If you’re not the only one to decide, there are always a couple possible outcomes. Stephen Covey defines them as win/lose, lose/lose, lose/win, lose/lose and win/win. There is no best option here. Sometimes, for the sake of the relationship, you’ll go with lose/win, for example. In the long term however, the best way to invest in a relationship is by trying to go for win/win situations.

However, this cannot happen if you’re focussed on your own part of the deal. It is almost never possible to achieve a win/win without changing what you want. But, Covey says, if you both do that, there is a big chance you’ll end up with a compromise, otherwise known as a lose/lose (because you both won’t fully get what you want).

The solution? Covey invites us to look for a third alternative. This is a completely new solution neither parties have thought of so far. Those solutions are mutually beneficial and mutually satisfying. It is not your way or my way; it is a better, higher way.

You’ll be surprised how many times there is a possibility to create a third alternative where both parties win, instead of the solution you’re currently vouching for. You’ll only have to work a little harder to discover it.