ONE of my favourite books is the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by the late Steven Covey.
I've found the book and the habits discussed of enormous value over the years.
The habits are:
- Being proactive
- Putting first things first
- Beginning with the end in mind
- Thinking win-win
- First seeking to understand before being understood
- Sharpening the saw
While these are all excellent habits, three in particular I use when entering into any negotiation.
Yes, there is a system and process, but these form the basis of the way forward.
1: Begin with the end In mind
2: First seek to understand before being understood
3: Think win win
Let's break these up.
Firstly "begin with the end in mind".
Dr Covey talks about your life. At the end of your time, what did your life look like, what did you contribute, how many have you helped and what value did you add to others?
There are also great business lessons here, as it ties directly to your ethics, as enduring success is about your character.
From a negotiation point of view, the approach here is to go into the negotiation with a clear view of the outcome or result you want to achieve, again with an ethical belief system.
I would also think of what the outcome could look like for the person opposite you at the table - is it positive or negative?
Depending on the next two, the result may actually surprise you.
Secondly, "first seek to understand before being understood". I can't tell you how many times this rule has resulted in successful negotiations for me, often with a better outcome than I'd originally thought.
Ask questions and find out what they want from the deal. By listening to what they are looking to achieve will often bring out the true reasons they are at the table. This will also build trust as you show a genuine care of their needs and wants.
Lastly, "thinking win-win". This is the ultimate in successful negotiations, because everyone is happy. No one loses - all parties move forward with a clear conscience, and a greater understanding of the respective businesses.
These transactions are always more profitable, long term, for all involved.