A straightforward tactic to help think of people’s interests, not their negotiating position, is to be vigilant and call out obvious hurdles early on. Don’t avoid the differences or a clear and obvious barricade to mutual success, acknowledge it – or them. If left alone, it will remain sitting there through what should be well-intended meetings. Be aware of these types of issues and talk about them right up front.

Look Forward To The Results

For a win-win to truly occur, both sides must walk away with a positive feeling about the relationship, that is clear. How you get there can vary; the result cannot. So, start with the end and work towards it. Look for breakthroughs and what it would mean to get to that point with your colleague, given the moment in time and the current state. Both sides will need to ask questions that help rein in the combative and focus on the result. What can we learn here that can improve happiness in the relationship? Can we do something that increases our professional connectivity? This may seem like grade school, but in fact, what you are trying to get both sides to do is realize that there is a result out there and the possibility exists for the win-win solution to occur. Once both sides believe it can happen, the chances of it coming to fruition increase exponentially.

A simple way of thinking about win-win, which I have used every day for 20 years when dealing with my roster of clients, is to always protect the relationship at all costs. Full stop. Lose out on a short-term win? Fine – as long as the long-term health is improved or intact. Too often individuals are interested only in the deal – they forget about the next 10 years of deals possible if the relationship is kept intact. This has led my firm to an ever-growing, referral-based, investment client roster that grows consistently and organically.

In Closing

Getting to the proper mindset where you can correctly identify the hard work needed to pull off the win-win relationship likely involves a change. It’s difficult because it requires patience and self-control. Don’t chase the dollars in the short-term if it costs you the long-term relationship.

If you put yourself in this headspace where you think critically about relationships as the core – or at least the source – of your business, I believe you’ll be extremely surprised at how you can turn around a relationship. You can accomplish great things by increasing the happiness in a client relationship – and it starts with striving for a win-win situation in all that you do.