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Win Win Strategies in Business

Published February 24, 2017
Countries: USA
Age Levels: 12 and up

Win-win is a situation where parties in business take part in a situation where cooperation, teamwork or compromise allows both parties to benefit. This is in contrast to situations where one party wins and the other loses.

Story: Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States. Today history shows that Lincoln may easily have been the greatest leader in American history. He was the president during a time when a giant civil war could have easily torn the United States of American apart for all time. The American Civil War lasted four years, and more than 600,000 soldiers lost their lives before Lincoln’s leadership led the northern states to victory over the south.

Lincoln was a lawyer and a politician before being elected to the presidency. Before he became a lawyer, he had a number of less impressive jobs. As a younger man, Lincoln did farm work, handling horses that pulled the plows that prepared fields for planting. Between rows, Lincoln often read books while the horses rested. He once said he would rather have his nose in a book than in a horse’s rear end.

Another of Lincoln’s less impressive jobs was running a small local store in a town called New Salem, Illinois. During his work as a store owner Lincoln was approached by a man trying to sell wooden barrels. “I don’t need any barrels,” Lincoln told the man.

“But I need the money,” replied the man. “It would really help me if you bought a few barrels,” said the man. You will be able to use them sometime.

Lincoln could have turned the man down and saved his money. In keeping score, that would make Lincoln the winner. (He would keep his money and not get barrels he did not need.) The other man would have been the loser. (He would not get the money he needed and would be stuck with barrels he did not need.) But, good hearted Lincoln took a chance. He paid for the barrels thinking he would use them some day. The man left happy, thinking he had been the winner of the exchange. However, it became win-win.

Lincoln cleaned out the barrels so they would be useful in the future. While emptying the barrels, he found a set of law books. Lincoln immediately benefited from his purchase. The man who loved books found a set of LAW BOOKS. Lincoln spent all of his spare time reading and learning from the law books. It was the study of those books that helped him become a lawyer and politician and still later President of the United States. It was a win-win relationship.

Example of Win-Win: Bank A holds the loan for Small Business B. Small Business B owes more money that it can pay right away to Bank A. The bank can force the business to close according the terms of the loan. If that happens both parties may lose. The bank may not recover all of its funds. The business loses all of its funds. This would be LOSE-LOSE. However, Bank A has the option to extend the time of the loan or reduce the interest of the loan or to take other action to help Business B. Over time, Bank A could easily get all of its money back and do more business in the future. It wins! Business B stays in business. They also win! While greatly over-simplified, this is but one example of a win-win situation.