Saturday, April 20, 2013

I Feel... Therefore You Should..!

Do you ever get frustrated with people who have all the answers, but that seldom will help get the job done? Of course you do. Why? Because they outnumber, by far, the people who carry the load.

In whatever role I'm in, whether it be extended family, work, church or community, in general, I witness two kinds of people.

And amazingly so, I find that there's not much of a type of person "in between"... I mean, either the engine is roaring and there's movement, or the engine is off and no speed or action.

...two types of modes, and it's deeply rooted:

TYPE 1: Passionate and Caring
These people have had experiences that opened their eyes. They have discovered that life has meaning and purpose. Most significantly, they act on it and maintain positive feelings and a desire to lift others, even though they are faced with rejection by the very people they try to help.

They don't quit trying. Their heart is in the right place. They don't need attention or glory. Some of them go through deep challenges, but the level of commitment exceeds their own pain in such a way that they're able to lose themselves in the service of others.

These individuals are easy to spot by the basic attitude of "yes, I want to help". The best of them are not told what to do, but will simply walk up to you and suggest ways to support the cause.

Their style is asking questions and listening to advice. They are slow to critize others and keep looking for ways to improve themselves. Their lifestyle is often filled with reading books, planning and getting organized and things that will keep them balanced.

TYPE 2: Reactive and Self Serving
These people may have discovered the benefit of helping others, and it may have given them good feelings from time to time, but they have not yet understood their mission beyond that which is "their own". They tend to be over-protective of their own family and react with anger or agression when others don't take care of them.

In any social setting, their main objective is to make sure they themselves feel good. They will respond if, and only if, they get the role of leader, and in that moment they will demand the full support of others. They can be tactful and clever, oh so brilliant and emotionally engaged, but deep inside they don't really care.

These individuals take time to figure out. They will often have the appearance of professionalism, deep philosophical insight, a busy schedule and even a track record of success. But when asked to do something small or seemingly insignificant they will not even show up.

Their style is probably the most revealing pattern I've found. What is it? They tend to practice the pattern of giving advice, such as: "I have studied this for a number of years, therefore you should...", "the past two years I've found that... therefore the way to do this is...", or better yet "I feel... so everyone else should...".

What To Do?
Maybe it's the most basic leadership question there ever was? What can we do to help them? I mean, we've all been there, right?

I wonder if, in many ways, there's a very basic switch inside each one of us. Maybe when it's turned on it says: "I want to help others and I don't worry so much about me and myself, because when I keep giving, somehow I will be all-right...". And then, when the switch is turned off, it says "I'm going to spend all my time taking care of me, because if I do, eventually I'll feel better than I do right now...".

I keep telling myself that the best approach must be to ignore (and be patient with) the details and make an appeal to that switch inside others. The most important thing, long term, might be that they feel we care..? Maybe that will turn them on, eventually?

Friday, April 12, 2013

Negotiating a Winning Deal

Whether you negotiate a USD 20 million deal or a minor business transaction, many of the principles remain the same. What's important to negotiate a winning deal?

So I told our client: "When negotiating, never give in without getting something in return." For instance, you might say: "OK, so if we're going to offer you... What will you give us in return?" Give and take may be an old idea, but it works.

Another action easily forgotten is "when the balance shifts to loose-win, share feelings". There's no need to get emotional. In fact, emotional is counterproductive. However, in my experience, when the going gets tough, it helps to share how you feel. Why? Because no one can disagree with or attack how I feel or perceive an open discussion. Any professional will want to maintain mutual benefit to increase the value and validity of a contract.

A few examples of negotiation principles you may want to consider...
  • Before you begin, specifically decide your desired outcome.
  • Do the needed research beforehand about what the other party wants most. (No guessing!)
  • Communicate win-win in everything you do (...and mean it!).
  • Practice empathy, not sympathy. Summarize as often as you can to make sure you understand the other point of view.
  • Always respond with "Mhm..." (which is a neutral reply) when you sense you are getting emotional e.g. because you are being misunderstood or treated unfairly or with disrespect. Give yourself time to think before reactively acting out your intuitive agression.
  • If you can outnumber them, do! Two-on-one equals brain power.
  • Create a mental picture and attitude of "wealth" or (generate a) list of all options. Make sure you can truly turn down their offer at any time. Get busy being in a strong position!
  • Ask questions when you encounter rejection or "no".
  • Remember: It is better to go for "no deal" than "a bad deal". If you fail to agree agreeably, agree to disagree agreeably. The outcome usually is a better, more respectful, relationship, which lays the groundwork for an even bigger deal next time around.
  • Don't rush it! We always treat negotiations as a growing process. Be careful to list all your arguments from low to high priority. Save the best arguments for last - progressively!
Spending time and resources learning how to negotiate winning deals is worth a solid investment.