IS WIN-WIN NEGOTIATION DEAD?

Lions and Zebras (2)In the business world, value is the commodity. Like time, money, resources, contacts, and skills, value is a created asset that can be exchanged for goods or services. As it needs to be maximized, you must analyze and negotiate anything that requires parting with any form of value. Since you will be faced with many business situations in in which value is at stake, you therefore need to be at the top of your game in the art of negotiation.

You must however be realistic when negotiating and not get carried away with what could be argued here to be the illusion of win-win situations during negotiation. Reason is that what happens often in give-and-take negotiations is that in reality both parties will usually be just slightly displeased about the outcome and often come away with a little bit less than they expected. So while Win–win is a popular desired outcome in negotiations, in reality win-win situations are rare and could in fact be a dead end. To give an example, consider this analogy. Liken the business world to a jungle and imagine that a lion and a zebra have to negotiate about survival. Now consider this, can the predator lion and the zebra prey actually have a win-win situation? Try to visualize the lion negotiating with the zebra that it will only kill the zebra but not eat it. Or fancy the zebra negotiating with the lion that even though it escaped from the lion in a chase, it will offer its thigh as compensation. This really cannot be a win-win situation because it is either the lion catches the zebra and consumes it for dinner or the Zebra escapes with its life.

The argued fact is that in most deals or scenarios, especially in business, one party will always have the slight upper hand even if it is not very obvious. It is more a case of you win some, you lose some, and the goal is for you to have more wins than losses through preparation, perseverance and hard work. So can you really have a win-win negotiation situation? What do you think?

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  • Chakadizulu

    Very nice article. I like what you said: in the business world, value is the commodity. Very apt.