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The Win-Win Paradigm

Business Ethics: Are We All Losers When Profits Come With Ethical Costs?


Win-Win In Business Ethics

Win-Win Business Ethics

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What is a win-win business ethic? Win-win is when we strive to create no losers in all our business dealings, situations where all participating parties (including consumers) gain benefits without creating a loss for someone else.

What Happens in Win-Win

For example, in designing a new product a decision is made to use a cheaper material that appears to increase what the potential profit margins would be, however, the cheaper material has been linked to potential health risks, environmental concerns, or product durability. That's a win-lose situation and there are endless examples of that kind of business ethic in the world today, where even the tiniest increase in profits justifies an incredible loss for others, and that is a very short-sighted approach to business.

A win-win approach to business provides yet-to-see profits that the short-sighted fail to realize exist. If we choose to design our products with a true concern for everyone and everything that our product may effect, what might happen? Try this scenario, our products gain a reputation for being safer, healthier, or more durable than other products and sales increase. Or, our products face no costly recalls or lawsuits. The future of the environment is something that concerns and effects us all and no amount of profit can comfort you if clean air, fresh water, and a safe and adequate food supply are not available.

In his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, author Steven Convey describes the in the following way: Win-win sees life as a cooperative arena, not a competitive one. Win-win is a frame of mind and heart that constantly seeks mutual benefit in all human interactions. Win-win means agreements or solutions are mutually beneficial and satisfying. We both get to eat the pie, and it tastes pretty darn good!

Increasing Win-Win

What can the entrepreneur or independent inventor do to make win-win flourish in all their business dealings. Here are a few ideas.
  • Localize - As much as possible hire local and buy local, It makes the local economy stronger and it reduces your carbon footprint.
  • Recycle - Buy materials that are reclaimed or recycled, make products that can be easily recycled or make products that can last.
  • Invent wisely - The world is full of problems, as inventors we can solve those problems, but solve the important problems first. Do we need faster cars or do we need cars that use less fossil fuels.

Win-Win Negotiations

In doing business learning how to negotiate a win-win business deal can be an art-form. According to Steve Martin the author of Instant Profits: Making Your Business Pay, "Win-win negotiation focuses on building mutually beneficial agreements and is achieved through the process of bargaining which seeks to succeed through cooperation, collaboration and accommodating."

According to a Inkblot article on negotiation skills, "This strategy is also known as integrative bargaining and focuses on both parties achieving their primary objectives without either feeling they lost... By entering the negotiation with a win-win strategy you show the other party that you truly care about their objectives and are striving to leave with both parties fully satisfied."

The following articles may be of help to you in learning how to negotiate and conduct business win-win style. As an inventor, this may be especially eye-opening since you do want your invention to satisfy people and be of benefit to them.

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