Think Win-Win

In his best-selling book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey, a performance guru, introduces the concept of ‘win-win’ thinking – a concept that I believe sits at the heart of any elite property investor’s mind.

Covey explains that we must plan for others to benefit from our own actions and in doing so unleash a potential to take ourselves to an even greater, higher performance. Why? Because they are more likely to do the same in return. Win-win thinking is a performance concept used by many and one that, in its simplest form, is easy to understand. The challenge however, when we all face pressure and difficult decisions, is that it is sometimes really hard to act upon.

Most of us learn to base what we perceive to be success by comparing ourselves to others and through competition and ‘beating’ other people. We may think about succeeding in a way that is based on others failing. In other words, someone else must lose in order for me to win. Win-win thinking teaches us to move away from this type of negative and limited mentality.

Win-win thinking flies in the face of this “I win, you lose” mentality. It encourages us to help others to win too, and in doing so increase success for ourselves. Behind win-win thinking, there are a few assumptions, namely:-

Firstly, that each person’s integrity stays intact and that these intentions are consistent and honest. This of course takes some trust and this type of trust may take some time to build. Secondly, that we have the ability to consider others – their perspective and their wishes. In other words, what winning mean to them. Taking the time to really understand and accept this is a very powerful and important step for both parties. And lastly, and crucially, that both sides have an ‘abundance’-style mentality: that there is the belief that there is more than enough to go around.

This is the one part that always sticks in my head and one that most closely reflects the mindset of most of the people I meet through Perform in Property. The feeling that we all can win, and that we want to share how to go about this, is exactly the culture we see thriving at our events. Win-win thinking requires a fine balance between courage and consideration that nurtures a prosperous environment to ensue.

What does all of this mean for a property investor?  Win-win thinking is relevant in every phase of an investor’s journey; from buying (for example whilst negotiating), to renovating (in dealing with suppliers and tradespeople) and also when renting (in terms of understanding what a tenant might really want). It provokes an interesting shift for many landlords, to consider asking a tenant the question. What can I do to improve your home?


What else do you need to make living here more enjoyable and more comfortable?

I recently had a similar conversation with some of my own tenants in a property that didn’t have a tumble dryer and they were struggling to dry clothes when the weather was bad. I had assumed they wouldn’t want a condenser type dryer in the hallway – but this is exactly what they did want. They couldn’t have been more appreciative and it was a really easy (and justifiable) spend for me. They have just re-signed to stay another year in the property. WIN-WIN.

Developing win-win dynamics across all of your working relationships will ensure that they will thrive organically. An example of this may be with an estate agent who you want to come to you to first with a new and interesting property that has just come to market. Understanding what that same estate agent wants is key to creating a win-win working relationship. Once we ask, listen and understand what the win is for them, then you can put this in place. So, for example, if the agent wants to grow the rental side of his business, that’s something you can definitely help with as you’ll need that service and can even recommend his or her services, moving forward. WIN-WIN.