Negotiating for Personal Purposes (Kolb)

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Negotiating for Personal Purposes (Kolb)
Eugene James, Manager, Switzerland

A major distinction can be made between a negotiation on behalf of an organization and one for personal purposes. Managers are normally confident in negotiating for their company.
However according to Kolb, they often tend to neglect opportunities for informal, personal negotiations that arise during such formal negotiations. As a result, managers generally don't recognize and seize chances that might benefit them personally in such situations.
The reason for this inertia stems from a sense of unease that arises due to the personal stake at hand. Managers also struggle to pitch their idea in the first place. In some collective cultures, quests for self-interest may even appear selfish and as a lack of team spirit. However Kolb contends that managers stand much to lose in failing to negotiate in their self interest such as missed opportunities for career success and fulfillment and even positive organizational change.

Besides this, Kolb also proposes the following steps to conduct a personal negotiation:
  1. RECOGNIZE THE OPPORTUNITY: when more is demanded from an individual, an opportunity is created to demand more in return. However, it is important to keep a balance between one's obligations and one's possible personal benefits sought.
  2. PREPARE THE GROUND: it is important to prepare any negotiation. This can be done by researching common practices within the organization and the profile of the negotiating counterpart. Identify the counterpart's key strengths and best alternative to negotiated agreement (BATNA). Furthermore, adopt an integrative mindset and create solutions that are mutually beneficial.
  3. INITIATE THE PROCESS: sometimes it is important to start presenting your value for the other party, by elaborating on your achievements. Find allies who recognize and vouch for your value. Address the counterpart's concerns before the counterpart is starting to discuss their problems often facilitates the converrsation about those concenrs.
  4. NAVIGATE THROUGH THE NEGOTIATION: conceive scenarios through "hypothesis testing"; questions to propose solutions. Formulate trade-offs in the bargain. And pose circular questions that address key issues while seeking for new elements.
Source: Deborah Kolb, "Be your own Best Advocate", Harvard Business Review, November 2015.

A Form of Getting to Yes
Gary Wong, Consultant, Canada
I found Kolb's HBR article to be similar to Fisher & Ury's messages in their book Getting to Yes: Negotiating Without Giving In. In fact, the article does say BATNA is from their book.

Those who are familiar with the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People know that Habits 5 & 6 are based on the Getting to Yes approach. However, there are differences from what Kolb proposes. While preparation for any negotiation is important, profiling the negotiating counterpart can inadvertently close one's mind. Because your cognitive biases will distort your thinking, you can fail to "Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood". You must first listen with empathy and that requires keeping the mind open.

In Habit 6, we treat trade-offs as a weak form of Win-Win. In some cases, it could be a Lose-Lose with the only mutual gain being deferral until the next negotiating period. I advocate Win-Win or No Deal because there may not be a next negotiating period, especially if it's a personal negotiation.

Self-esteem Can Be a Barrier to Effective Negotiation
David Vachell, Consultant, United Kingdom
Frequently, our own perception of our worth can be a barrier to effective negotiation. It is well documented that women frequently have a more negative perception of their own worth than men but this masks some of the deeper issues. We are typically not good at developing a well grounded self perception. To do this requires a good deal of introspection tempered with the ability to receive feedback and process that with an open yet discerning mind.
Coaching can be a particularly valuable method for developing this.

Negotiation is About Goals
MUDUKULA MUKUBI, Business Consultant, Zambia
Agreed, the process of negotiation is immensely shaped by the personal characteristics of the negotiating parties. And preparation involving prior research on the attributes (including BATNA) of the 'antagonist' party is essential.
Much depends, I believe, on the subject matter - the bone of contention - and the GOAL each party seeks. Hard-line positions, for instance, could be as much a function of one's perception of self-worth as it could be of the perceived necessity for the preservation or change in order of the subject matter.
Developing one's ability to maintain focus and defend the organisation's (even personal) values while maintaining cordiality and seeking a 'fair share' for the antagonist party is key to success.

It's Doing it that is the Hard Part
jorge anibal hoyos hoyos, Manager, Colombia
I think when a win-win option exist, to phone-it-in is enough to agree upon. But when that is not the case we need to create a negotiators team with focused ability and down-to-earth arguments, targets and targeted people.
It must be considered then that you are the counterpart of your counterpart and you need to think of the most forceful and incisive arguments.
So to actually apply the 4 points as mentioned I think it is worthy of an artist rather than a scientist.


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