When Steven Covey spoke of seeking a Win-Win solution, did he mention compromising on principals? No, he spoke about showing your adversary how we both benefit by implementing a solution.
If you are certain that a RED solution is the right one, and you are negotiating with someone that firmly believes that a BLUE solution is the best, one of you has to admit they are wrong. Compromising to a PURPLE product or answer only reduces the quality of the finished product – neither you nor the other person is truly happy.
Ricky Gervais, comedian and creator of the hit television show, “The Office” made a profound statement during an interview I heard not so long ago. He stated that he would rather throw an idea out that he and his creative partner didn’t agree on 100% than to put something into the program that is less than perfect. By putting something together that is less than perfect, he was doing himself and the audience a disservice.
Before you all start shouting that you need to negotiate or compromise for us to do our jobs, I don’t disagree. But the point of this statement goes beyond this. He went on to say that if every part of each show is 100% agreed upon between him and his partner, he knows for sure that it is a great show. He knows for sure that if the joke they both agreed was funny makes the show, more than likely the audience will too.
Identify Your Key Values
Your body of work that you want to promote and negotiate with your strategic partner should include the things you both believe are perfect. You need to begin the process of negotiations by identifying what is truly a throw away, and what is truly a principle. You never compromise on principles; it reduces the value of the deal substantially, and also reduces your own credibility.
For those of you that have seen the Gambler with John Goodman and Mark Wahlberg, you will remember this phrase very well. We are all trying to get to that FU place in our lives, career, relationships, or wherever. That place is the place you are truly willing to walk away from.
In business we strive for leverage with our customers. In those relationships with customers, there comes a time (or a hundred), where you begin to ask whether they need you, or do you need them? And, if you don’t really need them, then it’s time to cut ties.
I’ve written before about “firing a customer”. This is very similar to that. It’s the question you need to ask yourself before you sit down and negotiate a contract. I am not talking about walking away from the entire relationship at this point. Let’s focus only on your key points. Your non-negotiables, your walk-a-ways, and the things you cannot afford to compromise on.
Having trouble in a negotiation with a client? Internal? External? Give us a call and let’s work this out. Identifying your key values once, can save you millions in the future!