We all want to win. At work and in most aspects of life, winning is good, and we don’t like to lose. No one sets out to be a loser. But we do tend to think that if we are going to win then someone else, someone around us, has to lose. But it doesn’t have to be that way. In every situation, the smart Rules Player weighs up the circumstances and asks, “What’s in it for them?” If you know what’s motivating others, you can help steer the situation (and your actions) so you get what you want, but they feel they’ve gotten something out of it, too. The “win-win” mentality might have come out of the workplace, but it applies to pretty much every situation and relationship. To work out what others are likely to want and need, take a step back and remain a little detached, so you’re looking at the situation as if from outside. Suddenly it stops being you and them, and you’ll stop thinking that they need to give way in order for you to win. Dealing with somebody who’s got the hang of this Rule is a rewarding experience—people will look forward to working with you, because there’s an air of cooperation and understanding. Once you’ve learned to always look for the other person’s “bottom line,” you’ll become very fluid in your negotiations and will gain a reputation for being adult and supportive—and that’s another bit of winning for you as well. And it’s not just in workplace negotiations that this win-win reaps rewards. Try it at home, too. If you’re debating where to go on vacation, and you desperately want to go horseback riding in France, think “what’s in it for them?”—what is it about that vacation that will make them happy? Highlight those aspects, and they’re more likely to agree. If you’re struggling to think of anything that will appeal to them, you need to think more broadly—maybe you can find a place where you go horseback riding while they go fishing or sailing. You see how it works. Just asking the question, “what’s in it for them?” helps you think it through.