We know from experience that compromise is usually the most direct route to settlement when differences or disagreements occur. But we also know that compromise is often not enough to bring us together.

When we speak of making a “better deal for both” it is important to recognize that the words mean something quite different in collaborative Both-Win® negotiating than it does in conventional competitive bargaining. In competitive negotiating we have limited goals; specifically, the pursuit by each side of its own interests and the satisfactory sharing of whatever is at issue or to be distributed or settled.

For example, let us imagine for a moment that we were bargaining for the sharing of a ten-piece pie. If one got six and the other found four satisfactory that would be sufficient for a conventional competitive agreement. The same would be true if the pieces shared were seven and three or eight and two as long as both sides found this satisfactory and acceptable.

Collaboration in a workplace negotiation can create profound economic and psychological benefits. It can reduce cost, make your work easier or relieve internal bickering by resolving problems or finding better ways to do things. On a higher level, collaboration has the potential to create new opportunities for growth and longer-lasting relationships. Collaborative negotiating is centered on enlarging value for mutual benefit. This leads to the successful resolution of differences and a better agreement for both parties.

To summarize, the magic of the collaborative process we propose is that it allows both parties to a workplace difference or dispute to work together to enlarge our hypothetical 10” pie to one that is now larger and at the same time tastier. These benefits make it easier to share and increase mutual satisfaction with the final distribution. The essence of collaborative Both-Win® negotiation is that there is always a better deal available if both parties invest the time to search for it together.

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