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How is Alignor’s 3-step model different from win-win?

Let’s face it, “win-win” sounds great in theory. I mean, wouldn’t it be wonderful if every interaction we had with other people fully and equally met each of our needs? But that is not the real world. So when we say, “win-win,” we are not being precise. This lack of precision can cause misunderstandings and disappointment at times, particularly if another stakeholder feels that you have “won” more than they have. Moreover, an equal “win-win” outcome may not always be appropriate or desirable! For example, where there is a large imbalance in leverage, it may not make sense for each person to meet their needs equally. Unlike the potentially imprecise concept of win-win, Alignor’s 3-Step model does not presuppose a specific outcome for each stakeholder, much less the equal satisfaction suggested by win-win. Instead, the 3-Step model is based on the insight that stakeholders will generally seek the optimal strategy that most effectively satisfies their needs. For each stakeholder, their optimal strategy in any given situation may involve seeking a “win-win” collaboration; or it may mean not collaborating with others; or it may mean something in between! In sum, Alignor’s 3-Step model does not assume that a collaborative outcome is desirable for every stakeholder in every situation. And even if a collaborative outcome proves desirable, the 3-Step model does not assume that collaboration will (or even should) always provide equal satisfaction to all stakeholders.

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