Don’t miss Greg Campeau’s workshop, You Don’t Get What You Deserve…You Get What you Negotiate at CPA Alberta’s upcoming 2018 Forum for Members in Industry. You can also attend one of his full day PD courses, including Effective Management Skills, Time Management for the 21st Century Professional and Winning Edge Negotiation Skills. For details visit, www.cpaalberta.ca/Professional-Development. In the below article, Greg provides insightful information on the art of negotiating.
By Greg Campeau BComm
Early in my workshops, I ask my participants to rate how true they think the title of this article is on a validity score from one to ten. Invariably I receive responses of eight, nine or mostly tens. I have found if you give people just a few minutes to ponder this question, participants consistently come to realize how vitally important negotiating skills are to their professional and personal success. In its simplest terms, negotiating is the art of getting what you want from other people.
The game of negotiation has changed and the highly interdependent nature of the information age workplace demands a new set of competencies to achieve success. In the industrial age, negotiating skills were nice to have, a bonus; however, today and into the future, I believe that the single most important career competency is the ability to negotiate effectively. Here are seven reasons why negotiating skills are becoming more important by the day!
- Increasing rate of change – The faster the rate of change, the greater the need to negotiate! The implementation of change initiatives requires negotiating of new agreements, strategies, priorities, policies, procedures, systems, contracts, mergers, work roles, and work loads, among others.
- Job churn – Say goodbye to life-long employment. In 2013, approximately half the Canadian workers with full-time jobs had been in their current jobs less than two years. People and organizations are less loyal and “jobs-for-life” are rapidly disappearing, which means the frequency of negotiating employment compensation will increase.
- Less workplace structure – The workplace is becoming less rigid and more boundless, with fewer rules than in the industrial age. As larger organizations downsize and strip out organizational layers, the vast majority of new jobs are being created by small entrepreneurial businesses and not major corporations. This means that fewer people are bound by the rigid HR policies and fixed salary ranges common in large organizations and more people are operating within more ambiguous and flexible compensation structures. One result is that individuals are increasingly free (and responsible) to negotiate their true worth.
- Empowered and demanding employees – The command and control management philosophy of the industrial age, where managers do the thinking and workers do the doing, is dangerously obsolete with today’s workers. The only pathway to employee engagement and world-class performance is to empower people. The days of managers simply telling people what to do and how to do it are over; the process of empowering people is the process of negotiating roles and goals with employees.
- More challenging customers – Customers today are more sophisticated, informed, have higher expectations, are more willing to complain, and, most of all, are more demanding! Customers want things free, perfect, and yesterday; thus, a new level of negotiation expertise is required by frontline staff if they hope deal successfully with more challenging customers.
- Hyper-competition – In almost every industry, increased competition has resulted in tremendous downside pressure on profit margins. So effective negotiations skills demonstrated by customer contact people is increasingly important to maintain profitability.
- Moral deterioration – Sadly, I fear that we are experiencing a less ethical approach to negotiating. Many of my workshop participants commonly complain that their industry is becoming increasing cutthroat and people are more “hard-ball” principled in their approach to negotiations. The hard truth is that there are a lot of people ready, willing, and able to take advantage of you.
As a starting point to enhance negotiating effectiveness, I suggest considering following the seven following guiding principles:
- Start by recognizing the truth: we ALL negotiate ALL the time. Without seeming mercenary, the hard truth is that according to research by the “Harvard Negotiation Project” the number one most common mistake people make is to not realize when they are negotiating.
- Win – win or no deal is the only sustainable philosophy to negotiating in on-going relationships. If either party fails to get their needs met, it is inevitable resentment builds, and it is only a matter of time before the negative energy manifests in destructive ways.
- Know what game you are playing. People who try to take the nice, soft conciliatory approach when negotiating with “sharks” lose. Learning to recognize “sharks” allows one to defend against their manipulative, deceptive, or high-pressure tactics.
- Be planned. It is impossible to hit a target that doesn’t exist! At minimum, there must be clarity on at least two things: the “love-to-have” and the “must-have” (the walk-away point).
- Always try to be a reluctant seller and an unenthusiastic buyer!
- Never agree to anything of significance on the spot that you have not previously thought through!
- If making concessions, make them slowly … don’t make the first concession; do make the last concession. If playing hardball, always ask for something in return for every concession made.
Here four crucial questions for readers to consider:
- How effective of a negotiator are you?
- What are your strengths and weaknesses as a negotiator?
- What is you’re your lack of negotiating knowledge, skills and strategies costing you?
- What do you intend to do about it?
I enthusiastically recommend everyone become a serious student of the art negotiating. Some of the very best books on negotiating skills can be found at my website www.campeaulearning.com, under “Recommend Reading”. I wish you great success in your future negotiations!
In addition to You don’t get what you deserve…you get what you negotiate, Greg will be presenting Leading from anywhere in the organization at the 2018 Annual Forum for Members in Industry.