As a CEO coach, I’m brought in to support CEOs on high-stakes negotiations, such as complex funding rounds, co-founder departures, equity negotiations, M&A and even CEO compensation.

They’ll often start by telling me about what the other party asked for, somewhat frustrated. “Dave, I’m not sure what to do,” they say.

At that point, I know two things:

In this piece, I’ll share how I can arrive at these two claims, and share my negotiation playbook to help you build confidence in getting to a win-win agreement.

Start with the relationship

The word ‘win-win’ is bounded about so much you’d be forgiven for thinking every negotiation should be a ‘win-win’ negotiation. However, ‘win-win’ is just a strategy you can use when you’re vested in a good outcome and a good relationship.

Consider that each of the following five strategies has a use: