When it comes to negotiations, I love watching how people go about getting what they want. After training numerous groups in Negotiation and Conflict Management in different countries, what I have come to notice are some common unconscious patterns of behaviour that participants demonstrate when they negotiate. These patterns seem to be under pinned by some general assumptions. In my opinion, these assumptions are some of the biggest flaws in people’s negotiation strategies and if you happen to make these assumptions as well, then you do so at your own peril.
Assumption 1 – We share the same values.
Businessdictionary.com defines Values as “Important and enduring beliefs or ideals shared by the members of a culture about what is good or desirable and what is not. Values exert major influence on the behaviour of an individual and serve as broad guidelines in all situations.”
Assuming that the other party or parties share the same values that you do, can seriously undermine your negotiation strategies. For instance, fairness, equality, integrity, respect, and honesty may mean different things to different people, and the behavioural demonstration of these values can be profoundly influenced by cultural bias. For example, in some asian cultures “saving face“ is an important value which may result in a variety of behaviours manifesting themselves during a negotiation, especially if there is the prospect of losing face in front of one’s colleagues or leaders. Something you may say or do, which by your standards and culture may be fine, may inadvertently be taken as being disrespectful. For instance, on one of my first trips to South Africa, I visited with a South African Sangoma (medicine man) to learn about his philosophy and approach to life. Before he would discuss anything with me, we first had to eat a meal together. I was told in no uncertain terms that not eating the food would be a sign of disrespect towards him. He stated that eating the food even if it was just one bite, would demonstrate that I trusted him and would show that I had no suspicions of the food being poisoned!
Define Values and ground rules in behavioural terms.
A much overlooked aspect of negotiation, but one that pays dividends, is to define what each other’s stated values and ground rules are in behavioural terms. You might like to ask questions such as “How will either party know if they have been treated unfairly, unethically or been disrespected?” “What behaviours will be demonstrated during the negotiation that represent “Respect”, “Integrity”, “Honesty”, “Fair Play” etc.?”
Assumption 2 - Win – Win outcomes result in equal distribution.
If you believe Win – Win means dividing something equally amongst the various parties, you’re going to be disappointed more often than not. There are many situations when we negotiate, where what we are negotiating over, does not have a defined objective value or can not be divided equally. Having the belief that Win – Win means equal distribution will likely result in a deadlock. This often manifests in workshops during multiple party negotiations over limited resources that can not be divided or shared without destroying or damaging the items.
Define Win – Win by how the outcome meets the legitimate interests and needs of the parties involved.
A Win – Win outcome should meet the legitimate interests and needs of the parties involved. Seeking to fulfill the deeper needs or core purpose that underpins the requests or positions of both parties should be the primary focus of the negotiation. Not how equally something is divided. If you aren’t clear on your legitimate needs or purpose for negotiating, then clarify them. Likewise, seek to uncover what the other party’s legitimate interests are. It may be that there is an alternate means of resolving the negotiation that both parties hadn’t previously considered and is a better solution than the one currently being discussed.
Assumption 3 - A quick resolution is a good resolution.
One of the mistakes I see novice negotiators make is to rush the process and discuss solutions before they have fully defined what the issues are and explored the needs and currencies of each party fully. Often, a solution is agreed to that does not meet their needs or puts them in a worse situation than when they started.
Take the time to explore the matter before you discuss solutions.
Often the devil is in the detail, take your time, explore what is on offer and get as much out in the open as you can. When weighing up your options, it is important that you make an informed decision. Exploring the other party’s perspective does not necessarily mean you have to agree with them. However, understanding their perspective may just provide you with some insight into how you can meet their legitimate needs and still achieve your desired outcomes. The better you understand the terrain you are navigating, the greater the chance you have of finding the path of least resistance.
So to recap the key points:
Recently I had the pleasure of conducting a one day workshop on Communication Skills, followed by a half day workshop on Coaching Skills using the GROW Model for a fantastic team of managers at Hudson.
One of the most rewarding aspects of being a Facilitator and Coach for me, is learning about my participant’s personal experience of the workshops and the insights they have gained on their learning journey. Susan Young, who was one of my participants on both trainings at Hudson, posted her experience of the workshops and the coaching process on her excellent website The Language Of style, Susan’s blog post about her experience and insights can be found here.
For those unfamiliar with Coaching, it is a process that is highly supportive and that aims to expand the Coachee’s Self Awareness, while encouraging personal Responsibility and nurturing Self Belief. Through the use of powerful questioning and adopting the presupposition that the Coachee will make the best decisions for themself with the available information and resources at their disposal; the Coachee can come to their own conclusions about matters of personal importance.
Coaching is a highly rewarding process for both the Coachee and the Coach and is one of the most powerful methodologies for unleashing untapped or trapped potential in your team and your organisation. Coaching as a process is immensely practical, highly portable and transferable throughout an organisation’s business units, not to mention exceptionally effective in promoting action that results in tangible performance increases.
If your business or organisation is not teaching it’s people how to coach for success, then maybe it’s time you take action?
It’s been a while since we have posted anything on our blog, mainly because we have been sooooooo busy!
Between travelling overseas to South Africa to visit relatives, travelling interstate to roll out negotiation, sales, customer service, communication and coaching workshops; and designing and implementing training programs for our customers, the good old blog just didn’t make it across the line as a key priority.
This is about to change, and one of the main reasons is Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle model. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Simon Sinek – here is a link to his Wikipedia page – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simon_Sinek.
The Golden Circle model focuses on three questions and the way in which those three questions are communicated. The three questions are simply Why? How? and What? Sinek makes some excellent points in his video, which is posted below for your viewing pleasure. Sinek states that every person and company knows 100% “What” they do, most know “How” they do what they do, but few know “Why” they do what they do. When companies communicate, they tend to communicate with the “What” first, the “How” next and finally with a meager attempt at their “Why”.
Sinek makes a compelling argument that the most successful companies and leaders communicate differently. Sinek claims that they begin with their Why first, then their How and finally their What. Knowing Why you do what you do and what your core values are and then communicating these elements effectively to your target market or team. Sinek claims that this will draw customers and followers to your organisation or leadership style more effectively than telling them about What you do and How you do it. This aligns the values and beliefs of all parties, so that a shared purpose unites each.
As Sinek puts it:
"People don’t buy what you do. They buy WHY you do it."
So how does this relate to our blog? Well, Mindscape Consulting is an organisation that is committed to excellence. We are driven by a strong motivation to be of service to our clients and aid them in unlocking their organisation’s potential. This blog is just one of the ways in which we can continue to support our client’s journey towards excellence, whilst providing deeper insight in to some of the material we cover in our coaching sessions and workshops.
We partner with our clients and become part of your team; and in the process become an additional resource to your organisation, which you can draw on and rely upon.
We also provide exceptional coaching services and highly effective and engaging workshops.
If that is the type of strategic partner your organisation is looking for, then email or call us.
I had an interesting chat today with a restauranteur of a Thai cafe that opened five months ago. Never having seen anyone eat in there before I couldn’t help but ask him how business was going for him? To which he responded “It’s getting better.” Track the underlying meaning in that one folks!
Knowing that he had decided to open a Thai cafe in a small strip of shops which already had three other well patroned Thai restaurants, I asked him why he decided to open up in this location? His answer was simply, “I have eaten at the other Thai restaurants and I didn’t like the food. The food is more oriented to Australian taste buds than Thai taste buds, Thai people would not eat the other restaurant’s food.” Now I was really curious about this Restauranteur’s thought process and business planning. My curiosity got the better of me and I had to ask him what percentage of his customer base was Thai? To which he responded “None, this restaurant is too far for them to travel to, they mainly go to the city as it is closer.“
So here we have a cafe with a proprietor who is attempting to sell traditional Thai cuisine to a customer base that doesn’t travel to his suburb, in a location where there is established competition and who cater to the local’s taste buds. Is it any wonder why this cafe never has a soul sitting inside eating their food?
What was evident to me during this discussion was this proprietor did not seem to be working with a business coach to help him turn his business around. He also did not appear to have conducted an effective SWOT analysis to chart the business’ Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. And he also didn’t seem to have a well developed marketing plan in place as evidenced by his poor signage, unexciting specials, spartan decor, lack of local area marketing and a failure to effectively communicate his Unique Selling Proposition.
He reminded me of the saying:
“When you fail to plan you are successfully planning to fail.”
This is where business and executive coaching fills an important role in aiding business owners and their staff in charting a course of action that increases the prospect of success. Without expert assistance and well formed plans; a business can be akin to a rudderless ship with a hole in its hull, adrift in a sea of competition and leaving a huge oil slick behind it of disgruntled customers and lost revenue.
It doesn’t make cents to invest in business coaching – it makes DOLLARS!
Some people spend their entire lives fearing failure and doing what they can to avoid it. If this is a pattern you demonstrate in your life, then I suggest you click on the link below. The 5 minutes you take to read how Steve Jobs and Apple embraced failure, learned from it and moved on, may just make a difference to how you manage setbacks from now on.
A lesson in failure from Steve Jobs | Technology Spectator.
Having read the article, Job’s and Apple’s approach reminds me of one of the pressupositions of NLP -
“There is no such thing as failure, only feedback.”
Of course there is such a thing as failure, but the questions I have are:
P.S – A big thank you goes out to my friend Paul Kallenbach, Partner at Minter Ellison for the link to the article.
At Mindscape Consulting we are pleased to announce the arrival of The Corporate Warrior® series of workshops.
The Corporate Warrior® workshops are unique, experiential in nature and are designed to build higher levels of engagement within teams and re-ignite passion within people. Hence our tagline Re-writing The Rules of Engagement®.
For futher information on The Corporate Warrior® workshops feel free to visit www.thecorporatewarrior.com
Recently, this Buckminster Fuller quote made its way to me via Facebook and I simply had to pass it on.
How many times have you desired to change the status quo in either your personal or professional life? Maybe you have unsuccessfully fought tooth and nail to initiate change in your organisation, team or business practices?
If you were to create a new mental model for yourself or your organisation, what beliefs / values would be needed to support this mental model?
If you wanted to see change in your world, what behaviours would you need to demonstrate in order to begin grounding it in your physical reality?
There is a wonderful and wise Buddhist saying that might help you manifest a new model:
“Watch your thoughts: They become your words.
Watch your words: They become your actions.
Watch your actions: They become your habits.
Watch your habits: They become your character.
Watch your character: It becomes your destiny.”
A model is simply a mental construct but to make it work requires mindfulness, effort and action.