For years, win-win has been taught in all kinds of negotiation curriculums. At SNI, we format the phrase WIN-win. We firmly believe that the best way to get what you want is to also adequately satisfy the other side’s wants. The following is an excerpt from the book “The Power of NICE” by Ron Shapiro, Mark Jankowski, and Jim Dale that explains the myth vs. reality of win-win and the difference in our use of the phrase.
The Myth of Win-Win
Negotiation experts (and amateurs) have been preaching win-win for some time. The trouble is, it’s unrealistic. The expression win-win has become more of a pop cliché than a negotiating philosophy. It’s either a winner’s rationalization for lopsided triumph, a loser’s excuse for surrender, or both sides’ phrase for when everybody is equally unhappy. There’s no such this as both parties winning identically, that is, both getting all of what they want. One party is bound to get more and one less, even if both sides are content with the outcome. The latter is possible. Both parties can be satisfied, but both cannot win to the same degree.
The Reality of WIN-win
If someone is going to come out ahead, our aim is to make sure that someone is you. That’s WIN-win. Both parties win, but you win bigger.
WIN-win is realistic. It isn’t easy-it requires focus and discipline but it is achievable. And it doesn’t turn negotiation into war. Because it’s not WIN-lose, WIN-clobber, or WIN-ransack-pillage-and obliterate. You don’t have to destroy the other side. On the contrary, you want them to survive, even thrive, in order to make sure the deal lasts and leads to future, mutually beneficial, deals. That’s The Power of Nice and WIN-win is what that power delivers.