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What You'll Learn In Today's Episode

  • Preparation is vital. Things like stakeholder mapping—and how other people may impact the outcome—are extremely important to learn ASAP.
  • Avoid selfishness. In Negotiations, creative problem-solving requires addressing both parties’ concerns. There’s no way around this.
  • Be tough on problems; not people. Instead of working against a counterpart, figure out how to create value for them. That, in turn, will yield value for you.
  • When in doubt, follow the Framework. Almost any task or challenge can be broken down into preparation, execution, and evaluation.

Executive Summary:

Welcome back to the NEGOTIATEx podcast (and happy Veterans Day)! Nolan is sharing how training to become a better negotiator changed him, both personally and professionally. It’s a rare glimpse behind the curtain, so to speak.

Very Raw Talent

Nolan Martin wasn’t a walking disaster before studying Negotiations. However, he might have been described as a diamond in the rough.

In his own words, he relied heavily on an it-will-buff-out approach. When he had a school quiz, meeting, or interview, he would wing it. Preparation was almost a four-letter word.

There’s much more to successful negotiations than getting ready beforehand. Nevertheless, this was one of multiple areas he would be forced to reconsider.

He’d enjoyed his training, whenever it involved running around outside, but he’d never taken the academic side of things as seriously.

Interacting with teachers and professors had largely boiled down to a battle of wills (and unfavorable outcomes)… until he took Aram Donigian’s class on Negotiations for leaders.

That’s when Nolan’s trustiest tactics hit a brick wall.

If you haven’t guessed already, his whole paradigm was about to flip.

The Sea Change Starts

When in doubt, follow the Framework. Almost any task or challenge can be broken down into preparation, execution, and evaluation.

This, in itself, may have been Nolan’s first Negotiations lesson: You can’t achieve much by insisting on everything 100% your way.

Consequently, a whole new chapter in his academic life began. Its first subheading was “Preparation.”

Cadet Nolan Martin was familiar with the military’s Operations Order process. Regardless, as he hit the books, he found himself gaining a new understanding of the key decision-makers involved.

Stakeholder mapping—and how other people may impact the outcome—is extremely important to identify early. That’s why NEGOTIATEx has a downloadable Prep Tool that walks you through the process.

Discovering Creative Analysis

The next step, Nolan discovered, is understanding the problem. This has to be done, beforehand in order to approach it creatively.

In Negotiations, creative problem-solving requires addressing both parties’ concerns. There’s no way around this.

Consequently, Nolan’s old push-until-you-get-your-way approach was retired. He began learning from Aram to “be tough on the problem, not on the person.”

It turns out that the path to point C is not always through A and B. In fact, sometimes there is a D and an E that no one’s thought of.

So, instead of working against your counterpart, it pays to figure out how to collaborate with them. Creating value for them, in turn, creates value (often in the form of positive results) for yourself.

Last but not least, Nolan learned to train subordinates’ conceptual skills. Before his own Negotiations training and study, this would have been unthinkable.

However, armed with his new insights, he could follow the Framework. Almost any task can be broken into preparation, execution, and evaluation.

Simply by being deliberate through each of these steps, creatively training subordinates became—not just doable but—easier than ever before.

As a matter of fact, Negotiations training for subordinate leaders is a win-win. It means equipping them to be better prepared, tougher on problems (rather than people), and better leaders in general.

Key Takeaways

  • Invest time in training your team to become better negotiators.This saves time in the long run because they can think about the impacts of problem-solving for you.
  • Leave us a review wherever you listen to this podcast (please). We are growing with every episode, but your input can help us do more. If you’re receiving value, we’d appreciate it.

Nolan has more on how Negotiations training changed his outlook, life, and professional tactics in today’s NEGOTIATEx podcast. Questions and episode suggestions to team@negotiatex.com are always welcome.

Your time’s important to us. Thanks for listening!


Welcome to the NEGOTIATEx Podcast.

I am your co-host, Nolan Martin, and with me today as usual is Aram---whoa, sorry.

Actually, Aram is not joining us today.

We wanted to change it up today and I wanted to share how learning negotiations impacted my career and life.

The goal of this episode is to hopefully demonstrate what your employees and junior leaders could walk away with if you decided to invest in negotiations training.

But before we dive into the episode, I quickly wanted to say thank you to all the veterans. This episode will be released on Veteran’s Day and I’d like to say that I greatly appreciate your service.

For our young veterans, the past 10+ years has been full of excitement and sorrow that both Aram and I have experienced. So, from both of us, thank you for your service.

When Aram and I launched NEGOTIATEx, the goal was to provide leaders with the fundamentals to understand how to engage in a deliberate negotiation.

See, we have several different negotiations daily—from persuading a boss to pay for you to attend a professional conference to convincing your wife to not watch another episode of 90 Day Fiancée—we go through life having daily conversations where you hope to achieve your desired result.

I truly believe that what I learned in taking Aram’s negotiation course over 11 years ago taught me is how to place an emphasis on preparation, how to approach a problem, and how to train others.

See—before I took this course—I was infamous for the “it will buff out approach.” If I was going into a meeting, quiz, interview, or anything like this, I figured it would all work itself out.

I never placed any emphasis on preparation and I was awful when it came time to do any studying for a test.

When I encountered a negotiation—maybe asking a professor for an extension on an assignment or maybe convince my peers of a path we should take on a group assignment—I figured it was a battle of wills to see who could bug everyone the most to get their way. This may have worked with my peers but I don’t think it ever worked with any of my professors—Aram included.

And, when it came to training—if it had to do with any conceptual training—as in anything that didn’t require running around the woods, then I’m sure I failed at training my subordinates because I didn’t quite understand the structure of teaching something.

So, when it comes to how the negotiations for leaders course impacted my life and career over the past 11 years, I think this course:

1.Taught me to place an emphasis on preparation.

2.Taught me how to understand a problem and approach it creatively.

3.How to train my subordinates and junior leaders on a conceptual skill.

Number One – placing an emphasis on preparation. When you use our NEGOTIATEx Prep Tool and work through the 7 Elements Prep worksheet, you really start to understand how to take a deliberate approach to preparation. For those of you who have not received this free tool, head to negotiatex.com and you will see the sign up for the prep tool sign on the home page.

Now, the military does a great job in preparing with their Operations Order process—but, I think I learned how to truly prepare by understanding all of the key decision makers that are involved.

For instance, I use to plan pretty elaborate training exercises with an added degree of risk. To help shape my boss’ decision, I would make sure that I engaged the staff first to figure out how we could make it work.

I’d be sure to think about what his boss would think if he supported or denied this training opportunity—and how could we already address the concerns from both him and his boss before we even spoke about what we were trying to do.

Understanding how to do stakeholder mapping and how other people may have an impact on the outcome is extremely important to identify during the preparation process.

Number two—how to understand a problem and approach it creatively. Be tough on the problem, not on the person is something that I still remember from 11 years ago.

This has served me well more than a number of times because as I mentioned earlier—I use to treat problems as a battle of wills… whoever wants it bad enough will hold their ground until the other person gives in.

Since taking negotiations, I now understand that you can creatively solve issues that address both parties concerns. The path to get to C is not always through A and B—and there is likely a D and an E that you haven’t even though of. So—instead of working against your counterpart—figure out how to work with your counterpart to create even more value.

Number three – How to train my subordinates on a conceptual skill. Many people may argue that leadership is a trait that you are either born with or you aren’t. Both Aram and I are very adamant that leadership is a skill that can be developed—and luckily negotiations is as well.

Before taking negotiations, it would have been nearly impossible for me to creatively train a conceptual skill to my subordinates. Like I said earlier, if it didn’t involve running in the woods or closing the distance on the enemy—then I don’t think I could really make an impact on my subordinates. But negotiations is a framework—preparation, execution, evaluation. By being deliberate through each of the steps, you can creatively train your subordinates how to become a better negotiator or problem-solver.

For you leaders out there—I firmly believe that training your subordinate leaders on how to become deliberate negotiators—you are equipping them with the skills to become better prepared, be tough on problems and not people, and to become better leaders which will hopefully bleed into training other standard operating procedures.

This is a podcast that is all about delivering value to your organization, business, and life by elevating your influence through purposeful negotiations. So with that, here are a few key takeaways to help you become better negotiators and leaders from this episode.

Key Takeaway #1: Take the time to invest in your team for them to learn how to become a better negotiator. If they have similar takeaways like me—they are going to save you time because they are going to start thinking about the impacts of problem-solving levels above you. They are going to understand how to be tough on problems and they are going to understand how to be leaders and train their subordinates on the skills you learn in the training. You are investing in leader development and it will pay dividends in the long run.

Key Takeaway #2: leave us a review wherever you listen to this podcast. We are growing with every episode and more and more negotiators and leaders are listening to each episode. We both sincerely thank you and couldn’t be more thankful.

That is all for us on today’s podcast. We hope you enjoyed it. If you have any questions or want us to cover a specific topic, shoot us an email at team@negotiatex.com and we will try to cover it in future episodes. We will see you in the next episode!

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