The 4 Principles of Strong Win-Win admin November 18, 2020

The 4 Principles of Strong Win-Win

The 4 Principles of Strong Win-Win

The 4 principles of successful negotiation


A few years ago I created a one hour course on Negotiation, specifically on my Strong Win-Win method, which I will publish in bite-sized chunks over the coming weeks and months.

This first one outlines the 4 core principles that lie behind the Strong Win-Win method and you can see the video here but if you want to read the transcript you are in the right place.

The methodology of Strong Win-Win boils down to four simple principles and six steps and in this video, we’re going to look at the principles.


Principle 1: It’s not about winning the battle, it’s about winning the war

The first principle is it’s not about winning the battle, it’s about winning the war. This might seem self-evident but it’s quite easy to lose sight of that when you’re in the heat of the negotiation. So keep focussed on the big picture, the strategic objective, what you’re really trying to achieve and don’t let yourself be distracted away from that by the detail. Don’t lose the dollar because you’re focussing on the cent.

This doesn’t mean the detail is unimportant. Of course it is important. But it is secondary to the big picture and if ever there is a conflict between the two, the big picture wins. Let’s say you are in a divorce proceeding and you’re just haggling over the last few hundred pounds. Is that really so important if it’s holding everything up and perhaps settling might enable you to remain amicable, close an episode and move on with the rest of your life?


Principle 2: In the world of human endeavour, 1+1=3

The second principle is that in the world of human endeavour, 1+1=3. The whole of economic growth and human progress is built on this principle. You have a cow, I have a bull, together we have a business.

So focus on how you can work with the other party to combine your resources to create extra value so that both parties are better off. If we’re dividing a pie between us, if I want more of the pie it will be at your expense so you will fight it. Likewise, if you want more it will be at my expense so I will fight it. How do we resolve this? We bake a bigger pie! Now both of us can be happy.

It’s the same with your negotiations. Often they seem mutually exclusive and this sets up the situation for a fight. Instead, focus on how the two of you can work together to create extra value and now both parties will be better off.


Principle 3: Never be rude to the waiter

The third principle is never be rude to the waiter. It’s the nature of the waiter’s job that you can be rude to them. You can call them over and tell them how bad the food is, how terrible the service is. You can shout at them, you can swear at them, and they will take it and apologise. Then they will go into the kitchen and do something unspeakable in your soup!

It’s the same with negotiation. If you push something through because you can – maybe you are more powerful than them and so you insist on getting what you want at their expense – they will find a way of evening things out. They will put their junior on the job, they will use cheaper material, they will cut corners, they will follow the letter of the agreement rather than the spirit and so on.

So never use your power simply because you can.


Principle 4: Be unmessable with!

The last principle is be unmessable with. Never let them think they take advantage of you or get one over you or bully you. Never give in because they are being rude or aggressive or trying to intimidate you. This does not mean you have to be aggressive back – never bully but never let yourself be bullied.


These four principles are fundamental to negotiation and fundamental to the idea of Strong Win-Win. Strong Win-Win says go for win-win, even for selfish reasons win-win is the best approach. But win-win does not mean lose-win so boost your strength so you don’t give in unecessarily. And interestingly, projecting that strength means the other party is more likely to be win-win too.


In next week’s article, you will be able to read more about the methodology. Specifically, we will look at the 6 steps to reaching Strong Win-Win.


1 Comment
  • December 2, 2020, 8:13 am

    […] Last week, we saw the 4 core principles underlying the methodology. This week we look at the 6 steps to a successful Strong Win-Win result. You can see the video here but read on for the transcript. […]

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