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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Rational Negotiation

There is a lot of negotiating going on in the world today, and a lot of it is showing up on the front pages of the newspapers.

There is an art and a science to good negotiating, and whether you are negotiating a cease-fire between countries or neighbours, here are some tips for you on how to become a better negotiator. These come from a book, Negotiating Rationally, by Drs. Max Bazerman and Margaret Neale of Northwestern University.

First, it's important to recognise that everyone negotiates - probably a lot more than you think. It's pretty obvious when you're buying a car or putting together a business deal. You're also negotiating when you want to go out to dinner and your spouse wants to stay home, or when your neighbour wants to put in a chain link fence and you'd prefer a hedge of shrubs.

The first thing that can help your negotiating skills is getting rid of the urge to win at all costs and the false idea that if one person wins, it means the other has to lose. The best solution is one in which each side gives a little and gets something, too. Good negotiators know how to paint a vivid picture of how their proposed solution will benefit both sides, and they focus on gains rather than losses.

They also know that building trust and sharing information are critical for negotiating in any long-term relationship. Finally, good negotiators have the ability to really put themselves in the other person's shoes, evaluate alternatives, and think creatively. Can you see yourself negotiating to settle differences in a way that makes everyone a winner? 


Creating a Culture of Greatness

To build a winning a team and a successful organisation you must create a culture of greatness.

It’s the most important thing a leader can do because culture drives behaviour, behaviour drives habits and habits create the future. As the leaders at Apple say, “Culture beats strategy all day long."

When you create a culture of greatness you create a collective mindset in your organisation that expects great things to happen—even during challenging times. You expect your people to be their best, you make it a priority to coach them to be their best and most of all you create a work environment that fuels them to be their best.

A culture of greatness creates an expectation that everyone in the organisation be committed to excellence. It requires leaders and managers to put the right people in the right positions where they are humble and hungry and willing to work harder than everyone else. A culture of greatness dictates that each person use their gifts and strengths to serve the purpose and mission of the organisation. And it means that you don’t just bring in the best people, but you also bring out the best in your people.

If you are thinking that this sounds like common sense, it is. But unfortunately far too many organisations expect their people to be their best but they don't invest their time and energy to help them be their best nor do they create an environment that is conducive to success. They want great results but they are not willing to do what it takes to create a culture of greatness.

A culture of greatness requires that you find the right people that fit your culture. Then you coach them, develop them, mentor them, train them and empower them to do what they do best. As part of this process you develop positive leaders who share positive energy throughout the organisation because positive energy flows from the top down. You also don’t allow negativity to sabotage the morale, performance and success or your organisation. You deal with negativity at the cultural level so your people can spend their time focusing on their work instead of fighting energy vampires. And you find countless ways to enhance communication, build trust and create engaged relationships that are the foundation upon which winning teams are built.

If creating a culture of greatness sounds like a lot of work, it is, but not as much work as dealing with the crises, problems and challenges associated with negative, dysfunctional and sub-par cultures. While most organisations waste a lot of time putting out fires you can spend your time building a great organisation that rises above the competition.