
The people who call that strategy weak relative to their group and its approach to the world could not be more wrong.
In the real world, win-win is very often actually the strongest and most robust functional approach for your group because it gives you the best protection for your wins and it very significantly reduces your future vulnerabilities and your risks and exposure relative to other people in your setting who otherwise can actually hate you because you made them lose and who want to do you harm in the future to avenge their loss.
How is that relevant to where we are as a nation today?
We need to win.
We need to make achieving win-win outcomes our goal as a country and our strategy for future success and safety.
We need to understand where and how to collectively win in each relevant setting to make that happen.
We need to figure out win-win solutions for the areas where we have inter group challenges as a nation.
We need to start by agreeing as Americans that we each do want to succeed as a nation and then we need to agree that the nation we want to be is based on our ideals and our core beliefs and not on our race, tribe, ethnicity, clan, family, or any other of the other easy to use and functionally permanent and aligned groupings that we have as a nation.
We are a very diverse nation.
That’s a major strength if we use it in both strategic and capable ways.
We need to celebrate and enjoy and fully utilize our diversity and we need to appreciate the various cultural elements in music and art and wide array food choice legacies that we bring as Americans to our collective grouping, and we need to have those wonderful diverse things all make us interesting and strong and not divide us.
We need to be united as Americans by our individual commitment and our group commitment to be united under our most enlightened and mutually supportive values, beliefs, ethical standards and behavioral expectations.
Win-win should be one of those core and clearly articulated values that unites us.
The set of values attributed to us as a nation in the InterGroup Understanding books already lists Win-Win as a foundational goal, skill set, tactic, strategy, and commitment.
The personal and visible commitment part of that alignment component that creates win for each group is extremely important because people from various groups who begin with various degrees of being Us and Them often tend not to trust each other until a reason for trust exists — and being with another set of people who have committed to help you win and who then also do obvious and visible and trusted things to help you and your group win need to be part of the strategy in order to become Us to each other.
The InterGroup books have some points, beliefs, examples, strategies, and insights that can help us along those paths to being Us.
The Art of Intergroup Peace — like the ancient Sun Tzu Art of War handbook — has some basic parts and strategies that need to be understood and used effectively to help create and protect inter group Peace in our communities and settings.
Win-win strategies are foundational parts of that overall inter group Peace strategy and direction.
We Need Five Win-Win Goals for America
We need to set some collective goals as a nation that allow us to prove to each other that we do want to be a mission driven American Us and that we do want everyone to succeed because we are so much stronger and safer collectively when all groups succeed.
Five goals can help us a lot to go down that path.
Committing to help all kids from every group at least in those first magnificently high opportunity and high potential first months and years of life needs to be part of that five-part macros Peace strategy.
Committing to not say things that are not true also needs to be part of that strategy.
Committing to provide health care to everyone and then making that care continuously better should be part of that strategy.
Having the Police Department in every community creating safety as a community Us for the people in each setting needs to be part of that agenda.
And understanding that WIN-WIN should be our goal and our commitment and a core skill set for our communities and our leaders should be an anchor to our context for the entire process.
Let’s Win in a way that also enables and supports a Win for every other American Us so that we all do well and both prosper and thrive.
It is a lovely and good thing to each win.
Let’s make winning what we do and let’s have a wonderful and highly productive and rewarding time doing it.
Peace needs to be our future — because the alternatives to Peace that are triggered in the context of our most divisive instinctive behaviors are so damaging and so wrong for Peace — and they will result in a very clear Loss for us all that will damage our children and their children after them in ways that we will regret forever.
Let’s not have that loss for us or for them.
Losing is wrong.
Let’s not let the people who are trying to get us to become just another multi tribal country at war with itself actually steer us to that massive collective loss.