One of the ideas Bob Berg establishes in his business book The Go Giver is the idea that we have to abandon the long-held belief that compromise and progress are built through 50-50 splits in ideas, needs, plans, and desires. In his story, the main character’s mentor tells him, “Forget about fifty-fifty, son. Fifty-fifty’s a losing proposition. The only winning proposition is one hundred percent. Make your win about the other person, go after what he wants. Forget win-win—focus on the other person’s win.” Berg explains that this mindset, focusing on the other and not fighting to both agree on as much as possible, is what drives progress in business and helps people build networks of support.
Berg’s message is that fifty-fifty does not work because no one truly gets what they want, and no one get’s a complete package that really works. When you approach the situation as Berg suggests with a focus on the other person, you are supporting them and genuinely doing your best to help them. The reason we should focus on the other is because they will recognize the assistance or service we provided them, and they will be more likely to help us in the future by returning for business, providing us with more contacts, or by supporting us in other situations. Relationships never stop being important in any context of life, including business, and approaching interactions with a mindset that is best suited to build relationships will help us all become successful and get what we want.
Being able to take Berg’s message and apply it to relationships and areas outside of life is what makes his point of view so powerful. Considering personal relationships, Berg’s idea fits in will with ideas about respect and trust. If you only seem to approach others when you need things from them, and when you have your own interests in mind, others will notice. It is hard to be completely genuine and focus more on what we can do for those around us, but doing so will lead to greater satisfaction, and greater friendships that will provide more for us in the long run.