Win-win relationship – Is it a cliché, or an art, or a science?

Win-win relationships…. win-win situations… win-win agreements… I keep hearing about them all the time. The expression win-win is used and abused so much that it has become kind of a cliché.

However fostering relationship that helps everyone involved in it has so much merit and value.

Is it an art that I have to learn?

Or is it a matter of science where I systematically follow a method or a system to cultivate win-win relationships?

What is win-win?

What is a win-win relationship in a family? I suppose, it is a win-win when every family member gets security, encouragement and support. Everyone in the family gets a comfort zone to develop and work on a personal mission. And in the process, the family gets a shared vision to grow and thrive.Effective Relationships and Teamwork

What kind of friendship is a win-win relationship? I don’t know if there is one answer for all. But, I think a genuine friendship allows us to be ourselves. It allows us to see friends for their potential. It’s fulfilling and nurturing in a way that makes it fun to share ideas, common interests and activities.

What is a win-win relationship to me as a professional? I think no significant goal can be achieved by an individual; it has to be teamwork. And I would be happy to be part of a team that has a shared vision. I remember joining Bitfone in 2002. I used my engineering and analytical background to support customer integrations, and later on product marketing. It made difference to be part of a team that captured and secured our lead customer, Motorola. At the same time, it gave me opportunity to expand my interpersonal and other business development skills.

How can a business engage in a win-win relationship? Among many things, I think there needs to be a focus to create the for the customers. And it has to be using the avenues that add meaning and direction to the business and all of the employees. I have worked with the customers in different capacities – product development, technical project integration, marketing, sales and business development. I don’t think any person or a company can develop a successful business without the two win-win relationships – with the customers, and with the employees/colleagues.

How can a social engagement be win-win? I think the key is to be part of a cause or an initiative to do, or to achieve something together. I relate to my experience with my toastmasters club – Paul Revere Toastmasters. It helps me face my fear with public speaking. I am a slightly better listener and communicator thanks to toastmasters. I learned how to organize my thoughts and present them in a meaningful way.  At the same time, it’s also a unique opportunity to see and listen to ideas, views and thoughts from other fellow club members. The Toastmasters organization is set up with vision to promote growth of individuals in a very supportive environment. And while helping thousands of individuals like me, the Toastmasters International has become a very strong, far reaching organization spread all over the world. I have a few other very good examples. I write about them later in my other posts.

I got a great nugget to keep from Tony Robbins in one of his books – if you reach the top of the success mountain all by yourself, you will fall down soon. It’s all about being part of the group.

How do I develop win-win relationships?

I have read and learned and tried quite a few ideas about the relationships development and teamwork. Have I mastered it? No, it’s always work in progress.

Whether it’s an art or a science, I am always keen to learn more about it.

Here are my three keys that I think are crucial for relationships. Let me bring them up, and then I would love to see your ideas on it.

Win-win Mindset – When people have a reason to synergize and make a difference in a positive way, effective relationships develop naturally. Also, I think it boils down to creating the value – value for every team player, and then value for the whole team collectively.

My question is – how do you align the interest of different people or groups for this? How do you achieve that? I wish there were a beacon to guide me all the time with the right thinking and behavior.Beacon for Personal Leadership

I captured quite a few insights from my readings and experience. I will bring up a couple of them.

Stephen Covey has nice illustrations in his books and work. I liked his idea of creating mindset of abundance rather than scarcity – think there is a lot for everyone to gain and achieve…The potential to grow and achieve is limitless. It’s not a zero-sum game. It makes sense to me. When I think there is a lot to have for all, and somebody’s gain isn’t my loss, it naturally breeds relationships that benefit all.

I also keep the nugget from Stephen B. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner , in their book Freakonomics – when it comes to understanding any socioeconomic situation, incentives matter.  If the incentives are aligned for the shared vision, the relationships will develop.

There is a lot that I need to hash out when I try to apply my learning. I wish there were a crystal ball. I would love to hear more about your experiences as well.

Managing Expectations

Setting the right expectations and managing them is crucial for sustaining the relationship for the long time. I think this is true with a family relationship, a friendship, a customer engagement, or a team of professionals trying to achieve a collective goal.

I strongly believe that the expectations either foster, or hinder motivation for all of us to do, see, or achieve things together.


Communication to me is the fuel that drives and sustains any relationship. Even when the heart is in the right place, team players have to be on the same page.

___________________________Relationships make our effort effective

I have seen families that scale incredible heights. I have seen friendships that last for lifetime. I have seen customers staying around for long term. I have seen a number of complex projects that are completed successfully using effective planning, communication and follow up.

And every time, I see that, it enriches my life and inspires me.


Now it’s your turn. What do you do for effective relationships? I would love to learn from your experience as well.

What are your thoughts?