Making Win-Win Decisions

“Win-Win” is a particular form of decision making. It involves both techniques and skills and a particular way of seeing the world. A key element is the notion of “Third Options” – solutions other than the two initially proposed by the respective individuals involved.

  • Recognize that you have a problem, tell your mate, and set a suitable time and place to discuss it. Choose only one problem to work on at a time.
  • Clarify the problem and make sure you both understand it.
  • Speak and listen empathically.
  • Turn you problem into a goal. Agree on and write down at least one short-term goal toward solving that problem.
  • Drop your preconceived ideas of the solution. Brainstorm and write down lots of possible options to accomplish that short-term goal. While brainstorming, suspend making judgements about whether it’s a good idea or not.
  • Read your list of options—possible ways to reach your goal and solve the problem. Write your initials next to the ones you are willing to accept.
  • Now, circle each option you both find acceptable. Discuss the pros and cons about the acceptable options.
  • Select an option that is most acceptable to both of you—practical and helpful to reaching your goal.
  • Write a plan and a corresponding agreement for what each of you will do, specifying when.
  • Keep your agreements.
  • Be willing to fine tune. Arrange to meet again at a specified time to report on your how you have kept the agreements and the consequences. Adjust your plan or write a new one.