Positive sum mindset…. not zero sum

If there is a secret to business, this is it: Put energy into creating value, in addition to capturing value. 


When you create value for others, they’ll want to work with you again. They’ll give you the benefit of the doubt, friendly terms, and will even go out of their way to bring you in on deals. Mutual success breeds more success.


Many people struggle to accept this, but in a good deal, nobody has to lose. As long as everybody is looking for ways to help everybody else succeed, we can all find new ways to grow the pie.


This reflects one of my favorite things about business. We aren’t stuck fighting over limited resources. We get to grow the pie, so that there is plenty to go around for everybody. There is literally no limit to how much wealth we can create.


While business is a positive-sum game, many people get mentally stuck on zero- or negative-sum games like status. Status games are zero-sum because one person’s success requires another’s failure. In a ranked list of ten people, nobody can climb without somebody else falling. There is no such thing as a high-status person unless somebody else is low-status. 


Status games shrink the pie. This is what happens when somebody in business feels the need to “beat” an opponent or counterparty. They’re looking for validation that they’re “better” than the other guy. But this kind of success is short-lived. No trust gets built up, nobody is going out of their way to find creative solutions, and less value gets created.

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At Alliance, we often find ourselves in positions where we have leverage over people with whom we do business. For example, we might know that we could steeply raise rent on a tenant that would have a hard time moving to a new facility. This happens all the time, but we would hardly ever want to use that leverage. We might make more money in the short-term, but we wouldn’t be creating value.


I would much rather have happy tenants and smooth, low-risk lease renewals. The same thing applies to brokers, agents, attorneys, and everybody else who helps Alliance do business. Their success helps Alliance thrive. They might get a little more than they need to on one deal, and then bring me another deal of tremendous value down the road.


Over time, the long-term, relationship-focused, win-win game we’re playing, happens to be great for investors too.


Money doesn’t solve every problem. There is a lot more to life than business and you can’t buy happiness. But focusing on win-win wealth creation is a great way to live. More is better. There is no upper limit to what you can achieve. And remembering that other people need to succeed too promotes a grounded and healthy attitude.


Ben Reinberg

Founder & CEO  |  Alliance Group Companies


Ben Reinberg is Alliance Group Companies' founder and CEO.

Since 1995, Alliance Consolidated Group has acquired and invested in medical properties with net leases between $3 and $25 million across the United States. With decades of commercial real estate experience, we take pride in committing to meeting the goals of our Sellers, as we consistently and seamlessly adhere to successful closings.