10 Practical Ways to Create Mutually Beneficial Relationships

Winning doesn’t have to be at someone’s expense. Instead of focusing on what you want, focus on how much you can accomplish together.

You may be thinking, “If I don’t advocate for myself, who will?” The answer is simple. Rather than focusing solely on your needs, identify opportunities where you can mutually benefit. In other words, think win-win rather than winner-take-all.

Win-win is cooperative, not competitive.

10 practical ways to create mutually beneficial relationships

#1. Change your outlook.

Shift your mindset from me to we — selfish to selfless.

#2. Listen before you speak.

Don’t assume you know what people want. Make it your business to find out.

#3. Pinpoint areas of mutual interest.

Identify common goals and areas of synergy.

#4. Select opportunities where everyone benefits.

Opportunities don’t have to be large. Small wins help to build momentum while you pursue long-term goals.

#5. Focus on the journey as well as the destination.

Fight the tendency to focus solely on results.

First, get to know each other and build trusting relationships — transparency, honesty, and respect are key.

#6. Secure buy-in.

Never force your preferences on others. Work together to create commitment.

#7. Abide by the “shoe-on-the-other-foot” rule.

Put yourself in each other’s shoes to ensure that you’re being fair and equitable. Ask yourself whether you’d be happy to trade places with them.  

#8. Make sure everyone benefits.

If the benefits of a relationship become too lopsided, consider adjustments or changing course.

#9. Don’t keep score.

There will be periods when benefits are not equal, but over the long term, things work out. Will it come out evenly? Probably not. But this isn’t a competition.

#10. Think long term.

Never win at the expense of the relationship.

This post is adapted from The Path to a Meaningful Life by Frank Sonnenberg.

Still curious: 7 Ways to Master the Most Important Leadership Skill

Frank Sonnenberg is an award-winning author and a well-known advocate for moral character, personal values, and personal responsibility. He has written nine books and has been named one of “America’s Top 100 Thought Leaders.”

Additionally, his blog — FrankSonnenbergOnline — has attracted millions of readers and was recently named one of the “Top Self-Improvement and Personal Development Blogs” in the world.