Greg Williams

By Greg Williams

How Does This End?

How Does This End? 150 150 Greg Williams, MN, CSP

“Always assess whether you should attempt to influence outcomes. It may be more beneficial not to.” –Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert

You should always attempt to accurately assess a situation before attempting to influence it. That assessment will leave clues to how it might end. And, if you don’t like the possible ending, you may be better off not doing anything at all.

The Story:

The leader of team one was engaged in a negotiation against two other teams – they were negotiating the extension of a contract worth $10,000,000. To subvert the efforts of team three, the leader of team one offered a silent payment of $20,000 to the leader of team two if he could get team three to withdraw from the negotiation. After the teams haggled for several weeks, team one won the contract.

With glee in his heart and dollar signs in his eyes, the leader from team one gladly remitted the $20,000 bounty to his team two confederate. When team one’s leader asked the leader of team two how he convinced team three to drop out, he said, “it was easy. There was a clause in the current contract that stated the three teams had to negotiate in good faith for the extension renewal. The fact is, neither team two or three wanted the extended contract.” With that, the guy from team one said, you mean I could have saved my $20,000? The team-two leader said with a smile on his face, “that’s right!”

Survey:

If you knew something would end badly before engaging in it, would you go through with it? When a few hundred people answered that question, some of the answers were surprising. Some of them said they’d embrace the situation because it would prepare them for other activities – thus, they would learn from the bad situation, which would allow them to be better prepared to address a greater situation in the future. One would think that thought process goes against conventional wisdom. But it may not, depending on who you’re dealing with.

Assumptions:

How can you predict how someone will act if you don’t know their source of motivation? It’s a difficult assessment to make. You can’t even assess an accurate probability of how they might act.

When dealing with people, you should always attempt to predict how they might respond based on their interest. Don’t assume they’ll act in a prescribed manner unless you’ve received direct input from them or another reliable source. Even if it comes directly from them, you still must verify what they say through another source. To do less is to set yourself up for possible foolery. Adopt the perspective that people may not act in their best interest if you don’t know what their best interest is.

What does this have to do with negotiations?

Don’t assume you know how people will act or react. When negotiating, understand what the other negotiator wants, why he wants it, and the reasoning behind his desires. To do that, solicit his honest input – tell him, the only way you can give him what he wants is to know exactly what that is.

It’s of equal importance to know what the other negotiator doesn’t want. This, combined with what he wants, will give you a more complete picture of what may drive his actions. With that insight, you’ll have a better idea of how the other negotiator wants the negotiation to end. Then, all you need to do is assist him in walking down that path. At the end of it, there will be a winning combination that’ll make him embrace the outcome of the negotiation. The point is, you will have known the answer ahead of time as to how does this end … and everything will be right with the world.

Remember, you’re always negotiating!

Listen to Greg’s podcast at https://anchor.fm/themasternegotiator

After reading this article, what are you thinking? I’d really like to know. Reach me at Greg@TheMasterNegotiator.com

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