Putting win-win in its proper place for full power
“Why do you think he’s going to go for vendor finance?”
“Oh, well, you know. He gets to help me out. There’s a feel good factor. It’s win-win.”
This idea of win-win is deep in the collective consciousness now. I don’t know exactly who came up with it, but I’m pretty sure it was Stephen Covey in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People that made it famous.
But like a lot of things on the way into popular culture, the message has been diluted, distorted and bastardised.
Like my mate. ‘Win-Win’ is not a persuasive tool. “C’mon mate. Give me some money. It’s win-win.”
It’s not something you apply after the fact to justify a decision or bring someone around to it.
It’s a mindset. It’s a way of coming up with solutions. Not a method for selling them.
I see a lot of people get this wrong. Even if their intentions are more genuine that my mate’s.
They decide on what they want, and then look for a way ‘sell the benefits’. And in that moment, they’re not trying to deceive the other party. They’re genuinely looking for the things in the deal that are good for the counter-party.
But this isn’t where you apply win-win.
At its heart, win-win asks you to step into the shoes of the other. Before you’ve decided what you want, empty your agendas and look at the situation through the lens of the other person’s interests.
In that way it’s an act of empathy. It’s about being able to connect with and understand the drives and motivations of another.
It’s a very feely process.
But what happens if you can do that is that you open the space right up, and open the door to many possible solutions. You get to see where your interests and their interests intersect. You get to get creative.
That doesn’t happen if you’ve already decided what needs to happen and are just looking for a way to sell it.
This mindset approach to win-win also puts you in a position of strength. If you have taken the time to understand what’s driving another person, you’ll do much better in negotiations. You’ll be able to anticipate where directions will go, and sell the benefits of particular outcomes much more effectively.
So remember this, win-win is first and foremost an act of empathy.
The challenge is not losing sight of your own interests by focusing on the needs of another. This is another important life skill, but we’ll leave that for later.
Who would have thought? So much personal development on the road to becoming a titan of business.