Dan Waldschmidt

by Dan Waldschmidt

April 30, 2012

There Are No “Win-Win” Business Deals.

There’s no such thing as a win-win business situation.

The idea is intriguingly magical.  But like pink unicorns, the Prison of Azkaban, and world peace it is more wishful thinking than reality.  It just isn’t possible.

Any situation where opposing sides emerge together as equal winners defies reason.

It is just not possible.

Either the situation isn’t really a competition, or the person we label as the winner isn’t really winning.  Either way a win-win outcome isn’t possible.  It becomes ludicrous the more you try to justify it.

You know first-hand how ridiculous that expectation becomes when you’re the person being convinced that something is a win-win situation.  If both parties come out of the resolution as winners why is it so hard to persuade you that you’re not getting advantage of?

You don’t have to be in business long before you hear this terminology being used by bosses, peers, and potential prospects. Most often this language is used to “let you down softly”.  And it doesn’t even do that well.

Instead of presenting you the hard truths of your situation, those in business use the win-win pitch to mask a bad outcome with language that makes you feel like what will happen is good for you.

It’s not good for you.

Most win-win situations leave you feeling frustrated and confused.  You’re trying to figure out how you come out a winner.  You see how the other guy wins.  But your winning seems more like “less losing”.  Right?

It’s all-around business “wimp speak”.  Remember that the next time you’re tempted to pitch a bad deal as a win-win situation.

Everybody can’t win at the same time. Everybody can’t win all the time.  That we all know.  That’s the truth.

What makes a bad situation even worse, is when you pretend to help the people that are actually being hurt the most.

Instead of being a wimp, just be fair. And honest.

That’s better than pretending that the people losing in a situation are actually winning.

That’s what grown-ups do.

They deliver hard news.  They care about others.  They encourage and support and lead.

They don’t whine.  They aren’t wimps.


About the author

Dan Waldschmidt

Dan Waldschmidt doesn’t just talk about leveling up. He’s obsessed with it. He's set records as an ultra-runner and been the personal strategist for the leading business leaders of our time. He wrote a book, called EDGY Conversations that accidentally became a worldwide bestseller and continues to share his insights from the stage as a keynote speaker and on the blogs and podcasts you will find here. Most days, you'll find Dan heads-down, working on breakthrough strategies for his clients at EDGY Inc, a highly-focused, invite-only, business strategy execution company based out of Silicon Valley.