By John Baldoni
Compromise is essential to the negotiation process. Here are some ways to implement it:
Think “outcome.” When parties enter into negotiation, they seek the best for their side. This is natural but it overlooks the needs of the other side. When negotiations become stalled, it is prudent to consider alternate viewpoints. A good way to do this is to consider what both sides want.
Find common ground. Knowing the outcome gives negotiators a starting point for what they wish to achieve. From there it becomes a process of negotiation, generally moving toward the middle. This may involve both sides giving up something to get something in return. Shared sacrifice is important; there has to be some “shared pain” so that both sides have a vested stake not only in the outcome but also in the process.
Celebrate the union. Too many negotiations can end up as “winner take all” games; that is, the winner gets everything. That may work for one-time transactions, like buying or selling a case, but it is not sustainable within an organization. You want to leave the other side with something, if only a sense of respect.
Compromise, on the whole, is a positive. And although we have dissected it as a process, there is more art to it than science. The art comes from creative thinking about ways to persuade the other side. It also comes from seek to read the intentions of adversaries and turn them into allies.
Excerpted, with permission of the publisher, from The Leader's Pocket Guide: 101 Indispensable Tools, Tips, and Techniques for any Situation by John Baldoni. Copyright 2013, John Baldoni. Published by AMACOM.