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It takes courage to win-win

By Kevin Vaughan-Smith

Is Mutual Value just about being customer-focused? No: it’s much more, and one of the key attributes required is courage. Here’s why…

Conviction that Mutual Value is a more powerful commercial model empowers us and lends us courage to deal with situations differently. When I talk about courage in this context it has a special meaning. I can perhaps illustrate it in the following bullets.

As you read these, consider situations where you have or have not demonstrated courage….

· Not just accepting a short-term win with somebody, without checking that it has a long term benefit or that there is a better alternative.

· Testing somebody’s thinking about a suggestion, even when that suggestion is based on common practice or that’s the way they have always done it. For example, testing validity of procurement processes, decision processes, access restrictions etc etc.

· Courage to explore underlying beliefs rather than just behaviours and actions. A genuine level of deep inquiry to understand beliefs, and how they are arrived at and then the courage to offer alternatives.

· The courage to put aside personal wins to explore whether there is a greater win or synergy.

· Courage to hold to integrity – to walk away from a solution or deal which could result in revenue because you believe it won’t deliver a win for you and the Client

· Courage to explore beliefs about value

· Courage to explore the potential of Mutual Value with the Client, to be open with intent and then to have the integrity to live out the intent to create Mutual Value.

· Courage to break with old habits and beliefs of business development which may have served us well in the past but are becoming outdated.

· The courage to keep dialogue and exploration open, in an attempt to explore Mutual Value, rather than to fall into conflict or compromise.

At the heart of this is the courage to explore rationale, beliefs, intent, and to do so in a way that offers third alternatives, not compromise. It’s based on a deep intent to explore potential synergy and accept that building trust through dialogue is more important than ‘selling’ a proposition and closing a deal.

It’s not just about your Client

Another way of thinking about Courage in this context is this: it’s the courage to achieve a win for you and, importantly in business, your team and your organisation. This is important in Mutual Value – it’s not simply outward facing, it is equally important to achieve Mutual Value with your team. Is this win truly a win for them as well as you personally?

Sometimes it’s easy to excuse your behaviour, sacrifice your team, make commitments that are beyond their capability, or whatever, if you lack the courage to go for a win which is inclusive of their needs. Equally, it’s easy to give up the organisation’s interest to achieve personal goals – ending up with lower pricing, discounting, giving up scope in the belief that a win for the individual is what counts.

This lack of courage, and especially the lack of courage to consider the team and the organisation, has a number of medium- and long-term effects.

With the team: it creates tensions, lack of engagement, and potentially poor client experience. With the organisation: it creates margin pressure, and a culture where a belief in the priority of a personal win becomes paramount, teaching the organisation that discounting and giveaways are the right thing to do.

Our fundamental belief is that by doing the right thing everyone benefits greatly. Sometimes this is the hardest thing to do, and that is why courage is a key attribute which will actually create greater value and so be recognised by your Client, your colleagues and your organisation. It also means you feel better about what you do and how you do it.