Build a Win-Win Relationship with Your Solution Provider

When it comes to striking business deals that work, playing Texas Hold ‘Em isn’t always the best strategy. In fact, it can hurt you.

Showing Your Hand

Despite many of this country’s stalwart adherents to games theory, going into a conversation expecting to bluff, hold all the cards, and play like some character out of Sun Tzu’s Art of War, is more likely to get you indifference rather than results.

Establishing that Win-Win

The thing is, people respond best to people. And people who want to work together, are building a relationship based on trust. The steps towards that have more to do with creating what Stephen Covey refers to as establishing a win-win.

Think about it. I’ve got a multimillion dollar company that needs help if I want to make sure it gets through the next quarter with happy shareholders.

Get to the Point

So here I am, sitting down in an office with a software solution provider who can help deliver that result. Only, I’m holding all my cards tight to my chest. I refuse to disclose the problem, refuse to provide access to anyone else who knows, yet insist on continuing to play the game.

There are numerous risks with this scenario.

  1. The provider doesn’t understand what I really need and therefore demands more time than I may want to give;
  2. The provider disengages from the project;
  3. The provider attempts to deliver, but comes up short.

Explaining The Problem

Think of it another way. A patient arrives at the doctor’s office saying something’s wrong.

“Where does it hurt?”

“Figure it our for yourself, buddy. You’re the expert.”

Before the patient knows it, he’s being run through a battery of tests that’s costing him an arm and a leg, when all he needed to do was explain he had trouble breathing.

Avoid The Lose-Lose

The result? Both sides experience either a partial win or partial loss. Even worse, no effort has been made to develop a trust relationship, and so there is nothing to build on.

Recent studies published in the Journal of Supply Chain Management, revealed that “mutual disclosure is an essential part of establishing that trust relations”, and in a business context that includes sharing information about production schedules, quality initiatives, strategic plans etc.

The truth is, “us against them” thinking goes only so far. Both parties may end up with something, but it’s unlikely to be the best solution for either party.

Fold for the Royal Flush

Everyone likes a good poker game, and it may even be fun in the early stages. But if you want to get the real deal, you might want to fold, and then start talking.

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