Seek Win-Win Solutions: Collaboration Strategies for Negotiating Differences
We often view conflict resolution or management as requiring a winner or loser. Even in compromise, the resolution is too often evaluated in terms of how much was sacrificed or lost.
An alternative approach is collaboration in which all parties in the conflict seek to blend rather than eliminate differences. In this approach to conflict resolution, the ideas of both (or more) parties are added – or “linked” – to achieve a win-win solution whereas in compromise ideas are deleted – or “sacrificed” – to find a resolution that is a lower standard of satisfaction.
Here are some ideas:
Strategies are different from solutions.
- Strategies are ideas or skills for finding a solution or creating peacekeeping skills when a solution does not seem possible.
- Solutions are agreements or behaviors that solve the problem, even if over a long time.
- Try both.
Search for more options.
- Seek for a third option that takes both points of view into account.
- Brainstorm many options. Don’t judge them, just throw them onto the negotiating table. The more options, the more we have to work with.
- Ask others who share your dilemmas for their ideas, strategies, and solutions
- Overcome the need to seek simple solutions; understand that blending differences simplify the process of achieving dynamic solutions
Experiment: Complex problems often require complex solutions.
- Try out various options for short periods.
- Evaluate together any parts of the experiments that helped.
- Focus on what worked, tinker with what did not. • Get support from those people who support all sides, strategies, and solutions.
Restore justice: Witness the hurts.
- Be open to hear how the other person has been harmed by your actions or by those who are similar to you.
- Make amends: Healing occurs when those in position of power (e.g., leaders, parents, authorities) give back power (e.g., rights, choices, protection, and dignity) to the minority.
Work toward peace but have realistic expectations of resolution.
- Identify your unrealistic expectations for yourself and others. Unrealistic expectations create failure, anger/frustration, and despair.
- Foster autonomy, agency/choice, and self-determination: Diversity is the rule.
- Accept reality and the limits of yourself and others, instead of trying to change you or them.
- Grieve and adapt/reinvest in new dreams that carry the essence of the old dreams.
- Continue to promote peacemaking efforts: Contribute energy toward resolution.