A Question for Business: What does winning really look like?

We all know how good it feels to win. When we beat a personal goal in a running race, close a business deal, or when the politician we voted for wins an election. Winning, whether a personal achievement or that of a beloved football team, sends a surge of adrenaline through our body and provides a healthy dose of endorphins to boost our mood and morale. Winning feels good, no doubt – but at what cost? Does winning really leave us in the better position in the long run?

When talking about sports, it is perhaps the case that there can only be one winner – unless in reference to the recent Arsenal-Chelsea game. But outside of sports, what does it really mean to win? When you walk into a negotiation, do you plan to win every penny you came for? Or, if the negotiation is to draw up a contract, for example, do you intend to make sure that only the terms you find desirable are found in the clauses? What does winning really look like when sitting at a negotiation table, looking the potential “losers” in the eye? How might this dynamic impact future relations?

As the field of dispute resolution progresses so steadily, it is perhaps worth reconsidering how we define the concept of “winning” when it comes to negotiation. We can work with the assumption that a negotiation is not intended to end a relationship between two parties, but rather looks at a way for both sides to come to an agreement on a certain topic – whether contentious (a disputed contract or value) or developmental (developing a contract between parties). When looking at the negotiation as an isolated event, it might seem obvious why parties would be focused on winning the “whole” value of a dispute. But considering the long-term effects of taking a hard line approach, we might start to look at the idea of winning as a collaborative solution that allows for the continuation of a relationship – a victory in the long term rather than the short term.

On July 7, CEDR will be hosting a Leadership Seminar entitled “What does winning really look like?”, chaired by Sir Peter Middleton. The event will feature a panel formed by Helen Dodds (Head of Standard Chartered Bank’s Global Legal Department), Mark Goyder (Founding Director of Tomorrow’s Company), Dr Karl Mackie CBE (Chief Executive of the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution), and Nigel Nicholson (Professor of Organisational Behaviour at the London Business School). This highly-qualified panel discussion, taking place at the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry will be looking at how leadership has progressed in the last 25 years, how today’s leaders develop the understanding and capacity to be successful in negotiation and conflict, and where this knowledge will take us in the future.

For more information, please see the event flyer: http://www.cedr.com/skills/flyer/index.php?id=453

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