In a recent training class, one of our exercises was to pair up people from the same department in similar job functions and have each person share a challenging situation they were facing at work. The other person’s role was to listen, ask questions, and offer any additional insight.
While the New England Blizzard of 2015 rages on in my backyard, I came to the conclusion that preparation is truly the key to being able to weather any storm. While I pondered this, I recognized the analogy to our work lives and what we could learn to enhance our ability to weather “storms” at the office.
With mid-term elections finally concluding perhaps we can all get a little peace – fewer flyers in our mailbox, visitors ringing the doorbell, disruptive ads on television, and so on. (Although that’s all being quickly replaced by holiday shopping promotions!)
The democratic process is absolutely critical as is our right to free speech. What I would like to imagine is that if we have to endure a prolonged period of debate, let’s at least have the discussion be substantive so that we can actually have a prayer of understanding the interests of the represented sides.
Imagine you’re in sales leadership and you’re in discussions with a training and consulting firm to provide much-needed skill development to improve individual, team and, most importantly, corporate performance. The discovery process is going well and there’s strong alignment between training objectives and Sales vision. And then suddenly the quarter comes to a close, sales are down, and funding for this (and other) training initiatives is suspended.
When you’re involved in a discussion aimed at reaching an agreement with someone there are a multitude of factors that can affect the process and outcome. One of the more significant variables is relationship. In the midst of ongoing discussion - negotiating a contract, persuading someone to share your perspective, offering feedback, resolving a conflict – the status of your relationship with the other party can swing the pendulum dramatically.
Assuming you agree that time is valuable, ask yourself these questions:
The host of a program on NPR recently asked the guest that common, conversation-starting question, "If you could have lunch/dinner with 3 famous people dead or alive, who would they be?" Maybe I'm influenced by the time of year and the recent commemoration, but when I ask myself who one would be, I think of Martin Luther King, Jr., humanitarian, and leader of the civil rights movement.
Two summer articles in The Boston Globe focused on the ongoing competition between Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts and their mutual desire for aggressive marketing regionally, nationally and internationally. This prompted me to consider, if you are in sales and you represent a dominant brand in constant competition with another popular brand, how do you begin to win market share from the other company?
Using our best negotiation practices, here are a few ideas that we have seen work.