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The secret to getting what you want at work


Even if you’re not running a business, you need things from other people in order to succeed. Asking for help is extremely difficult for many, typically the higher your responsibilities the more cautious you are to ask. Why? Perhaps you suppose it makes you look incompetent but this unfounded belief is stopping you from getting what you want. Learning how to acquire resources, in a professional context, is a skill that pays dividends over and over – it’s worth investing your time to learn.

How to get what you want

There are a lot of different strategies to get what you want, in a professional context, but the one we discuss today is certainly one of the most powerful. It’s called the win/win strategy. It’s the way to get both parties what they want, by helping each other. You don’t even always have to give something away to strike a win-win deal. Sometimes, simply by helping you, other parties are helping themselves. Maybe by helping you with your workload, your colleague will get more visibility in front of those who matter or more experience in an area of work that they’d been curious about. There can be one-off win/win negotiations or more supportive, long-term deals, such as a work swap.

Why win/win is not just about getting what you want

Creating a mutually agreeable win/win solution is so much more than a negotiation tactic – it’s a way of work. If you are keen to make an impact on those around you and dominate your industry, you want to build trust, everywhere you go. A winwin negotiation settlement is an integrative negotiated agreement. In theory, this means the negotiating parties have reached an agreement after fully taking into account each others’ interests. You are encouraging other people to like you and continue to do business with you. In the win/win environment, you encourage shared responsibility and collaboration, which create opportunities for innovation, continuous improvement, and shared benefits. Defensive, risk-averse, compliance-based contracts undermine these results. The win/win agreements are far more likely to establish principles for improved flexibility, allowing both parties to discover hidden values that they may not have utilized in previous negotiation approaches.

Further, using the win/win strategy as a way to resolve conflict or problems is hugely beneficial to your business. When you identify and, implement, a win/win solution, both parties leave the situation with a sense of accomplishment and a better feeling about the relationship. The very fact that you attempted to find a win/win solution is usually enough to build the respect and trust required to build positive long-term relationships.