Are cost price increases keeping you awake at night? Whether you’re a buyer or seller the cost of everything is increasing and you could do with passing on your pain. Availability issues, inflationary pressures, Covid challenges and Brexit are all contributing to a perfect storm which is impacting businesses like yours. The last 2 years have been tough to say the least and the need for robust negotiation skills has never been greater.
Negotiation frequently conjures images of someone speaking across a table, finger pointing directly at the other party – reinforcing whatever point is being made. It is easy to see why this image abounds, however negotiation is not about talking endlessly at the other party; negotiation is about silence and listening.
My first boss said those words to me on the fifth day in the job. It was great advice and has remained with me ever since; I refer to him and fall back on those 3 words a couple of times a week. Had he still been with us he would have been greatly interested in the way things are unfolding in Eastern Europe and in particular Ukraine. Doubtless he would have been returning to his mantra on a daily basis. Of course, saying ‘expect the unexpected’ is one thing, it’s what you do about it that matters.
When you are in the nitty-gritty of planning your next negotiation, you need to think about your opening position(s). How far should you go? If you’re selling, should you open higher than you know they can agree to? And vice-versa if you’re buying. This means that you would have to move from your position until you find the point at which they can agree.
Self Interest v Mutual interest – a Lesson from Covid
Whether to act in self interest or not is a decision which needs to be made before any negotiation – it is what will in part drive your strategy. However, it is not always as straightforward a decision as it first seems.
Here’s a great story about how one of the biggest sports clubs/franchises in the world was born. But for non-football (soccer) fans, don’t worry, the story is not about football. At its heart is negotiation, a father’s love for his daughter and a man’s love for his dog – which was trumped only by his love of his team.
Negotiating from home
“Be alone, that is the secret of invention; be alone, that is when ideas are born” Nikola Tesla
Working from home has become the norm for many millions of people over the past weeks and months. There are a great many positives, but it is often all too easy to focus on the negatives – the current climate may make it feel hard, if not impossible, to advocate for yourself.
Whatever has happened to your business this year, the need for robust negotiation skills and strategy building has never been stronger.
Some organisations have got ahead of the game, and others have been left behind, but wherever your company is right now it is never too late to make a change.
Negotiation in a crisis – is it different?
How many negotiations are taking place as you read this article? I would suggest hundreds, if not thousands. They will involve, policy, law, money, goods & services and all of the other variables that one would expect in any negotiation. What sets apart negotiation in June 2020 from other times is the fact that many of these negotiations will (literally) involve life and death decisions. Conversations taking place right now in board rooms and presidents’ offices about social distancing, remote working and when to re-open schools and shops will all have an effect on the way this pandemic plays out.
good or bad, the example you set will be followed…
even the most sophisticated studies and investigations have yet to make leadership, and its development, more science than art. The four ‘Cs’ – competence, character, creativity, and charisma remain difficult qualities to quantify, let alone cultivate. Growing effective leaders is challenging work.
“Men are moved by two levers only: fear and self interest”
Mutual interest or self interest?
Human nature has been laid bare in the UK over the past few weeks. This, of course, may be the case for the rest of the world gripped by the Covid-19 pandemic, but I’ll confine my thoughts to the UK, after all it’s where I live.
Trust and Empowerment
“Tell people what you want doing, not how to achieve it, you will be amazed by their creativity”
Dwight D Eisenhower.
Having spent a long time in the Public Sector (the British Army), I have often thought that it is easier to let go, to let your team ‘crack on’ when the bottom line is not measured in financial terms. After all, if there are no share holders screaming for more profit and no board looking down from the ivory tower expecting you to deliver more £s, $s etc then letting other people make the decisions has to be straight forward, doesn’t it?