Leadership Series: Negotiating

Posted on Dec 22, 2016 in Entrepreneur, Small Business, Small Business Tips and Tricks Series, Success, Tips for Entrepreneurs | Comments Off on Leadership Series: Negotiating

Leadership Series: Negotiating

Image result for negotiation


“Negotiating? Well, that’s not for me. I’m not a salesman, lawyer or politician. Surely negotiating isn’t important in leadership.”

The authors or “Getting to Yes” disagree. Their best seller starts:

“Like it or not, you’re a negotiator. Negotiation is a fact of life. You discuss a raise with your boss. You try to agree with a stranger on a price for his house.” You negotiate with your co-workers on where capital investment should be allocated and what new products to deploy. Or, to provide two more examples from Getting to Yes, perhaps you’re trying to mutually agree with your spouse on where to go for dinner or with you kids on what time they should go to bed (not so easy when the other party’s position is “never!“)

No matter in what situation you find yourself negotiating, the situation should not end up as a positional “haggle-fest.” An example of which would be opening up with a low ball offer that’s countered with a high ball rejection, only to whittle its way to somewhere in the middle or to end in no agreement at all. Just bitter feelings.

That’s when the authors of Getting to Yes suggest using “principled negotiation.” Principled negotiation is focused on four main things: 1) People – separating the people from the problem; 2) Interests – focusing on interests, not positions; 3) Options – developing multiple options for mutual gain, and; 4) Criteria – insisting that the result be based on some objective standard. Following is a brief discussion on each.


Negotiations are always centered around some sort of problem but the person on the other side of the table is not that problem. We must neither be soft and weak in fear of hurting a relationship, which usually ends in feelings of unfairness on the part of the party who gives up most, nor should we take a brash, harsh, bullying approach. We must separate the people from the problem and address them both separately.



When we focus on what both parties are interested in, we don’t need to take ego building positions that give a sense of winning or losing to each side. We can focus on mutual benefit and gain. And this step is essential to frame the next principle.



Rarely is there only one “perfect” option to agree upon. So, invent multiple and discuss them with the other party. This helps both sides know that the best option for mutual gain has been searched for and selected.



Finally, the result can’t be based on feeling or what is perceived to be fair but should be based off of some sort of what the authors call “objective standards.” This might be determined by “market value, expert opinion, custom, or law” or any other number of criteria that remove personal opinion and introduce facts, evidence or support.


Now, armed with these principles, you’re better prepared to separate the people from the problem, focus on the interests of both parties, come up with multiple options and base your negotiating on objective criteria.

Good luck and we wish you the best this holiday season.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!