Good for You, Great for Me: Finding the Trading Zone and Winning at Win-Win Negotiation

June 2014

MIT professor Lawrence Susskind, co-founder of Harvard Law's Program on Negotiation, departs from the collaborative "win-win" approach to negotiation, which has been in vogue in academic and business circles. While "win-win" is attractive to many because of its perceived fairness and while it can create attractive outcomes for both sides, it denies the reality that negotiation partners still have competing pressures to take home more than their "fair" share of the pie. Returning to a world of "win-lose" negotiation where only one side walks away with what they want and the other side gets nothing also does not accurately reflect best practices. Instead, in Good for You, Great for Me, Professor Susskind proposes that it is possible to WIN in a "win-win" negotiation situation and create an outcome that allows one side to walk away with a "great" result while the other side can report a successful negotiation to their back table. 

By introducing the concept of the "trading zone," Susskind creates a framework to assess the possible outcomes of a negotiation and to determine how to create deals that are "great" for you, but still "good" for your trading partners. The book is laid out in a series of six sections that take you through ways of winning at "win-win":

      1. Lead Your Partners into the Trading Zone
      2. Create More Value
      3. Expect the Unexpected
      4. Write Their Victory Speech
      5. Protect Yourself Against Predictable Surprises
      6. Provide Leadership

Throughout these sections, Susskind also explains how to deal with uneven trading situations including irrational and stubborn partners, trading partners that lie, negotiating with regulators, and even situations where negotiation may not be in your best interests. The importance of retaining trust and keeping relationships intact runs as a common theme throughout the book, even while you are manuevering for a better outcome for you.

No matter the situation -- international relations, organizational takeovers, family disputes, land use arguments -- Susskind has introduced a new way to think about and engage in productive negotiations. 

What Others Have Said About Good for You, Great for Me

"[Susskind] offers innovative ways to head off foreseeable problems... A useful guide with broad applications beyond the world of business."

Kirkus Reviews

About the Author

Lawrence Susskind is cofounder of the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School, Ford Foundation Professor of Urban and Environmental Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the founder and chief knowledge officer of the Consensus Building Institute. He has served on the faculty at MIT for more than forty years. Dr. Susskind has mediated complex disputes involving land and water rights; advised more than fifty corporations, particularly with regard to regulatory negotiations; provided advanced negotiation training to more than 30,000 professionals from around the world; and served as an adviser to the supreme courts of Israel, Ireland, and the Philippines.