“Win/win is number four and number five is win/win/win. The important difference here is with win/win/win, we all win.”
– Michael Scott 2006
A true win, win, win situation (TW3) isn’t just a quote from “The Office”, it’s a core value in my company and I stand by it. Most people overlook a triple win situation and opt for the standard win win. If more managers took initiative and ownership, and created ideas based around TW3 situations, business decisions would look a lot different than what we’re all used to.
What Is TW3?
A normal business transaction has a company and a client, where the company provides some sort of service or product and the client forks over the agreed upon amount of money. In this situation the business wins because they gain capital and the client wins because they get the service/product that they want.
A TW3 situation takes into consideration all the parties involved. They all need to come out with some sort of net gain or positive. In certain rare cases, TW3 situations could mean that all parties take an equal loss, but in a way that makes it so that every party loses the minimum amount. Take remote staffing or a business process outsourcing (BPO) center, when the BPO signs a new client they must hire employees for that client; those are the three parties involved. A very basic example would be: client wins because they get quality labor for a competitive price, the hired remote staff win because they have a job that pays well, and finally the BPO wins because they were able to close a deal and get all parties involved to win.
You may be thinking: “isn’t a win, win, the exact same thing as TW3?” At first glance yes, you can just jam a 3rd win into a win, win situation, but it wouldn’t be real. The reason I chose to use TW3 is because I make sure that all three parties actually benefit from the transaction. If the company and the client win but the staff member will lose, then I won’t move forward with the deal.
Why It’s Important
We should always strive to have all parties win. I’m not talking about having 2 people get what they really want while the third party gets shorted. I truly believe that all parties need to win in order for a decision to be actioned. If the planning stage reveals that any party involved will get shorted, then it won’t be worth moving forward with that idea. In order to visualize this, imagine having to push a car up a hill with 2 other people, if you own the car and promise to give 1 of the other 2 people a ride, the person who gets the ride will push like they mean it, while the person who gains nothing out of their expended effort will do the bare minimum or even quit outright. Any plan where one party sees the inequality will eventually do more harm than good in the long run. Using a BPO example, if a new client is signed and the BPO agrees to hire people under the market salary in order for the client to save more money, the staff will be the ones shorted. If the staff find out that they should be getting paid more based on the standard going rate of their position, they could all leave suddenly, which puts the client in a bad spot and means the BPO has to work double time to fill and train those empty positions before any damage is done to the client.
If all parties see how they fit into the idea and what’s in it for them, the success rate for that plan, idea, etc., will go up. You get people who work harder when they know exactly what they stand to gain when they work efficiently and as a team.
It’s Use For Managers
Managers should always be mindful of TW3 situations. You really want to push ideas that let all parties win. Thinking about more than yourself is what will set you apart from the other leaders in your office, it’s what will make people want to work for you. Your style of leadership will move onto the next level when you tweak your mindset just a little bit.