Jun 27, 2009

If Each of Your Assets is Not Benefiting from a Decision You're Making, it's Not a Win Win

The commitment to living the Win/Win philosophy has perhaps changed my life more than any other single idea.

The Win/Win philosophy, if you’re living it completely, means you’ll never intentionally engage in any activity or make any decision that adversely harms another. It also means you have enough respect for yourself to avoid knowingly being taken advantage of.

If a potential deal is in process of coming together, and one of the parties wishes to take advantage of the other, the situation is setup to be a Win/Loose or Loose/Win. Either I’m trying to Win at your expense (Win/Loose), or you’re trying to win at my expense (Loose/Win). If an agreement can’t be reached without hurting one or more people involved in the negotiation, the right thing to do is to walk, or in other words, go with “no deal”.

Most people reading this blog have probably read about these same concepts in Stephen Covey’s book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, which I highly recommend. The ideas of Win/Win, Win/Loose, No Deal, are not hard to grasp.

And yet, it’s relatively easy to take on projects, buy investments, or make decisions that adversely affect our core assets, creating an unsuspecting Loose/Win, or even a Loose/Loose.

Every decision I make that affects my assets should make ALL of the assets more valuable.

Now before we focus too much on financial assets, which are really the most expendable and temporary of all the various assets, let’s consider some of the assets that don’t necessarily qualify as financial assets. After all, these likely will be more valuable to you than anything you can quantify. The most precious things in life can’t be measured, and the stuff that gets quantified isn’t the stuff that endures.

What are some of your most cherished assets?

Here are some of the things I most cherish – my most precious assets.

  1. My testimony and belief in Christ and the principles I live by
  2. My wife and the love that’s between us
  3. My daughter and the joy she is to have in my life
  4. My country and the freedoms I enjoy
  5. My memories and the lessons I’ve learned from the past
  6. The challenges I’ve overcome that have made me who I am
  7. My hope and vision for and faith in the future
  8. My friends
  9. The people I serve in church, and in the community
  10. My physical, mental, and spiritual health

Every decision I make, even if it’s strictly a financial investment, must pass through these assets first – my core assets. If the decision to buy or build a business, or invest in a piece of real estate, or create a new joint venture in anyway disrupts these core assets, then it’s not a Win Win for everyone involved.

If I choose to start a company that’s very lucrative but in any way unethical or immoral, it’s a Win-Loose against my first asset, my code of ethics and my knowledge of correct principles.

If a particular business venture won’t allow me to grow and accomplish more as a person, then it probably is a Win-Loose against #6, (overcoming challenges), and #5 (memories and lessons learned from the past).

If I choose to join an MLM (network marketing) company that requires me to burn bridges and make all my friends run from me because I’ve become “that guy”, then I’ve violated # 8 (friends) and possibly # 9 (church and community).

If I’m working overtime repeatedly and neglecting my family and my health, then I’ve violated # 2, # 3, and # 10. Once again, a Win for the money, but a big Loose, Loose, Loose for wife, children, and my own health.

One of the most important exercises we can do on a weekly basis is to take inventory of our assets, our REAL assets.

1. List your assets, in order of value and priority. Or, if you’ve already listed them and prioritized them, look over the list you’ve made.

2. We should then ask ourselves, what 3 things can we do this upcoming week that will increase the value of these, our most cherished assets. The best way to see your most cherished assets appreciate in value is to begin appreciating and valuing them.