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5 Step Framework for Creating Winning Transactions

I don’t want to lose- EVER! But that doesn’t mean that you need to lose in order for me to win. In fact, quite the opposite.  By setting conditions in which we can both win, we are able to string together a group of allies who find favor and fortune in all of our transactions.

Have you fully considered just how little demand there is for a loser in business? Now I am not talking about litigation, or a need to get even, or retribution- in fact there is a high likelihood in those circumstance there are only losers. But in any normal business, there just isn’t high demand for a loser.

There is a benefit to creating win-win situations, needless to say. So how do we do that on a consistent basis?

  1. Mutual Respect. Start by treating the other party as an equal winner, and a part of a long term relationship you want to keep intact.
  2. Understand Desired Outcomes.  Before we begin any negotiation we need to first find how we would define success.  Without clarity of an end state, we are running through life like a ship with no captain.
  3. Identify non-negotiables. We all have places that we just aren’t willing to go in any circumstance.  By getting the non-negotiable out of the way, we are then able to figure out where the boundaries are.
  4. Reach an amicable conclusion. Get to “Yes”, where both parties feel like they can live with.
  5. Negotiate Terms. This is the part everyone forgets.  How long does should it take for us to ratify this.

By establishing a framework and entering with clarity, we are able to create transactions that are almost always winners.

Winning doesn’t need a loser

I want you to win in business, but you winning doesn’t mean me losing- and it doesn’t need to mean your employees, vendors or even competitors have to lose.

Entrepreneurs often go into situations with their fangs out (even if they have a smile on their face). It’s like a shark beginning to circle as soon as the chum is in the water. Sometimes we even get so aggressive we begin to focus on an “at all costs” mindset- especially when it comes to sales and generating revenue.

The opposite of this is the type of person who is completely at peace with losing, and I don’t have to tell you that you likely won't go far in business if you are comfortable with losing.

What happens when we begin to consider that in business there are other options to us than winner and loser.

Stephen Covey in the 7 habits discusses 6 options

Win/Win

Lose/Lose

Lose/Win

Win/Lose

Win

Win/Win or No Deal

The most important of these is reaching the “No Deal”. You can see that there are other options available to us, can’t you?

A mature negotiator realizes that there is a balance between being courageous and having consideration for others. If you can’t win outright, consider what a best alternative to a negotiated agreement might be.

Think of it in your own relationships- are you fighting to win, or fighting not to lose?

Am I failing as a parent?

I spend a not insignificant amount of my time each day, week and month working on my business ventures. Whatever is left goes directly to my own health and well being first (I am a better husband and father when I am of healthy mind, body and spirit), then to my wife and children.

Because of that I take great pride in the types of human beings I am raising. As we prepared for a fun Sunday outing I asked the children if they would like to bring a friend.

In a bit of life’s unfairness for my son, my daughters friends said she could come but my son’s friend was unable to go. I could tell from a few underhanded comments that my daughter was caught up in a little bit of happiness and excitement, but in her language was taking the opportunity to kick her brother while he was down.

There are multiple ways each child could have looked at the day. My son could have said “It sucks my friend can’t come” or “I am excited about an adventure and because my sister will have a friend, I will get lots of undivided attention from Dad.”

My daughter could have said “I am going to have more fun than you because I have a friend coming” or “I’m thankful for friends who take me up on last minute adventures.”

Can you see the stark difference? This is a situation that doesn’t have a loser. But how in the world did we get here?

I certainly didn’t teach them these character traits or language patterns. But to look in the broader view of society we teach that there needs to be losers.

A football game has a winner and a loser. Someone gets the last cookie out of the jar, leaving the rest to have none. High school awards Valedictorians, then a whole bunch of second string finishers.

It is human nature to want to win, but winning doesn’t always have a loser. In my life, as in business, I believe that I can win AND you can win, and when we both win- the intensity of the celebration is that much deeper. Imagine a super bowl where both teams get to celebrate.

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