The Modern Law Library

Transform your negotiations with a 'win-win-win' mindset, says author

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Moving from a "win-lose" mentality to a "win-win" mentality has been a central focus of the field of negotiation and conflict resolution since the 1980s, says Sarah Federman. Working to walk away with a deal that pleases both sides was a huge departure from the idea that one side of a transaction will necessarily lose.

But Federman, author of Transformative Negotiation: Strategies for Everyday Change and Equitable Futures, proposes that we can and should adapt our framing to encompass a “win-win-win” mentality. A win-win mentality “attends to the interests only of the signatories, not of those who live out the consequences of the agreement,” Federman writes. “A win-win-win model requires paying attention to those usually not at the negotiation table.”

In this episode of The Modern Law Library podcast, Federman discusses with the ABA Journal’s Lee Rawles how traditional advice around negotiations—from salaries and corporate contracts to landlord disputes and personal lives—makes assumptions based on what’s worked for people who have traditionally held positions of power. Those assumptions could be outdated, unhelpful or actually harmful to minorities and others who have been economically or socially disadvantaged.

Transformative Negotiation was written with four goals, Federman tells Rawles: To help people move “from precarity to stability,” to expose the blind spots in the field of negotiation studies, to propose a new approach to negotiations that addresses oppression, and to show people who do have bargaining power how they can use it to “create more equitable futures.”

Advice that Federman shares in this episode includes how women can approach salary negotiations, how to achieve more economic stability through “inbox colonics,” and why being the nosy neighbor can get people through tough times. She also discusses why bonding events like law firm happy hours can actually backfire on employee morale and how firms can not only hire diverse workforces but successfully retain them.

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In This Podcast:

<p>Sarah Federman</p>

Sarah Federman

Sarah Federman is an associate professor of conflict resolution at the University of San Diego’s Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies. Federman is the author of several books, including the award-winning Last Train to Auschwitz: The French National Railways and the Journey to Accountability and Transformative Negotiation: Strategies for Everyday Change and Equitable Futures. She comes to this work after a decade as an international executive negotiating in over 10 countries with companie,s such as Google, Discovery, Bloomberg and the NFL.

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