Lose-lose negotiation

You may have wondered why much of the political process results in outcomes nobody really likes. Perhaps it’s because the process is based on compromise. What’s wrong with compromise you may ask?

Let’s consider the definition of the word compromise: “a settlement of differences by mutual concessions.” In other words, each side gives up something they want in exchange for the other side giving up something they want.

This is the definition of lose-lose. The idea of a successful negotiation, based on the work of the Harvard Negotiation Project, is win-win. As we teach in our negotiation workshops, most complex negotiations eventually need a compromise to reach a conclusion. However, that is fundamentally different from starting out with compromise as the objective.

If you want your business negotiations to result in more success than our politicians seem to achieve, don’t start by looking for compromise.

Mitch

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