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Killer Negotiator 101 – Everybody is a good guy

Killer Negotiator 101 – Everybody is a good guy

A good negotiator wins the deal for himself. A killer negotiator creates a win-win!

My name is Captain D. Most of what I write are things which have come from my experiences in dealing with thousands upon thousands of people from all over the world and judging what makes them tick. I have loved to do that all my life, and it has helped me in countless ways- professionally and personally. Just a few days back I had a major inspection on my ship. The results were crucial for the performance of the vessel. Everyone was looking forward to it. There was a lot of ground to cover, and there were several things which could have gone wrong. The inspector was a very senior, matter-of-fact guy with no interest in chit-chat. Not everything went perfectly, yet in the end we all walked out smiling with a glittering report which made everyone happy! The inspector’s words as he left were, “I will remember you”.

Long story short, I know how to negotiate! It’s not difficult, and being a negotiator can surely take you places. Let us start with a basic concept which many fail to understand.

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    1. Everybody believes they are the good guys

    Whether you are Bill Gates or a New York City cab driver, you have a philosophy- an internal code of what is right, what is wrong, what is enjoyable, what is not, etc. It is your unique collection of beliefs and behaviors. It’s surprising that many people never understand that concept! When you meet someone, they judge you. Those judgments come from that person’s experience- the way he has seen his life unfold. That’s okay. However, to be a killer negotiator you must remember that often you may be trying to convince another person using the yardstick you have prepared for yourself. That may not work very well for you.

    Conflict of Concepts

    I recently completed a voyage from Iraq to the United States and met people from both countries. I get to chatting easily and often end up finding out information which someone would never hear about from a public source such as a newspaper.

    Ask an American, “Why was your country attacked on 9/11?” He or she will say, “They hate us because we are free”. Ever ask a person from Iraq why America is dropping bombs on their houses? I have. They say, “The United States wants to eliminate Islam.” These are both ideas planted in the minds of the masses by people with a certain objective which they do not disclose. Whichever side you are on, one thing is for certain. Someone born in America thinks one way and someone born in Iraq thinks another. Both have reasons to believe what they believe.

    How to use this as a negotiator

    Even a terrorist is a crusader to himself. Killing people makes sense to him. He can dehumanize people for a greater cause, just like a soldier on the battlefront. A thief is desperate and to him stealing seems a logical way out. We forget that our beliefs are just as strong in our minds as the other person’s ideas are to him or her. To be a negotiator, you must understand that. You cannot try to convince someone otherwise unless you understand his persona completely and unbiasedly.

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    Weird people around you

    You will find many people making decisions which may seem weird to you.

    • A company executive I know fired someone just so that he could put the blame for his mistakes on him.
    • People are married to those they do not love for years, but it makes sense to them to stay married.
    • A friend of mine has taken a job which is about half the pay of his last job, but he now can spend more time with his family.
    • Another friend left his family for a girlfriend he had twenty years back in Brazil and went to live there with her.
    • Your boss accepted a modification plan for your office based solely on the fact that it is cheaper to implement, regardless of how awesome your idea was.

    You may not agree with all this, and that’s okay. When you are a negotiator you need to follow the philosophy below.

    “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” -Aristotle

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    Killer negotiator

      Action Plan: Learn more than you teach.

      As a negotiator, you will face situations when the person on the other side differs with you.

      It’s not the time to teach; it’s the time to learn.

      Listen and be unbiased. Try to make sense of what the other person said.

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      Think:

      1. Perhaps there is a point in that idea!
      2. Maybe I can rethink my ways to accommodate these demands.
      3. I may have gotten it all wrong so I will consider this way.
      4. His idea seems bizarre to me, but let me find out how he came to it.

      If you consider the above, even though someone may differ with you, he or she will still agree that you are easy to work with and a great person.

      If you have a fight or an argument in your personal life hold back and think the above thoughts. They are all applicable! The moment you think of a situation from the other person’s point of view, you are instantly in a position to negotiate! Fight it solely with your logic, and you will lose that position. A negotiator hits the problem from the other side of the table!

      The way to fight resistance is not with resistance. The only way to disarm opponents is to understand their philosophy and figure out why they feel that way. You can counter the idea only when you truly understand it. That is the only way to be a master negotiator. Do not hit the person; hit the philosophy, and the person will agree with you.

      Featured photo credit: Free Images via freeimages.com

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      Published on March 20, 2019

      How to Write a Powerful Mission Statement for Your Business

      How to Write a Powerful Mission Statement for Your Business

      Have you ever felt lost in the minutia of your job?

      As a business owner, I can relate to getting bogged down in the day to day operations of my business. Things like inventory, payroll, scheduling, purchasing and employee management take up the bulk of my day.

      While these things are important and need to get done, focusing too much on the details can make you lose sight of the big picture. This is why having a good mission statement comes in handy.

      What is a Mission Statement?

      Put simply, a mission statement is an internal document that provides a clear purpose for the organization. It provides a common reference point for everyone in the organization to start from.

      In other words, after reading your company’s mission statement, managers and employees should be able to answer the question “What are company’s main objectives?” For example, Southwest Airlines mission statement reads:[1]

      “Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit. We are committed to provide our Employees a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth.”

      In this single statement, Southwest conveys the company’s goals of providing the highest level of customer service as well as providing a good working environment for their employees.

      Mission Statement VS. Vision Statement

      While the mission and vision statements are related, there are subtle but distinct differences the you should be aware of.

      First of all, a mission statement is designed primarily as an internal company document. It provides clarity and direction for managers and employees.

      While there’s nothing wrong with sharing your company’s mission statement with the outside world, its intended audience is within the company.

      While a mission statement provides a general framework for the organization, the vision statement is usually a more inspirational statement designed to motivate employees and inspire customers. Going back to Southwest Airlines, their vision statement reads:[2]

      “To become the world’s most loved, most flown, and most profitable airline.”

      This statement inspires good feeling from the customer while motivating the employees to achieve that vision.

      What Does a Good Mission Statement Look Like?

      When coming up with a mission statement, it’s important to take your time and do it right. Too often, people (especially entrepreneurs) just write down the first thing that comes to mind and they end up with worthless or (worse yet) a generic mission statement that is utterly useless.

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      Remember, a mission statement should provide a common framework for everyone in your organization.

      When writing a mission statement, you should always try to incorporate the following;

      • What we do?
      • How we do it?
      • Whom do we do it for?
      • What value are we bringing?

      Now, you can see how tempting it is to just come up with something generic that ticks off those four boxes. Something like “We provide the best widgets available online for the consumer.”

      After all, that did check off all the boxes:

      What we do? Provide widgets.

      How we do it? Online.

      Who do we do it for? The consumer.

      What value we bring? The best widgets.

      The problem with this mission statement is that it could apply to any number of companies producing the same widget. There is nothing to distinguish your company or its widgets from any of your competitors widgets.

      Compare that mission statement to this one:

      “We provide the highest quality widgets directly to the consumer at an affordable price backed up with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If our clients aren’t 100% satisfied, we’ll make it right.”

      What’s the difference?

      Both mission statements answer all the same questions of what, how, whom and value. But in the second statement, they are differentiating their company from all other competitors by answering the question “what makes us unique”.

      Another way to read that is, “Why you should buy from us.” In this example, it’s because our widgets are of the highest quality and we stand behind them 100%.

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      You might have noticed the statement didn’t say that we sell widgets at the lowest possible price. That’s because we are emphasizing quality and satisfaction over price.

      A different company’s mission statement may emphasize selling widgets at the lowest possible price with little to no mention of a guarantee.

      Hallmarks of a Good Mission Statement

      1. Keep It Brief

      Your mission statement should be no longer than three sentences. This is not your company’s magnum opus.

      You should be able to distill the what, how, who and why questions into a succinct message.

      2. Have a Purpose

      A company’s missions statement should include the reason it even exists.

      Make clear exactly what the company does with statements like “We strive to provide our customers with …….”

      3. Include a “How”

      Take this as an opportunity to differentiate your company from its competitors.

      How do you provide a product or service that’s different or better than how your competitor provides it?

      4. Talk About the Value You Bring to the Table

      This is where you can really set yourself apart from the competition. This is the “why” customers should buy from you.

      Do you offer the lowest prices? Fastest delivery? Exceptional customer service? Whatever it is that sets you apart and gives your particular products, services or company an advantage talk about it in the mission statement.

      5. Make Sure It’s Plausible

      It’s okay to shoot for the stars just to settle for the moon, but not in a mission statement.

      Being overly ambitious will only set you and your employees up for failure, hurt morale and make you lose credibility. You will also scare away potential investors if they think that you are not being realistic in your mission statement.

      6. Make It Unique and Distinctive

      Imagine if someone who knew nothing about your business walked in and saw how it was operating, then they read your mission statement. Would they be able to recognize that mission statement was attached to that business? If not re-work it.

      7. Think Long Term

      A mission statement should be narrow enough so that it provides a common framework for the existing business, but open enough to allow for longer term goals. It should be able to grow as the business grows.

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      8. Get Feedback

      This is very important, especially from managers and employees.

      Getting their input can clarify how they currently see the company and their role within the organization. It’s also a good way to get people “on-board,” as studies show that people are more likely to go along with an idea if they feel included in the decision making process beforehand.

      9. Review Often and Revise as Necessary

      You should review the missions statement often for two reasons.

      First, as a reminder of what the essence of the company is. It’s easy to forget when you are in the day to day grind of the business.

      And two, to make sure that the mission statement is still relevant. Things change, and not everything can be anticipated at the time a mission statement was written.

      For example, if a mission statement was written before the advent of the internet, a company that use to sell things door to door now probably has a website that people order from. You should always update the mission statement to reflect these changes.

      The Value of Mission Statements: Why Go Through All of These in the First Place?

      It may seem like a lot of work just for a few sentences that describe a company, but the value of a well written mission statement should not be discounted.

      First of all, if you are an entrepreneur, crystallizing the what, how, whom and value questions will keep you focused on the core business and its values.

      If you are a manager or other employee, knowing the company’s basic tenants will help inform your interactions with both customers and colleagues alike.

      Strategic Planning

      A relevant mission statement acts as a framework for strategic planning. It provides guidance and parameters for making strategic decisions for the future of the company.

      Measuring Performance

      By having the company’s mission in a concrete form, it also allows for an objective measurement of how well the organization is meeting its stated goals at any one time.

      Management can identify strengths and weaknesses in the organization based on the criteria set forth in the mission statement and make decisions accordingly.

      Solidifying the Company’s Goals and Values for Employees

      Part of a well run organization is nurturing happy and productive employees.

      As humans, we all have an innate need for both purpose and to be part of something larger than ourselves. Providing employees with a clearly defined mission statement helps to define their role in the larger organization. Thus, fulfilling both of these needs.

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      Now I’m not saying that a mission statement can overcome low pay and poor working conditions, but with everything else being equal, it can contribute to a happier and more productive workforce.

      To Hold Management Accountable

      By creating a mission statement, a company is publicly stating its highest values and goals for the world to see. By doing so, you are inviting both the public and your employees to to scrutinize how well the company lives up to its ideals.

      So if you state that you only provide the highest quality products, and then offer something less, it’s fair for both the public and the employees to question, and even call for a change in management.

      If management doesn’t take the mission statement seriously, no one else will either; and the legitimate authority that management rely’s on will be diminished.

      To Serve as an Example

      This is the opposite side of the coin from the previous statement. If the highest levels of management are seen taking the mission statement seriously and actively managing within the framework of the statement, that attitude filters down throughout the organization.

      After all, a good employee knows what’s important to their boss and will take the steps necessary to curry favor with them.

      Finally, use the company’s mission statement as a way to define roles within the company. You can do this by giving each division in the company a copy of the mission statement and challenge the head of each division to create a mission statement for their respective departments.

      Their individual mission statements should focus on how each department fits in and ultimately contributes to the success of the company’s overall mission statement. This serves as both a clarifying and a team building exercise for all parts of the organization.

      Final Thoughts

      Developing a mission statement is too often just an after-thought, especially for entrepreneurs. We tend to prioritize things that we perceive will give us the biggest “bang for our buck.”

      Somehow, taking the time and effort to sit down and think seriously about the what, whom, how and value of our business seems like a waste of time. After all, we got in the business to make money and become successful, isn’t that all we need to know?

      That mindset will probably get you started okay, but if you find yourself having any success at all, you’ll find that there really is such a thing as growing pains.

      By putting in the time and effort to create a mission statement, you are laying the groundwork that will give you a path to follow in your growth. And isn’t building long term success what we are really after?

      More Resources About Achieving Business Success

      Featured photo credit: Fab Lentz via unsplash.com

      Reference

      [1] Southwest Airlines: About Page
      [2] Fit Small Business: 10 Vision Statement Examples To Spark Your Imagination

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