There are Four Types of Relationships

But only one worth investing in.

Credits Pawel Czerwinski

In business and in life, there are essentially four types of relationships:

  • Win-Win
  • Win-Lose
  • Lose-Win
  • Lose-Lose

This neat framing comes from Shane Parrish on The Tim Ferriss Show and can help us identify which relationships to double down on, which to reconsider, and which to drop altogether.

Some people see life as a transactional zero-sum game, a series of Win-Lose or Lose-Win interactions.

Those trapped in a zero-sum mindset often force interactions to be Win-Lose, with themselves as the victors. That approach may produce a win at the single interaction scope, but it precludes any chance of future collaboration and the accumulated gains that would come from it.

Win-Win relationships deliver value in the moment and over time. Every iteration increases trust making them increasingly more efficient.

An established Win-Win partnership will open the door for new such relationships. Your network is your net worth, and Win-Win relationships can help you expand it.

The beauty of a Win-Win mindset is that you don’t need to leave something on the table or – worse – trick others into doing so. You simply need to be genuine and honest. The mental bandwidth saved alone makes Win-Win relationships worth it.

Do your best work and look for people who appreciate that and will do the same in return. Isn’t that a better way to operate?

Life is a repeat game. Look for Win-Win relationships.