Win-Win is For Losers!
By Michael Soon Lee
every negotiating book ever written takes a win-win approach
to agreements. However, master negotiators know that win-win is for
losers. In reality, nobody believes in win-win because people play
to win – not to tie, and certainly not to lose.
martial arts, for example, whether you are sparring for practice or
in a tournament, you do not want your opponent to win. Even if the
person across the mat from you is your best friend or your brother
or sister, you still don’t want them to beat you. There’s nothing
wrong with this attitude because the need to win is human nature,
for both men and women, and it’s what drives people to do their
let’s be clear -- winning doesn’t mean breaking even. If you are an
avid gambler you would not consider yourself a winner if you went to
Las Vegas and played blackjack with $100 for three hours and left
the table with $100. If your hockey or soccer team ends an
important game in a tie do you consider it a win? Martial artists
play to win and so do you.
Contracts are signed with each party’s own interests in mind.
Leading up to the contract is the negotiation, and the winning
attitude must start there. This is not to say that the opposing
party does not get what she wants out of a deal as well, but an
experienced negotiator lets her have it on his own terms. The mark
of a master negotiator is to walk away from the table with what he
came for while letting the other party feel she got a good
deal as well. Now that’s skill.
suggests a tie wherein you, in the best case scenario, end up with a
dissatisfying compromise. On the other hand, win big/win small means
getting what you came for while still making sure the other party’s
needs are met as well. You will always get the best deal in
bargaining if you follow more of a win big/win small
truly win, it means you got all of your needs met and obtained as
many of your wants as possible. You must recognize the difference
between wants and needs and how to keep them at the forefront of
people feel guilty if they win big by obtaining more of what they
want from a deal than the opposite party seems to. Don’t fall into
that trap. They aren’t going to agree to any deal where you are the
only one to benefit. For all you know, they may be going through a
divorce, job transfer, illness, need cash, have tax problems, or
some other situation that you are helping them to resolve. There was
a story in the newspaper a few years back about a man who was
running off with his secretary after telling his wife he wanted a
divorce. Before he left town to vacation with his new sweetheart,
he hastily called his wife and told her to sell his Mercedes for “as
much as you can get” and send him the money in the Bahamas. She
sold the brand new car for one dollar. Now, the buyer of that
Mercedes definitely got a good deal, but he needn’t have felt bad.
The wife found immeasurable satisfaction in sending her ex-husband a
check for a single dollar. There could literally be a million
reasons why someone wants to buy or sell, the fairness of which is
not our concern. Obviously, if they are mentally infirm you should
not take advantage.
with your own interests in mind and assume the other party will do
the same. One family had some large, unused items cluttering up
their garage so they called a company to come over to see how much
it would cost to haul it away. After looking at the freezer, file
cabinets, and other assorted pieces of furniture the company quoted
$200. The family told them they would have to think about it and
reminded the company that if they had to come back to do the job, it
would cost more time and money for gas. At that point, the haulers
offered to drop the price down to $175. The family stalled,
suggesting that they might call in a non-profit group who would
gladly accept the items and take them away for free. After a little
more back and forth the two parties eventually settled for $110.
The family was prepared to pay at least $150 – the minimum cost of
having to do the job themselves -- so they won big. On the other
hand, the hauling company still got $110 which, for them, meant they
won a little as well. Certainly this was not a win-win but
more of a win big-win small result.
big you must see an opening and go for it without hesitation. If a
martial artist is going to break a brick with his hand he cannot
hesitate or he is more likely to break his wrist than the brick. If
you are selling a house and are still thinking of all of the fond
memories it contains you will not get the best deal because your
emotions will make you hesitate. It’s probably better to wait until
your focus is on your next house before putting this one on the
it or not, many people negotiate with the intention to fail. Watch
the words you say or think when a negotiating opportunity arises. If
you hear yourself using such phrases as, “I’ll try” or “I’ll do my
best” you are defeated before you even begin. These words say that
you are playing to lose because you’re giving an excuse for not
winning. Instead, replace defeatist scripts with such phrases as,
“When I win…” or “When I get the best deal…”
principle here is “Always negotiate for the best deal you can for
your side. Do not be concerned about fairness as long as the other
party can protect his own interests.” Start out with the intention
of getting the best deal you can and you will.
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