Test your Negotiating IQ
you want a promotion, a new computer system, a vacation during a
very busy month, or a company-paid MBA, do you:
Eagerly anticipate the
Screw your courage to the
sticking point and go for it?
Avoid broaching the issue and
hope it will eventually take care of itself?
Negotiating provokes a variety of intense responses from those who
claim to swim with the sharks, admit a resemblance to Casper
Milquetoast or fall in the muddling middle. While opinions on the
subject are mixed, people are rarely nonchalant about it.
Below is a quick quiz that will test your savvy on how to get what
you want on the job. Choose true or false for each of the
questions, then read the answers to see how you fared. Don't be too
hard on yourself if you don't get them all correct: the subject of
negotiating is fraught with misconceptions perpetuated by a culture
that still agrees with Vince Lombardi’s famous tag line, " Winning
isn't everything, it's the only thing."
T or F
1. Most professionals
cringe at the thought of asking for more responsibility,
staff, a raise, or a transfer.
T or F
2. The best negotiating
strategy is "winner take all."
T or F
3. Negotiating is a
process, not an event.
4. Your performance
appraisal should contain no surprises.
T or F
5. When asking your
manager for more responsibility, the most important you must
tell him is why you deserve it.
1. Most professionals cringe at the thought of asking for more
responsibility, staff, a raise, or a transfer. True
Negotiating doesn't come naturally for many of us. If we loved to
"put on our tradin' pants," we would flock to car dealerships in
eager anticipation of getting a great deal. When was the last time
you looked forward to bargaining with a salesman? There’s a good
reason why the percent of buyers purchasing vehicles via the
internet continues to climb.
Along with our reticence to negotiate, most of us lack a basic
understanding of how to do it. After all, it wasn't part of our
mandatory school or college curriculum, was it? Throw in a natural
distaste for conflict and a catastrophic expectation (The worst is
sure to happen.) and we have the prime ingredients for a serious
case of avoidance behavior.
2. The best negotiating strategy is "winner take all." False
"take no prisoners" negotiating approach is still practiced by
autocrats in third world countries, but it has little relevance in
the team-oriented organizations of the 21st century.
Aside from being primitive and self-centered, an I-win-you-lose
strategy has a very short-term payoff. This technique may work for
car salesmen who never expect to see their customers again, but it's
not viable for professionals who plan to nurture and maintain
long-term relationships. Losers have long memories.
negotiators work to achieve a collaborative compromise where both
parties feel like winners. Mutual decisions that respect everyone's
position have a much better chance of producing positive results.
3. Negotiating is a process, not an event. True
most people think about negotiating, they picture two or more
individuals getting together to iron out their differences or plan a
course of action. Yet this scenario is only a part of an overall
process. Excellent negotiators understand that negotiating is based
upon frequent and honest communication, so the parties involved
always know where they stand. People don't like surprises unless
they're wrapped in pretty paper. When individuals work together to
determine goals, chart progress, put out fires, and share rewards,
they are actively engaging in an effective negotiation.
4. Your performance appraisal should contain no surprises. True
previously mentioned, a successful negotiating process requires lots
of communication. If your manager doesn't schedule regular meetings
with you to set goals, review progress, brainstorm ideas, compliment
good work, and suggest specific improvements, you must take the
initiative to solicit her feedback on at least a monthly basis. When
it's performance appraisal time, both you and she can take a few
minutes to discuss her already familiar written comments, then
concentrate your remaining time on talking about your career
development and goals for the future.
5. When asking your manager for more responsibility, the most
important thing is why you deserve it. False
Actually the most critical piece of information you give him is why
your having more responsibility will benefit him and the company.
While you should also be prepared to state why you can handle and
deserve higher-level work, your boss's greatest concern is the
impact of your request on his situation. Honor this need. Provide
him with the best ammunition for convincing his manager that your
request will benefit the company as well.