Negotiation 101: Getting Where You Want To Be


In the business world, You’ll never get what you deserve, you’ll get what you negotiate. As Newsweek once said:

“Negotiation is the game of life.”

We all negotiate. We negotiate in our personal relationships. We negotiate with our bosses. We negotiate with clients. And especially ourselves. This paper by Russell Korobkin, a professor of law at UCLA, basically says that when deciding whether to accept or reject something, a negotiator performs two cognitive tasks. Firstly, there must be an evaluation of the available options for their apparent fairness, a task we can call judgement. Second, there must be a determination which option is preferred, a task we can label choice.

In addition to this knowledge, in order to be a successful negotiator,  and get what you want, one must understand and implement the following 5 concepts:

What you really want.

What your opponent really wants.

What can you leverage.

Uncover needs/desires.

Benefit Ratio- aka  will it be a win-win, win-lose, lose-lose scenario.

Negotiation is a critical skill in order to be successful. During the last few weeks I applied for a new role within my company, in a different division. This role could have meant a fast track to management and the autonomy to manage a business: neither of which I felt  I was getting from my current role. I fulfilled the HR requirements for my tenure in my current department and I would work for someone who I really enjoyed working for in the past. However, the application was not supported by my current management team. I was being pulled by both sides, which at first appeared as a compliment, but as things developed I started to realize that this decision could have had huge consequences on my future in the organization. I needed to tactically navigate the situation to satisfy my desires and the needs of the business.

Hence, I negotiated. I was very honest upfront, I explained how this opportunity could not only fast track my career, but be great for the division, for my career goals and also benefit my family due to a potential increase in salary.

I set out my career goals and objectives and left the door open for them to see how they could be fulfilled in my current role.

As simple as this sounds, it was anything but. Emotions were high and thankfully, God helped me stay calm and diplomatic the entire time. After hearing what senior management had to say, I realized that they wanted to keep me so badly that I had some leverage. Yes, the division had paid  to relocate us from the UK to the USA, but it was more than that. It became apparent they really need and want my skill set. So much so, that I was able to negotiate my current role and job title. A beneficial change for both the business and myself. Unfortunately, I gave up a potentially amazing position. But, I feel like I was able to prove my worth to my employers and get my career better aligned with my future goals.

What did I learn? That negotiation is not only a key life skill, but a tactical and interpersonal activity that requires an understanding of the human psyche. Also, that negotiation is vital to your career’s success.

After all, if you don’t build your dreams, someone else will hire you to build theirs. What do you think? Do you have any examples of successful negotiations in your life? I’d love to hear from you.



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