Win-Win Ways to Break a Deadlock
Another widely used technique for bringing parties toward settlement is what I call the “United Nations Coalition. ” This approach brings into play the interests of diverse outside groups in reaching a solution...
Another widely used technique for bringing parties toward settlement is what I call the “United Nations Coalition.” This approach brings into play the interests of diverse outside groups in reaching a solution. Sometimes a coalition that includes the government, local politicians, unions and bankers can push the buyer and seller into agreement, even when the gap between them is wide. In Japan, you can hardly close a complex transaction without considering the needs of institutional forces far from the table. Balancing the interests of everyone involved in a multifaceted transaction is essentially a political decision.
It is best resolved and settle by a high level coalition. With win-win strategies, we can see how satisfaction for both parties can be increased with little or no cost to either party. When people deal with each other on a win-win basis they succeed. Together they make 2+2 become not 4 but 5 or more. They create value, and bargaining becomes easier since there is more for both parties to share. I have personally used the win-win approach many times and can assure you that it works remarkably well.
The magic of the “both-win” is that is captures the attention of the other party instantaneously. Who among us is so stubborn as to refuse to listen to an opportunity for gain? Both-win strategies broaden the scope of negotiation by enlarging the sphere of mutual interests. Suddenly the buyer and seller see the potential for further profit; the pie gets bigger and better for both. The next time you are in a negotiation that appears to be going nowhere, try saying, “Let’s find a better way to benefit both of us.” You’ll be amazed at how quickly the discussion moves to a cooperative track.
The threat of deadlock withers away. Win-win is, beyond a doubt, the most powerful payoff strategy in negotiation. Deadlock is a normal risk of bargaining. People from other cultures handle it better than Americans. For them, walking away from a deal is a matter of habit. They’ve done it in their daily lives since childhood. Walking away is just another way to tell the other side that the offer is not yet good enough.
For Americans deadlock is usually more of a trauma-a psychological battle involving two parties whose egos are at stake. Deadlock is a legitimate test of the balance of power and resolve of opposing parties. It need not be feared or shunned as a tactic. It may or may not mean “dead.” In most cases, if properly handled, it is merely one more stage of the bargaining process. If the parties are convinced they have something to gain by continuing to talk, they will talk.
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