What is a Mutually Beneficial Agreement?
How to rise above your differences and carve out a mutually beneficial agreement
What exactly is a mutually beneficial agreement?
Some negotiation experts would have you believe that a mutually beneficial agreement is one in which each side grabs as much as it can from a finite pot of resources and calls it a day. But when negotiators bring a win-lose mindset to the negotiation table, they often fail to reach a mutually beneficial agreement.
Contrary to what negotiators often assume, you don’t have to lean toward either creating value or claiming value. Rather, by using a number of well-tested negotiation moves, you can help the other side benefit from a deal while also claiming substantially more value for yourself.
The following four strategies can help us reach mutually beneficial outcomes in a business negotiation between groups.
1. Embrace a Shared Identity or Goal. When launching a group negotiation, discuss the overarching goal you share with members of the other group or groups.
2. Separate Sacred from Pseudo-sacred Issues. Many of the issues negotiators consider sacred are actually pseudo-sacred. That is, the issues are off-limits in some but not all conditions.
3. Try the “GRIT” Strategy. The GRIT strategy (Graduated Reduction in Tension” begins by communicating your sincere desire to reduce conflict by making a small, one-sided, and public concession to the other group
4. Take advantage of logrolling. Logrolling is the process of making beneficial trades across issues based on an understanding of each other’s preferences. If one side values something more than the other, they should be given it in exchange for reciprocity on issues that are a higher priority to their opponent.
To learn more about mutually beneficial agreements and become a better dealmaker and leader, download our FREE special report,Negotiation Skills: Negotiation Strategies and Negotiation Techniques to Help You Become a Better Negotiator, from the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School.
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