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Negotiating to win a zero sum game or for a win-win?

Zero Sum game: The parties negotiate from a position that there is only one winner and therefore there must be a loser.

Win-Win: denoting a situation in which each party benefits in some way. I would add that each party should win in equal proportion as close as possible.

In the vast majority of cases, organizations negotiate with their greatest asset in the Zero Sum game mindset. The organization feels the more they give away the less they will have. I hear things like:

“There is only so much at the bottom line”

“I can only pay so much”

As we all know, negotiating is not just about money. It is many things and the non-monetary can be the most important part. Getting an organization out of the Zero Sum game mentality and into a Win-Win is of paramount importance. This change can be incredibly difficult.   

In negotiating with your greatest asset, you should be setting the stage for where you are going not where you are. Where do you need to be in 6 months, 1 year and 3 years? What proactive steps need to be taken by the organization and the people to be where you need both of them in the future? Where are the gaps between your plan going forward and where your people are currently? How can you motivate them to acquire the skills you need them to have? How much is it worth to you and your bottom line to have your people at the place you need them?

Did you notice, how with the questions, you are lining up the organization and the people to be linked together for the benefit of both? Now how much you can pay has changed, because of the value you are asking them to bring to the organization. The next obvious question is who are the people who are in your organization who are either not meeting the standard now or will not be able to meet the standard going forward?   

When your people recognize you are seeing them from a standpoint of value, they will respond within the new paradigm of value. What can they bring to the table? Increased skills and a higher level of engagement will result in a much stronger bottom line.

How can we help you find your Win-Win?