Negotiator Tip #4
Everything is Negotiable
Everything is negotiable. . . . .when you “Think Like A Negotiator.” I know you may be thinking how can that be possible? Everything is Negotiable? Everything?
Negotiation is the art of getting people to agree with you in an ethical way. However, sometimes you are unable to reach an agreement no matter what you do. So how would that be negotiable?[/su_column]
You need to be willing to walk away.
Walking away is also a negotiation strategy/technique. It’s something you have to decide up front when going into any negotiation. That will be discussed in more detail in another lesson.
Putting the possibility of no agreement aside for now, lets take a look at how everything is negotiable. Thinking like a negotiator is a mindset you put on. Often times we think something isn’t negotiable because we think in absolutes or rules. That’s the way it’s always been done. It’s not possible to do it any other way. The rules say we have to do it this way.
What if you found a better, easier or more efficient way to do something just by looking at it a different way? Thinking that everything is negotiable and operating from that type of a mindset opens up so many doors for you that you didn’t think were possible before.
I call it “no box” thinking. What that means is that your ideas aren’t constrained by any “boxes” that would normally keep your thinking limited to only a small area. Opening that up and allowing yourself to think of all the possibilities, makes the solutions or offers so much more creative when necessary. This is true for pricing a contract, negotiating a delivery date, salary terms or even a broken cypher lock on a secure IT room.
I know some of your reading this are thinking; what does a broken cypher lock have to do with negotiation? It’s just an example of “negotiating” a different solution to an outcome. Negotiation is getting someone to agree with you. Sometimes when you present an idea, the other side doesn’t want to hear it because they think you don’t have the expertise to even suggest a solution.
Sometimes you have to figure a way to get the other side to buy into your solution anyway. That’s a big part of negotiation. I’m using this example to show you that everything is a negotiation and everything is negotiable when you use the mindset of thinking like a negotiator.
Picture this – a guy locks himself into a computer room. He can’t get out because the cypher lock is broken. The door is solid metal and there’s only a small approximately 8” X 8” glass window in the door.
The civil engineering department is called over to get the door open. The lock itself has several buttons for the combination and a doorknob to turn once the combo has been properly entered. Something has happened to the mechanism inside the lock and there’s no fixing it. The next thought is how to get the guy out. There are 3 guys standing there from the civil engineering department, plus a couple from the office and me. I worked in the IT section at the time.
The civil engineers started to attempt to pry the door open with a crow bar. They attempted to break the lock and a few other unsuccessful ideas. Cutting the door is not a good option. Breaking the glass on the window won’t solve anything either. I’m standing at the back of the area up against the wall and notice that the door has 2 hinges on the outside of it. I make the suggestion that they pull the pins out of the hinges and pry the door loose from that side. They look at it, look at me as if I’ve lost my mind and proceed with their futile efforts to pry the door apart from the side where the lock is.
Sometimes you have to go back again with your position and inject a little more emotion and ask a powerful question to get action to be taken. I said it again: “Why don’t you give this a go and see if it works. Is there any reason you can’t attempt it? Seems to me the only thing holding that side of the door together is the 2 hinges where the other side is pretty tight with the lock.” They look at me and then at the door.
Finally they decide to go for it and guess what? It actually works! They pull the pins out of the hinges, then pry the door open that way and get the guy out within 5 minutes!
Bottom line, everything is a negotiation, everything is negotiable and negotiation techniques and strategies work on everything. Keep you mindset focused on the fact that “Everything is Negotiable” when you “Think Like A Negotiator” no matter what the situation may be.
See you next week!
Eldonna Lewis Fernandez, MSgt USAF Retired