Win-Win Business Philosophy in Interpersonal Negotiations

The term “Negotiation” at the most fundamental level defines the process of trying to resolve differences between people. Negotiation is a process that occurs in the day-to-day activities of everyone. This makes the skill of effective negotiation a must-have for everybody. Acquiring this skill is even more important for people involved who are more involved in commercial activities.

business-people-shaking-looking-happyAndrea Cordell in her book, The Negotiation Handbook, states, “Negotiation is an essential skill for all those operating commercially on behalf of their organizations. The ability to negotiate quotations, tenders, proposals, internal and external stakeholders, licensing agreements and so on, could form a critical part of any employee’s role, be it on the buy or supply side.” The book continues by illustrating how important the skill of effective negotiation is.

In the process of negotiation, a number of factors are considered. It is important that the opinion of all the personalities involved are considered. However, apart from this, individual demands, interests, goals, and differences should also be considered with respect to the cultural context in which the negotiation is being carried out.

Basically, there are two major approaches to Negotiation:

  1. Win-Win Approach to Negotiation
  2. Win-Lose Approach to Negotiation

This article seeks to explore the Win-Win Philosophy in interpersonal negotiations. A Win-Win solution is an approach to negotiation that seeks to find solutions that work for everyone.

The win-win approach in negotiation involves careful consideration of both your own stance and that of the other participants in a negotiation. After this, all the two parties involved in the negotiation then attempt to find a workable middle ground. This mutually acceptable position allows both parties involved to walk away from the negotiation happy.

When compared with the win-lose approach to Negotiation, it was established that while the win-lose approach could lead to a decrease in a negotiating partner’s commitment of relationship-specific assets, the win-win approach can have more favorable outcomes. Companies interested in developing long-lasting supply chain relationships with their buyers and suppliers are often advised to consider the win-win approach to negotiation.

However, finding a middle ground is not always an easy task in win-win negotiations. In order to reach a workable compromise, it is important that both parties give as much as they want. In win-win negotiations, you will find that the other party often demands as much as you are willing to give for the trade and vice versa. In order to ensure that everyone is happy, someone might have to give way in some instances. In this case, it is only fair to negotiate some form of compensation and ensure that both parties are satisfied with the ultimate outcome of the negotiation.

In the win-win philosophy to negotiation, it is important to keep an open mind and pay close attention to the goals of the other party. This way you are able to assess if you can help fulfill these goals. It is also important to establish a strong position at the start of the negotiation. This way it becomes much easier to avoid any conflicts in the course of the negotiation.

In his best selling book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People Stephen Covey recommends the “Win-Win” approach to negotiation. Exploring the six paradigms of human interaction: Win-Win, Win-Lose, Lose-Win, Lose-Lose, Win, Win-Win or No Deal, Covey shows that with Win-Lose, or Lose-Win, one person may seem to get what he wants for the moment, but the eventual results will negatively impact the relationship going forward. However, the Win-Win or No Deal option can be used as a backup approach. When we have No Deal as an option in our mind, it removes thoughts of manipulation or promoting selfish agendas.

Former Harvard Law School professor Roger Fisher and negotiation expert William Ury developed a workable approach to Principled negotiation in their 1981 book, Getting to Yes.

Ultimately, the goal of any negotiation process is to get you what you want at the most affordable cost. With the win-win philosophy, you can achieve this. The beautiful part of this approach is that everybody goes home happy afterward.

Yinka Opaneye

Yinka Opaneye

Yinka Opaneye is a highly experienced people operations expert with practical knowledge in recruitment, onboarding, and general talent management, culture mapping and change and general Human Resources processes.

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