The ‘yes’ that may lead you to a mess

Sep 16 2013, 01:52 IST
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SummaryManagement students must remember that trying to close a deal quickly may help them get a ‘yes’ from the other party but it can never inspire others to sincerely carry out those agreements where both the parties need to work together

Negotiation is the art of war. Right? Wrong. That is fighting. Negotiation is about outwinning and outsmarting your opponent. Right? Wrong. That is deceit. Negotiation is about talking fast. Right? Wrong. That is simply speaking that no one understands. Negotiation is about knowing the weakness of your opponent. Right? Wrong. That is a sting operation. Negotiation is about creating a relationship. Right? Right. Negotiation is connecting with another person, coming up with a solution, and resolving differences to satisfy the needs of both the parties. That is why making another person say yes to your request is not, and should not be, your goal. Signed contract is not an end in itself. In many cases like an outsourcing deal, mergers and strategic alliances, agreement between union and management, contract with a supplier etc, a signed contract is only the beginning. Everyday people negotiate all kinds of deals. They are wholly and completely engrossed on getting the deal done by whatever means possible. And when they do so, they proclaim victory and celebrate. Ask yourself—should they rejoice? Recall the feeling of victory you had on a number of occasions when you could get a yes from the other party in a difficult situation. Recall the feeling of frustration you had when the other party refused to cooperate or withdrew his whole-hearted support to make the deal work. You know that you were the loser.

Roger Fisher and William L Ury in their best-selling non-fiction book ‘Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In’ stated that the success of an agreement should be judged by three criteria—it should produce a wise agreement if agreement is possible; it should be efficient; it should improve or at least not damage the relationship between the parties.

Deceptive behaviour, aggression, use of force and power, tactfully making someone not a party to negotiation who makes you feel uncomfortable by asking difficult questions, trying to close the deal as quickly as possible etc, may help you getting a yes from the other party but it can never inspire others to sincerely and faithfully carry out those agreements where both the parties need to work together for the success of the deal. This kind of behaviour never allows you to have a benefit of doubt from the other party when problems arise, or to speak good about you, or to do business with you again should circumstances warrant so. If

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