Win-win situation

By: Mary Parker

“Out beyond ideas of wrong doings and right doings, there is a field. I will meet you there.”

Rumi, 13th century Persian poet.


This quote was a particular favourite of James Donovan, who came to be known as a great negotiator in the 1950s and 60s. He saw negotiation as a win-win situation. 

In 1962 he was asked to support negotiations to free 1113 prisoners of the failed Bay of Pigs invasion. Donovan managed to create confidence with Fidel Castro, who was pleased Donovan had brought his teenaged son with him to Cuba.

Donovan had the idea to exchange the prisoners for medicine after he had found out that Cuban medicine didn't help him with his own bursitis. On December 21, 1962, Castro and Donovan signed an agreement to exchange the prisoners for $53 million in food and medicine, sourced from private donations, and by July 3, 1963, he had secured the release of 9703 men, women and children from Cuban detention - 8590 more than had originally been negotiated.

What could you do to help those around you if you were able to see the “win-win” in each situation?

If you would like to know more about coaching or supervision, phone Mary Parker, The Fast Track Coach, on: 07 577 1200/021 258 2145, or visit:

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