Hi everybody. This is Mike Staver. This is Mondays with Mike, a weekly video series where we answer questions from people just like you or people kind of just like you. Here is the question. “This is about finding contentment in negotiating a middle ground.” I love it when people frame that. That’s really awesome. “This is about finding contentment in negotiating a middle ground. There seems to be a trend of heel-digging on positions.” That’s interesting. “There seems to be a trend.” I guess you’re saying that people tend to dig their heels in and take a specific position.

“Whether it’s the price of a house, or the bigger picture, a political stance when trying to find solutions or a compromise, I used to like to point out win-win outcomes, but that seems harder to convey. Now, people feel like it’s lose-lose when they compromise. What’s a good way to help people feel good about negotiated outcomes? By the way, Mondays with Mike are a great way to start off my week from a home office.”

“This is about finding contentment in negotiating a middle ground. There seems to be a trend of people digging their heels in, whether it’s the price of a house, or the bigger picture, or political stances or other things when trying to find solutions or a compromise. I used to like to point out win-win outcomes, but that seems harder to convey.” Somebody once told me that you know you’ve been in a good negotiation when both of you leave just moderately dissatisfied, that nobody leaves a real negotiation thinking, “That was awesome.”

Sometimes, all a negotiation is is alleviating pain. We just did an event with somebody who was working on getting out of an estate issue, and they got out of it. They didn’t get all the money they wanted out of the estate negotiation, but I would never have suggested that was win-win, because it just didn’t feel good. Here’s what I suggest. I suggest that you get away from the concept of win-win or lose-lose and just talk about what the fairest outcome is.

You see, I think it’s better if the outcome feels more fair, if things seem more focused on those kinds of things rather than try to categorize it as win-win or lose-lose, because when you start categorizing things, what you’re really doing is you are creating a space from your own bias. If you think it’s win-win, but I’m not that happy and you try to convince me that way, I’m going to look at you and go, “What are you talking about? What is wrong with you? There’s no such thing as that.” I don’t think that’s right. What do you guys think? You think that’s pretty true? Is it fair? By the way, hold on just a minute, gentlemen. I got all your feedback and felt a little bit nasty that my boys Johnny and Marty could not be heard. This time, what we’ve done is mic them up. Say hi, guys.

Marty: Hello.

Johnny: Hello.

Mike: Here they are, both of them, and they are smarter than me. They should actually be sitting here. I should be sitting in their chair. You guys, let’s talk about this for just a second. Let’s not make it War and Peace, but let’s get the Reader’s Digest version. What do you think about that? Is it possible you get win-win in the world we’re living in right now, or do we have to go with fair-fair? What do you think?

Johnny: I think fair-fair is a good way to go. There’s been more and more of where giving up even a tiny inch feels like you’re giving up everything nowadays. I think going with, “Here’s what’s fair, here’s what works for everyone,” is a better way, a better paradigm shift than looking at it as a win-win or a lose-lose, because I think people hear those words and they’re, “Well, I didn’t fully win on this because I gave up this tiny little thing.”

Mike: It also forces a man to an opposite mindset, doesn’t it? You either win, or you lose. What do you think?

Johnny: Right. One or the other.

Marty: I completely agree with Johnny and you. I think that whole dichotomy really polarizes it in either direction. I feel like two people, especially given the year we’ve had, have lost so much that they’re maybe trying to cling onto whatever they can. They’re having a hard time letting go.

Johnny: Good point.

Marty: I think maybe that could be a factor as well. I think, ultimately, if the outcome is fair for both parties, I think that’s really–

Mike: Awesome. Look at that. Three smart dudes all in one shot. I think you’re right, because I really like that notion of how much we’ve all lost in the last year. Then to your point, Johnny, talking about that idea of I’ve got to give one way or the other, it’s very dichotomist, isn’t it? This one way or the other. Well, that’s your answer. Go to fair-fair. Work for fair-fair. I don’t even know that I’d categorize it. If you can avoid it at all, just get to the outcome without trying to cheerlead your way through it. That would be our suggestion. Hope that was helpful. The Johnny, Marty, and Mike Show will be back next week.


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