Negotiating for Personal Purposes (Kolb)

Negotiating and Bargaining
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Eugene James
Manager, Switzerland

Negotiating for Personal Purposes (Kolb)

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.

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