Although win-win solutions exist in many situations, it is often hard to see them. We need a special way of looking at things in order to discover them. I believe that finding win-win solutions happens through effectively applying 3 essential steps.
Step 1: Take your negative emotions out of the equation
The situations where win-win solutions are not evident and need to be found are situations where our interests initially seem to clash with those of another person. They are situations of apparent opposition and conflict.
Step 2: Focus on the solution
If at the emotional level we have the inconvenience of negative emotions, at the behavioral level we have the trouble brought by passive and aggressive communication. It’s very tempting in a conflict situation to communicate this way: to justify ourselves, blame the other person, criticize, avoid the discussion or dig up the past.
Step 3: Explore the context and options
A significant reason why we often don’t find a win-win solution is that we don’t insist hard enough with the solution finding process. We just give a shot in a semi-chaotic way, and then we give up. What we need to do is truly explore the context and the options.