No deal

There are many fundamental requirements for a win-win deal to work. We need to take the time to listen to what the opposite side are really saying. That, in turn, will help us understand their key priorities (and ignore their “positions”). But, for them to work, we have to be willing to accept the risk of not doing a deal at all. The wonderful rewards that come from win-win can only work when we’re willing to take that risk.

If you are imagining complex business deal negotiations here, “win-win or no deal” is about a lot more than that. It could be negotiating something with your kids or friends or manager. Great negotiations have the same characteristics – regardless of who we’re negotiating with. Lest we forget, we are negotiating more often than we think.

And, win-win agreements are the best kinds of agreements. They’re typically win-win-win, when executed well, with the third “win” coming for all stakeholders involved.

But, they require us to walk in with a mindset that accepts “Win-win or no deal.”

That’s the overlooked part of the idea of pursuing win-win agreements. They don’t always work. They can’t always work – because it requires both sides to be able to buy into assumptions of abundance.

But, much too often, we give up on them without giving the other side a chance.

As with many great things, we have to start with “this might not work” to give it a shot at actually working.

4 thoughts on “No deal”

  1. This hits close to home because my career (as a cause marketing fundraiser) largely requires this win-win-win mentality.


    Stripes Convenience Stores offers a free Slush Monkey in exchange for a $1 donation = win for Stripes customers who get one of the stores’ most popular items free.

    The cancer center I work gets the funds = win for us, win for research, win for our patients (many of which come from communities where Stripes Stores are located)

    Customers who donate in a Stripes location have more affinity with the brand. Employees who work for Stripes stores are more engaged and more inclined to work to be loyal to a business who gives back to the community where they live and work = win for Stripes.


    I love search for and executing these alliances.

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