What do I mean and why is it important?
Here I’m talking about creating a situation where all parties feel that they have gained something. Then everyone feels that it is beneficial. They are much more likely to abide by it, work with it and promote it. It’s much more durable.
People talk about creating a WIN-WIN situation but I would argue that you need to aim for the WIN-WIN-WIN. Why? Actually, there is often a 3rd party. Where or who? Imagine that a manager and an employee agree on a course of action that is mutually beneficial to them, but works to the detriment of the company that employs them. Or an adviser refers in another company to provide a service because they will make a fat commission, but that is not in the interests of the end client.
So I always look for the WIN-WIN-WIN in any situation.
Let's look at some examples in the commercial sphere. A client asks you to do something, you provide the service, they pay you. That’s a WIN-WIN. How could you turn that into a WIN-WIN-WIN?
A WIN-WIN-WIN will apply to other areas of life than the commercial transactional. Take, for example, the workplace. It is hugely applicable in Change Management. If you can get the people whom you want to change to believe that it is in their interest to change, so they want to do so you have a classic WIN-WIN-WIN: It benefits the manager trying to implement the change, the employee who feels better with it and works with it and the company that needs the change implemented. In Finance/Accounts, if you get to know your client, spend just a bit of time with them then that will help the relationship that can make the transactions work better for you, for them and also for your employer who might then get swifter payment etc.
Maybe you can also apply this to your children, friends etc. It is what a Mediator will seek to achieve in mediation. Then all sides find a deal they can live with – rather than having one imposed by the courts. It applies to international relations – you’ve got to give the losing side something so that they can save face. It applies to negotiations.
So – go and look for your WIN-WIN-WIN and see what you can find!