Creating win-win agreements

By Team Srijan Dec 10, 2007

Win-win situations are least understood. Most people see win-win situations as a "compromise" between what you wanted to achieve and what the other party wanted to achieve. Most such compromises however, lead to lose-lose situations.

A "compromise" is such a negative term anyway. It literally, means that something inside of you died in order to create an agreement; and yet this agreement is not really an agreement. It is just what you began with - a compromise. No true "agreement" can be made which does not leave you happy. Any so-called agreement which leaves you unhappy is not an agreement. Sooner or later it will show up and will create bad-blood, and will most-likely bring you back to where you started - and worse.

So what is a win-win agreement? Does a win-win mean that you are always able to get whatever you would have liked to have during a negotiation?

To answer this question better, let us first understand what a "negotiation"is. Negotiation is not a negative term, as is assumed most often. Start to look at negotiation as a positive discussion, which you have in order to arrive at a "mutually agreeable solution".

A "mutually agreeable solution" need not be a compromise between both parties at all. On the contrary, the process which would lead to such a solution would require to be a process of understanding each other's position, each other's perspective of looking at the situation, and active-seeking of more creative solutions between the two parties.

An ideal situation for creating win-win agreements would be when both parties are aware of the concept and attuned to creating win-win agreement in life. They would thus be able to even speak freely about the concept in case they catch each other leading to negotiations which would not be win-win. However, this is not a requisite. Even one-person who regularly practices win-win agreements, can lead the other person in a discussion, to create such an agreement.

However, in such a case, you would require to be cautious of the state-of-mind of the other party, and it may be worth asking yourself - "Is this person arriving at a compromise, or this truly leading to a win-win solution for both of us"? Practicing such negotiations which lead to agreements, is the best way to learn this art.

I am fortunate to have a Coach to whom I turn to, when I am unable to arrive at a win-win situation in a business or personal-life situation. In turn, I could help pass on the skills I am gaining to anyone interested at Srijan or otherwise, through such specific coaching sessions. Feel free to talk to me. 

Do all negotiations lead to win-win solutions? No, certainly not! In case a win-win deal cannot be arrived at, the famous management Guru, Steven Covey, recommends arriving at a "no-deal" agreement. You both (or all) agree to not-agree. :-) 

Can this principle be applied in family and personal life? More than anywhere else! At work, most of us negotiate a bit anyway. With family, we are all always creating compromises. Compromises lead to "losing yourself", and finally creates a negative state of mind in you, further creating stress and strain in a relationship. "Blaming" sets in. And the quality of family/personal life determines who effective you will be at work. Some of you maybe thinking that "negotiation" sounds so impersonal, so business-like; how could this be practiced with family.

The response lies in a slightly deeper thought process. You cannot give a thing to anyone that you yourself do not have. If you are not happy inside, you cannot give anyone else - your husband/daughter/father/sister/others - happiness.

Once again, I reiterate whether with family or at work, this does not mean that you stick by your demands or desires. Rather, consider and practice the following approach:

  • understand that if you are not creating a win for both parties, you will be creating a lose for both parties eventually
  • discuss freely and share your thoughts
  • truly "listen" to the other person :: listen; as opposed to 'hearing' words through the filter of your own thoughts and mind; listening demands compassion and love
  • bring more clarity in your mind :: clarity can come only when you are calm; meditate a bit on the subject in peace; practice writing your thoughts for bring clarity to your thought process and to find creative solutions before even getting into a discussion
  • learn to be firm :: a lot of us are trained to give in to others' demands (I can speak of most Indians atleast from my experience) specifically when it is family; if you are infirm in communicating your choice/preference/proposal/solution, you will communicate this weakness to the other person subconsciously
  • be more creative in finding a solution

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