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Expanding the Pie

 

Disciplines > Negotiation > Negotiation tactics > Expanding the Pie

Description | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Description

Change the frame of the negotiation from a zero-sum, win-lose game to a win-win scenario where both sides can benefit more by working together on mutual benefits.

Use 'we' language rather than 'you' and 'I'. Frame the situation as a joint problem where you both want to succeed and that you can both get more by working together.

Example

Two business competitors on an industry standards committee agree to settle differences and promote the standard as this will help increase the number of total customers, thereby giving each a greater market value.

A husband and wife who are negotiating about holidays and the ability to take time off work reframe the situation as 'getting away together' and end up with a decision that when one goes away on business the other will go along too.

Discussion

In many negotiations there is an assumption that it is win-lose, such that every gain that one person makes leads to the other person losing an equal amount.

In a worst-case scenario (which is surprisingly common), the negotiation turns to conflict and it all becomes becomes personal. The sense of fair play (or even getting what I need) then goes out of the window as each player seeks to harm the other before they get harmed themself.

'Zero sum' is a limiting perception and it is often possible for both people to gain, especially if they collaborate.

'Expanding the Pie' comes from the metaphor where people are negotiating about a single pie, such that where one person gets more of the pie it is clear that the other person gets less. If both parties work together to get a bigger pie, then both can have more with the same percentage division.

See also

Collaborative negotiation

 

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