There is a story I once read, It was titled “The Judicial Dilemma”  A case was presented before a civic judge, In the case before her, the complainant(the state) is claiming that the contractor hired for the construction of a high rise building project was negligent. The defendant (the contractor) has done an inadequate job on the side of a state building.

The problem is that slabs of granite that adorn the side of the building are falling off; if found guilty, the construction company will declare bankruptcy, however, they are clearly guilty. The judge has to resolve this situation while serving justice.

Take a moment and quietly think to yourself how you could resolve this situation. As the judge, what would you decide? Again, if the company can and will declare bankruptcy the consequences are dire, people will lose Jobs and many families will be affected but then again, the company is at fault.

What Happened?

The judge there decided that the best course of action was not as black and white as it seemed on the surface. She asked that the contractor company was responsible for finding a way to prevent the granite panels from falling off the building outside of the original blueprints and plans for the building until the Judge sends officials to go, inspect and access the damage. The Company had to think, failure wasn’t an option. They decided to added thick metal discs at the corner of each granite panel. The discs held the panels in place and prevented the falling. They also added additional beauty to the building.

This was a classic win-win situation. The state was not asked to pay to fix the mistake of a private company. The private company did not go bankrupt because by the time the inspectors were on the site, all the damage had been fixed and things were in place. Most importantly, from a bad situation, a more beautiful building was created.

Win-win sees life as a cooperative arena, not a competitive one. Win-win is a frame of mind and heart that constantly seeks mutual benefit in all human interactions. Win-win means agreements or solutions are mutually beneficial and satisfying. We all get to eat the pie, and it tastes pretty good!


In human interaction, there are six different approaches;

  1. 1. Win-win -People can seek mutual benefit in all human interactions. This requires principle-based behavior. Win-win is based on the paradigm that there is plenty for everybody, that one person’s success is not achieved at the expense or exclusion of the success of others. Win-win is a belief in the Third Alternative. It’s not your way or my way; it’s a better way.
  2. 2. Win-Lose – The competitive paradigm: if I win, you lose. The leadership style is authoritarian. In relationships, if both people aren’t winning, both are losing.
  3. 3. Lose-Win – The “Doormat” paradigm – the individual seeks strength from popularity based on acceptance. The leadership style is tolerance. Living this paradigm can result in inhibited resentment.
  4. 4. Lose-Lose – When people become obsessed with making the other person lose, even at their own expense. This is the attitude of oppositional conflict, war, or of highly dependent persons. If nobody wins, being a loser doesn’t seem so bad.
  5. 5. Win – Focusing solely on getting what one wants, regardless of the needs of others.
  6. 6. Win/Win or No Deal – Win/Win or No Deal says that regardless of whether I win or lose, if you don’t win we don’t negotiate, we both have to win for this to work. “No Deal” means that if we both can’t find benefit, we agree to disagree agreeably. Lincoln Said – “Just as I would never be a slave, I would never be a slave master”. In this case, it is better to have no deal than to have a deal that is not beneficial to both. This Paradigm is the highest form of Win-Win.

Win-Win is not a technique; it is a way of living and thinking. You cannot achieve Win-Win results with anything less than Win-Win approaches. The Ends and the Means must be the same. Win-Win approaches grow out of proactive thinking, personal maturity, well-established and maintained relationships, and goal oriented, principle-centered strategies. Anything less than this will not suffice. It is all or nothing.

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