If you think about it, we face a series of negotiations in any given week — whether that’s hashing out a business deal or deciding where to go for dinner. And popular wisdom teaches us to aim for a win-win, or an outcome where everyone walks away happy. Think again, says negotiation coach Jim Camp, because win-win is little more than a cliché that plays to our emotions and works to your disadvantage.
True win-win deals only happen when both parties are equal, which is rare because one party almost always has more at stake. Finding a win-win requires compromise, which ultimately leads to a win-lose.
Instead, Camp recommends taking a decision-based approach that he honed while serving in the Air Force. As a pilot, he quickly learned that he couldn’t control the actions and decisions of adversaries, but he could control how he assessed the other side and the decisions he made as a result.
When striving for a win-win, writes Camp, you are trying to control the outcome, but neither party to a negotiation controls the outcome. What you can control is your own actions and decisions.
In place of a win-win mentality, the author proposes a negotiation technique called the “Camp System,” which frees you from the urge to compromise and focus instead on what you can and must control to reach a winning result.