Winning Isn’t Everything/Martin Rosenfeld, JD

Posted on July 31, 2016


In any negotiation a party has a choice between winning on every possible issue or getting to a fair agreement with the other side. The late Coach, Vince Lombardi, once said “Winning isn’t the best thing, it is the only thing.” But is winning in a negotiation truly the only thing? Consider the following:

*If one party wins, the other party de facto has lost. How likely is it that the losing party will be gracious in the future when a request for flexibility is made regarding e.g. the visitation schedule, cooperation on a particular matter, requests for modification of the agreement, etc. It is easy to be a good winner. It is expecting too much for a person to be civil in their sudden role as the “good loser”.

*A party who feels s/he was railroaded into an unfair agreement, will be much more likely than not to seek the first opportunity to breach the agreement, ignore the deadline, fail to disclose new (future) information, etc.

*Where the couple is dealing with co-parenting, the parent on the “short end” of the agreement will likely use many opportunities to inform friend and family, of how the agreement was unfair and (to use the popular, current phrase) rigged. That feeling of being exploited cannot possibly lead to anything positive.

Finally, there is the human dimension. Will it really make you feel better in the long-run if you played to win at any expense. What does that self-centered approach do to your feelings of self-esteem, self-worth, and decency. Perhaps in football., winning is the only thing. But in interpersonal dynamics. Win-Win may indeed be the only thing.