The greatest negotiators, mediators, and arbitrators use integrative techniques.   There are two broad categories of negotiation, Win-Win (Integrative or interest-based), and Win-Lose (Distributive or position-based) negotiating.  Integrative negotiating is harder, you have to do some extra work, and it may involve an element of trust.  It’s worth it, because the results can be astounding.  Distributive negotiating is easier, but it tends to produce disappointing results for some or all involved.


Distributive, win-lose negotiating focuses on dividing-up a fixed amount.  If one side gets more, the other must get less.  Understandably, this leads to an adversarial approach to negotiating.  The focus is on what is being divided, and who gets how much of it.  Win-lose negotiations focus on positions.


Make the pie higher. - George W. Bush


What our esteemed former president was trying to say was, Make the pie bigger.  When we’re dividing something or things up, we often refer to what we’re dividing as a pie.  Integrative negotiations effectively makes the pie bigger.  That is, it provides more than 100% of the pie to go around.  How is this possible, a trick, a miracle?  It works like this.   


Integrative, win-win negotiating focuses on why someone wants something.  The why takes more effort to discover.  That’s why good negotiators, mediators, and arbitrators ask lots of questions.  Once we understand why someone wants something, we may be able to develop alternatives that create more satisfaction in different ways.  Win-win negotiating focuses on interests.


Here’s a simplified example, to show how integrative techniques can produce superior results.


Win-Lose or Distributive or Position-Based Negotiation

Two brothers had only one orange, and they each wanted it.  To be fair, they decided to divide it in half.  One did his best to cut the orange in half, and the other chose the half he wanted.  Each got 50% of what he wanted. 


Win-Win or Integrative or Interest-Based Negotiation

Two brothers had only one orange, and they each wanted it.  One of them asked, “Why do you want the orange?”  It turns out that one brother wanted to eat it, and the other brother wanted to use the rind to top a pie.  So, after a brother scraped the rind for his pie, the other brother ate the orange.  Each got 100% of what he wanted…And that’s…(Let me see here, 100% + 100%...) That’s 200% satisfaction!   And that’s superior results through integrative negotiating!


Ultimately what you want to come away with is a durable agreement, one that will last.  A durable agreement can be reached when each side feels they have received a fair deal, or by writing.  Writing can take the form of a good faith agreement signed by the parties, or a legal agreement/contract.



How say you?

200%  Satisfaction

The commoncc of Win-Win Negotiating