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January 26, 2012

Learning WIN-win Negotiations from a 2-Year-Old

SNI's Philosophy

Jeff Cochran

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One of the key philosophies we believe in at SNI is that both sides can win in a negotiation.  This does not mean that both sides can get everything they want.  Rather, it means both sides can walk away from a negotiation satisfied.  One side will always “WIN”, but the other side can also “win”.  To be an effective WIN-win negotiator, you have to be able to identify what you really want and what the other side really wants.

The following is an excerpt from the book “The Power of NICE” by Ron Shapiro, Mark Jankowski, and Jim Dale. Mark likes to tell a story about his niece that shows how a clever 2-year-old was able to utilize Win-win negotiation to get what she wanted. 

Adrienne, my 2-year-old niece, displayed one of the more effective uses of the WIN-win maxim: “The best way to get what you want is to help them get what they want.”  Adrienne likes nothing better than being carried around, all day long, every day, but her parents, wanting her to realize that when you grow up, you don’t get carried around, wanted to break her of this habit.  When her pleading, “Pick me up!” began to go unanswered, she modified her approach.  In no time, she was looking up at her parents, offering her outstretched arms, saying, “Hug.  Hug!”  Who could ignore that affectionate request?  Then, when her father bent down to give his little princess a hug, Adrienne would latch onto his neck, he’d straighten up, and guess what?—she was being carried around.  She got what she wanted—being carried—by giving him what he wanted—a hug.

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