Give and Take: The Rules of Negotiation and CompromisePosted by: Tim Searcy
- AUG 09, 2011
- Blog Post
In any business, negotiation and compromise are vital pieces of the puzzle. Many times, they drive the end result and play a large part in the decision making process. In my personal experience, I have come across three main rules of negotiation. They are:
- Know what you want…really know and be terribly specific in your own mind.
- Know what the other person wants. Don’t just assume. Understand their motivations, their points of contention, their places that they can give, and whether what they want is even possible in your world.
- Be willing to walk away at any time in which it is impossible to come to something mutually agreeable. The word to watch for here is impossible.
Negotiation, however, is not compromise. The rules of negotiation are different. For starters, negotiations don’t absolutely require compromise. At some point, the person with authority or power can tire of the process and simply mandate an outcome. When people of equal authority, factual certainty or historical perspective disagree, and negotiation is at an impasse, another party of greater authority can be brought in to arbitrate a solution. Sometimes a colleague can be consulted to play the role of objective observer and guide the two people to a better solution.
The rules of compromise are more difficult than the rules of negotiation because you have to dispense with rule number three above! Here are the rules of compromise as I see them:
- Know that you will have to compromise. No matter what is said or done, at some point, you will have to give up things that are precious to you for the purpose of coming to agreement. Know also that you will be able to demand that the other party give up things that are precious to them to gain your accommodation.
- Know the absolute bare minimum that you can live with. This will change over time as discussions get more difficult, and you will find that you are willing to give up more than you originally thought was possible.
- Know the absolute maximum you can allow the other party to have and still live with. In other words, refer to rule number two and reverse it!
- Always keep in mind what is at stake and the costs of taking time to accomplish number one.
- Remember rule number one at all times.