This post is part of our Weekly Tips series.
You may know the parable about two monkeys and one banana that vividly illustrates the way negotiations usually play out. Being monkeys, they both want the banana. They struggle briefly and the banana gets ripped in two. One proceeds to peel his half of the banana and eat the skin, while the other throws away the peel and just eats the meat inside.
While we all like to think of ourselves as higher-order beings, the fact is we often approach negotiations as a struggle to get our fair share, ending up with a mere portion of what we could have had if we simply stopped grabbing and negotiated with trust. This is true whether we’re negotiating a deal worth millions or a new job assignment.
Negotiating differently starts by recognizing our own monkey-like mindsets and habits. Use the scale below to assign points for each of 10 negotiations pitfalls. See how many you get trapped by. Be really honest.
|1 – Never||2 – Rarely||Occasionally/ Sometimes||4 – Often||5 – Always|
Add your total points and see how you made out. Think golf not bowling: you want the lowest score possible. If you got a lot of 1’s and 2’s, congratulations; you’re probably in pretty good shape. If you scored 3 or higher on any question, consider pausing to revisit your mindset and approach. (Full disclosure: #4 is one of my downfalls.)
Remember, even if you’re generally successful at focusing on “win-win” solutions, there are many other impediments to trust-based negotiations. It’s the subtle aspects of it that can lead to mediocrity.
I know I’m not interested in settling for mediocrity and I bet you aren’t, either.
This week, choose a pitfall that got a low score and see if you can catch yourself in the act—at work, at home, in life. That’s it—just catch yourself. As they say, the first step is to admit you have a problem.
Read more about negotiations and the short-term performance trap, from our friends at Trusted Advisor Associates, or brush up on how the trust principles apply to negotiations in Chapter 26 of The Trusted Advisor Fieldbook.