The Art of Win - Win Negotiating
By Gary Lockwood
None of us operates in a vacuum. Other people always play an important role in our lives and in our businesses. We cannot fully succeed unless we manage our relationships
in a way that helps us move toward our goals.
Of course, other people have goals, too. Clearly, one of the keys to a productive relationship is learning how to create situations that benefit all parties.
Throughout the 1980s, as the Information Age expanded and accelerated, a new model of individual behavior emerged, characterized by a fiercely independent frame of mind. During that time, many people learned to
achieve their goals through manipulation and intimidation.
Now, modern entrepreneurs recognize the wisdom of working interdependently in order to be truly effective. The accelerating pace of change and the explosive proliferation of information has created a situation where no
one person can possibly keep up without enlisting the support and help of others. In today's market- place, you have to be skilled in negotiating the terms of interaction between yourself and your clients, colleagues or staff.
The Law of Reciprocity says that Like generates Like. From this principle comes a radically new concept of winning: Winning and Losing do not have to go hand-in-hand.
Who says that there must be a loser just because there is a winner? With some effort and creativity, you can orchestrate a situation so that all parties can have a win. The fundamental premise of this philosophy is
called Win:Win. Win:Win is the highest form of reciprocity to which we can aspire.
Win:Win negotiation is essential when:
* you are building long-term relationships
* the results are likely to be public knowledge
* tension exists between the participants
* you want to take advantage of the synergy gained from collaborative effort
Trained Win:Win negotiators always try to conduct themselves according to the behavior appropriate to a Win:Win approach. They are assertive rather than aggressive, creative versus antagonistic, even if the other person is not
willing to cooperate.
The skilled Win:Win negotiator focuses on the issues involved and doesn't allow personalities to get in the way. If your negotiating partner resorts to personal attacks or makes outrageous demands, you can bring his behavior
under control by maintaining control of your own. The wise negotiator keeps cool under all circumstances.
Here are the key behaviors essential to a Win:Win negotiation:
** Be flexible. Start your negotiations with specific objectives, but don't draw a "line in the sand". Have the confidence to adjust your end game as you learn what the other person wants.
** State your objectives up front. Ask the other person to describe their desired end result of the negotiations. This is crucial if you want a Win:Win outcome. The idea is not to achieve your objectives OR their
objectives. The purpose of Win:Win negotiation is to have both of you working together to discover ways to achieve your objectives AND her objectives.
** Use AND thinking. Determine if it is possible to achieve both sets of objectives as they stand. If not, identify the common ground in both objectives.
** Concentrate on reasons, not positions. When you have a difference of opinion, find out the reasons behind the differences. When you take a position, there is a reason why you made that decision.
Attacking the decision or the position is a recipe for deadlock, hard feelings and anger. Skilled Win:Win negotiators explain their own reasons for a position and question the other person to discover the thinking behind his
or her decisions.
** Search for options. Concentrate on creatively generating alternative solutions, ideas and possibilities that best fit the objectives of both parties. This is an opportunity to really take
advantage of the creative power of two-heads-better-than-one.
** Trade concessions. Don't donate them. If you are asked to make concessions from your ideal objective, ask the other person to offer something in return. Say "If I do that for you, will you do
this for me?"
** Do your homework. The key to effective negotiation is preparation. What can you learn in advance about the other person's desired objectives, the current situation, preferences and negotiating style? How
well have you specified your objectives, your bargaining chips and your bottom-line?
** Develop the shopping list. Before you start bargaining, obtain a list of issues that your negotiating partners want to bring up. Be sure to articulate your own list so you can start the bargaining
with a complete list of all the issues to be negotiated. This will help prevent new issues from being introduced all along the way.
** Keep a written record of progress. As you come to agreement on each issue, write it down. This will help maintain forward momentum.
** Make the most of your bargaining chips. Identify those concessions you are willing to make that have a low cost to you and that are important to your negotiating partner. When you offer such a
concession, remember to ask for something you want in exchange.
** Slow down. Don't respond to pressure or urgency by making snap decisions. Take a break to give yourself time to consider the ramifications of your next actions. Never give away anything when you
do not fully understand the consequences.
** Encourage creativity. Use words like "What if we...", "What about...", Would this...?" Draw ideas and pictures on a large paper or flip chart. Occasionally, stop the bargaining to
do some brainstorming together, then resume the negotiation.
Remember that more and more, the issues being negotiated are intangible. Time, service, quality and commitment are important issues for negotiation. The value placed on each facet of these intangibles is hard to see,
touch and measure. Every person puts different weight and value on these issues that make up much of our negotiations.
As a skilled Win:Win negotiator, you must recognize that the way another person values an issue may differ from your own. All people view things their own way. Getting to an understanding of how much the other
person values each issue will allow you to effectively bargain issue for issue.
In a world driven by information and knowledge, the traditional rules of hard-nosed negotiation are less useful. Winning in today's marketplace means ensuring that everyone can achieve their necessary goals and outcomes.
This in turn allows us to establish and maintain long term business relationships.
About the Author...Gary Lockwood is Your Business Coach. Grow your business, make more money and have more fun. Get the Unique, Do-It-Yourself
Business Consulting Kits - FREE To get yours, go to
Office: (800) 272-1575 (USA)
* Fax: (760) 325-9608
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