Creating Win-Win Business Relationships

There is a common perception in the world of business that success is about victory and conquest. Make the deal at all odds using hard-knuckle tactics, bust up the competition, create an innovative new product or idea that buries your competition. There are situations where this mindset is true. However the best situations in business are usually win-win. Here’s why.

Win-Win Situations Lead to Lasting Partnerships and Success

Instead of thinking of business as a zero sum game, think of it as adding value. If you make a deal that adds value, a new partner or collaboration or any other win-win scenario you are making your business into a vital plank and partner. You are also building trust that can last and relationships that not only can last but that can flower into new, exciting and lucrative future opportunities. Entering negotiations or even just replying to e-mails with the mindset of “what do I want?” and “what do they want?” and then trying your best to meet your own needs first and at least some of those of the other party is the best way to go about business.¹

Consider Contingency Plans

Having positive intentions and working toward win-win agreements is a noble and often productive goal. However, things do not always go as planned and different perspectives and interests are inevitable. For this reason, it can be a good idea to make contingency agreements with whomever you are in discussions with so that there are fallback scenarios in the case of certain things happening. Sit down and hash out the details. If X happens we do Y, if Y happens we reset to a former agreement, and so on.²

Examples of Win-Win Business Thinking Are All Around You

There are inspiring examples of win-win thinking winning the day all around. One notable example is the partnership between Red Bull energy drinks and GoPro cameras. In return for exclusive rights to competitions and events sponsored by Red Bull, GoPro and Red Bull joined forces across their networks to broadcast footage, enlarging their audience and brand recognition significantly. The best partnerships help your business, your clients and your partner. In that sense they could even be said to be win-win-win.³

Leave the Scarcity Mindset Behind in the Dust

Having a scarcity mindset of believing there is not enough to go around and you need to grab every scrap while you can has sunk many a business into the ground. The truth is that many of the most successful businesses pursued policies of positive growth and win-win partnerships that led directly to their enormous success. Treat your company’s suppliers well and they will keep increasing their level of service and quality to you, pay employees fairly and promote them regularly and you will see increased workplace loyalty, longevity and positive input. The list goes on. Being generous and fair to those who work for you, with you and buy from you is not just about being “nice” or getting a good reputation, it’s about providing real value and relationships that last – and that boost your company in the long-run.⁴

Adding Value

It’s inevitable that partners, clients, employees and upper management all have their own perspectives and interests, sometimes overlapping and sometimes diverging. The key in forming win-win scenarios is to solve problems that not only benefits the other party but also benefits your company. An example could be scoring a great supply deal with an office furniture company and in return replacing your worn and old office chairs with their line of products. You get something you need, they get a sale, the relationship flourishes. The examples of win-win situations abound, in life and in business.³