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Key Takeaways

  • Negotiators should be adept at balancing competition and cooperation, adapting their approach based on the situation and the other party’s stance. Knowing when to compete and when to cooperate is essential for negotiation success.
  • The strategic first move in a negotiation is crucial, as it sets expectations and can significantly influence the course of the negotiation. It’s essential to approach this step with careful planning and consideration.
  • Empathy and creativity in problem-solving are increasingly important in negotiation. Understanding and addressing the other party’s needs and perspectives while also being creative in finding solutions can lead to mutually satisfying outcomes.
  • Recognizing everyday interactions as negotiation opportunities is vital. John encourages individuals to adopt a negotiator mindset in various settings, which can lead to more strategic and thoughtful interactions.
  • Introverts and extroverts have distinct negotiation styles and can be effective negotiators. Introverts excel in attentive listening and careful observation, while extroverts are skilled at communication and building rapport.
  • Dealing with uncertainty in negotiation requires strategic thinking and avoiding overreliance on assumptions or intuition. Asking questions and seeking additional information can help develop a strategy to navigate uncertain situations.

Executive Summary

Hey folks, thanks for joining us on a brand new episode of the NEGOTIATEx podcast. We are privileged to host Dr. John Lowry on our show today. 

John is a renowned negotiation expert with a background as a lawyer, business leader, consultant, negotiation coach, and university administrator. He is the president of Thrivence, a management consulting firm in Nashville, and also leads the Lowry Group, offering negotiation training and coaching to various organizations. 

Additionally, John authored the book “Negotiation Made Simple,” published by HarperCollins in 2023, and hosts a podcast of the same name aimed at helping leaders improve their negotiation skills. 

Now, without further ado, let’s see what John shares in this episode.

John’s Journey: From Early Lessons In Negotiation To Professional Mastery

Nolan sets the tone for the conversation by asking John to share his journey in the field of negotiations. The latter recounts that his interest in negotiation began in his childhood in New Hampshire, where he was influenced by his father, who taught a course at Vermont Law School. He would assist his father with simulations and managing the class during negotiation exercises.

John’s professional interest in negotiation stemmed from his career in law. Initially, he aspired to be a “real lawyer,” differentiating from his father’s academic role. However, he soon realized that effective negotiation was key to getting things done in the legal field. This revelation led him to shift his focus towards helping others understand and master the negotiation process.

John’s Transformative Journey In Writing ‘Negotiation Made Simple’

Next, Aram and John discuss John’s book “Negotiation Made Simple.” John humorously debunks the notion that writing the book was a quick and easy process. Instead, he describes it as a long and transformative journey, which he believes offered lessons more valuable than those in the book itself.

John’s inspiration to write the book began around 2015-2016 during a negotiation course, where he met Don Miller, a New York Times bestselling author who encouraged him to write a book and offered help. However, John initially resisted, struggling to translate the interactive and experiential nature of his negotiation courses into a book format. He was challenged by making the content engaging and practical for readers without overcomplicating it.

A conversation with the publisher and insights from Barry O’Reilly, who helped him see the need to “unlearn” how to teach negotiation in a traditional setting and “relearn” how to convey it through a book, were pivotal. This process highlighted the importance of adaptability in communication methods while retaining core principles. 

Finally, John focused on simplifying negotiation for a broad audience, leading to a more fluid writing process. The experience taught him valuable lessons about flexibility and adaptation, which he considers essential for effective negotiators.

A Story Of Reconciliation From John’s ‘Negotiation Made Simple’ Book

In a similar vein, Aram and John discuss a story from John’s book “Negotiation Made Simple” that illustrates key concepts in negotiation. The story, which John heard in church and couldn’t trace back to its original version due to many variations, is about two neighboring farmers who fall out over a stray calf. Both farmers believe the calf belongs to them, leading to a rift in their long-standing friendship.

One farmer, seeking to further separate from his neighbor, hires a traveling carpenter to build a fence between their properties. However, upon understanding the underlying conflict, the carpenter decides to build a bridge over the creek, dividing the farms instead of the requested fence. 

This act of reconciliation surprises both farmers when they discover the bridge. The neighbor, interpreting the bridge as an olive branch, responds positively. Thus, it leads to the farmers crossing the bridge, rekindling their friendship, and achieving reconciliation.

John uses this story to emphasize the role of a negotiator as a facilitator of reconciliation and the importance of making bold choices that can lead to positive outcomes. He believes that the essence of negotiation is bringing people together and sometimes requires taking the process in an unexpected direction. 

Aram appreciates the story, relating it to his own experiences growing up and fixing fences, and agrees with its message about the goals of negotiation and fostering community.

The Five Key Principles Of Effective Negotiation

Moving on, John outlines the five key principles that make a great negotiator in his book “Negotiation Made Simple.” These principles are essential for anyone looking to improve their negotiation skills:

#1 Self-Management 

Great negotiators know how to manage themselves, including their fears, anxieties, egos, goals, and values. Recognizing the human element in negotiation is crucial, as negotiations always occur between people, whether they represent corporations, governments, or themselves. Effective self-management helps in making better decisions and avoiding mistakes.

#2 Balancing Competition And Cooperation 

Understanding when to compete and when to cooperate is vital. Negotiators must adapt their approach based on the situation and the other party’s stance. Competitive negotiators may need to cooperate in certain contexts, while naturally cooperative negotiators must recognize when to adopt a competitive stance, especially if the other party is solely focused on their win.

#3 Strategic First Move 

The first move in a negotiation is the most important due to the signals it sends, the expectations it sets, and the anchor it lays. A strategic first move can significantly influence the course of the negotiation, so it’s essential to approach this step with careful planning rather than a casual attitude.

#4 Empathy And Creativity In Problem Solving 

Although empathy is a relatively new concept in the field of negotiation, it’s crucial for understanding and addressing the other party’s needs and perspectives. Great negotiators use empathy and creativity to find solutions that satisfy all parties involved. The second half of John’s book focuses on empathy, supported by relevant research.

#5 Mutual Satisfaction 

Successful negotiators aim to satisfy everyone involved, not just themselves or their organization. By focusing on mutual satisfaction, negotiators create a win-win situation, increasing the likelihood of both parties achieving their goals and fostering long-term relationships.

John emphasizes that these five principles are key to becoming a more effective negotiator, and understanding them can significantly enhance one’s negotiation success.

Every Interaction As Negotiation: John’s Call To Embrace A Negotiator Mindset

After that, John discusses the significance of recognizing everyday interactions as opportunities for negotiation and the potential consequences of not embracing this perspective. He explains that a large portion of professional time is spent in a strategic communication process to make deals or solve problems, whether it’s through emails, phone calls, meetings, or Zoom calls. John says that research suggests that managers spend around 75% of their time in such activities.

On that note, he encourages people to re-identify themselves as professional negotiators, regardless of their official job titles. By doing so, they are more likely to approach interactions strategically rather than just going through the motions. This mindset shift is crucial because it enables individuals to recognize negotiation opportunities in various settings, not just in obvious situations like buying a car. As a result, they can act more strategically and thoughtfully in all interactions.

The failure to see oneself as a negotiator in internal organizational discussions can lead to missed opportunities, leaving value on the table and less effective solutions. John illustrates this point with an example of sales teams who negotiate effectively with clients but fail to negotiate adequately within their own companies to ensure the operational fulfillment of their promises. 

Thus, it shows the importance of paying attention to negotiations both externally with clients and internally within the organization. Recognizing and embracing the role of a professional negotiator in all aspects can lead to smarter management of processes and better outcomes.

Introverts And Extroverts: Harnessing Diverse Negotiation Styles For Success

Moving on, John addresses the negotiation styles and strengths of both introverts and extroverts, emphasizing that there is no ideal personality type for a negotiator. Each personality brings its unique skills and challenges to the negotiation table:

#1 Extroverts 

According to John, extroverts are generally comfortable with communication, quick on their feet, energized by opportunities to communicate, and socially adept at recognizing cues. These traits allow them to be creative and effective in connecting with people, making them capable of putting together good deals through their engaging communication style.

#2 Introverts 

Introverts, while different in approach, are equally effective in negotiations. Their strengths lie in their ability to listen attentively and observe carefully. Introverts are not focused on being the center of attention but rather on connecting and understanding others. Their reflective nature allows them to process information thoughtfully and present opportunities in a less flamboyant but equally impactful way.

Both introverts and extroverts can leverage their natural skills to become sophisticated and effective negotiators. Challenging assumptions about the ideal negotiator’s personality is critical for both personality types to recognize and utilize their strengths in negotiation contexts.

Strategic Thinking In Negotiations: Tackling Uncertainty And Bad Faith Tactics

As the conversation draws to a close, Arams seeks insights on dealing with bad-faith negotiators, regardless of whether one is an introvert or extrovert. John responds by highlighting that negotiation often involves making decisions with incomplete information. 

Even when negotiators think they have all the necessary information, there may still be uncertainty. He emphasizes the importance of strategic thinking in handling this uncertainty. Negotiators must be careful with their assumptions and avoid letting intuition lead them astray. 

John strongly recommends negotiators ask questions and seek additional information for decision-making instead of relying on assumptions or intuition, as it can help them develop a strategy to proceed despite the uncertainty.

When encountering negotiators acting in bad faith, John suggests directly addressing the issue. This involves identifying and calling out the behavior, which can sometimes expose or neutralize bad faith tactics. 

Sometimes, it may be necessary to pause the negotiation process to address the behavior or the underlying issues. John advises focusing on negotiating the process before delving into the substantive issues, as it allows negotiators to deal with bad-faith behavior effectively and decide whether to proceed with the negotiation or not.

Overall, John highlights the need for strategic thinking and critical assessment in dealing with uncertainty and bad faith in negotiations. Once negotiators become aware of these challenges and adopt appropriate strategies, they can navigate them more effectively.

Thank you for your time!

Transcript

Nolan Martin : Hello and welcome to the NEGOTIATEx podcast! I'm your Co- host, Co-founder Nolan Martin, and with me is Co-host, Co-founder, Aram Donigian. Aram, how are you doing today, sir?

Aram Donigian : Well, Nolan, I've got two complaints. One, I'm a little wet and cold because of the snow. And that leads me to my second complaint, which is so much about negotiation is about decision making. I think you may be the better negotiator because you made a better decision and after getting out of the military, you went south, I went north, and this wet white stuff is proven problematic. You don't have any of this down in Florida, do you?

NM : I don't, nope. Tampa is a brisk 55 degrees today, so….

AD : That's nice.

NM : Nothing like what you're going through.

AD : Well, at least I'll say this, since the last time we've recorded, Army beat Navy, so that's a good point. And we'll build in the new year off that, so that's a great place to be. Well, lemme go ahead and introduce our guest for today. Dr. John Lowry is a recognized authority on negotiation through his experience as a lawyer, business leader, consultant, negotiation coach and university administrator.

John serves as the president of Thrivence, a management consulting firm based in Nashville, Tennessee. In addition to leading the firm, John counsel's clients on leadership, executive team effectiveness, strategy, revenue growth and conflict management, John also serves as president of the Lowry Group where he provides negotiation, training and coaching for governmental entities, major insurance companies, healthcare organizations and other businesses. John is the author of Negotiation Made Simple, a new book released by Harper Collins Publishing in 2023. He is also the host of the Negotiation Made Simple podcast focused on helping leaders find their next level of success through negotiation. John, welcome to the program.

John Lowry : Thank you so much, Aram. I'm excited to be here. This is going to be a fun conversation.

NM : Well, John, could you share a bit about your journey in the field of negotiations? Were there any key moments or impactful influences that led you down the path becoming a negotiator?

John’s Early Life And Professional Career [2:43]

JL : Sure. Well, I think a lot of my negotiation journey started real close to where Aram lives up in New Hampshire, and I spent my childhood going to Vermont Law School in South Royalton, Vermont, where my father would teach a course at Vermont Law School and many times I would kind of pop into that course and help him with simulations and go get people back into class who are out doing a negotiation simulation. So literally, that's my roots in terms of thinking about negotiation.

But professionally, it really grew out of the practice of law. I wanted to be a real lawyer. I never thought my father was a real lawyer. He was a professor, and I was like, you don't go on the court, you just teach it. So I'd always give him a hard time. So I wanted to be a real lawyer and I had that opportunity to be a real lawyer and that was great fun. But then realized that really where it gets done is through the negotiation process and began to see that and after a number of years of practicing law ultimately left to go help people think through this process that I believe is the process that's used to really get things done.

AD : Well, I love the credit that you give to your father in your book. We're going to talk about your book in a moment. As I was sharing, I teach negotiation as well, and I thought about bringing my kids to class one to learn, and it's neat to hear the influence and impact that had on you. And then two, certainly nice to have an extra set of hands to go collect people up when they're supposed to be returning. Everybody drags their feet when they're supposed to return from a negotiation. It doesn't matter how much time you give them.

JL : That’s right. And it's always like, all right guys, it's time to come back. And then everyone's like, all right, we're going to go take a little break and then we'll be in there. And you're like, no, no, no, no. You were supposed to have done that already. Let's go.

AD : Well, John, I'd love to dive into your book a little bit, Negotiation Made Simple. As you were sharing with us before we started the recording. This was an easy process. You just whipped this book right out. This wasn't a long process at all.

The Transformative Journey Of Writing A Book On Negotiations [4:45]

JL : Yeah, I just sat down and it was like two hours later I had it all done and the editor was like, oh yeah, we're good. We don't need to do anything on it. But no, it really wasn't that journey. It was a long journey, but it was a journey that I actually, I tell people, I say, I think the lesson of writing the book may be more important than any lesson in the book. And so I'll tell that story real quick. I was teaching a negotiation course about 2015, 2016, somewhere, and there was a gentleman in the course by the name of Don Miller, who's become a great friend, and Don does a lot of work in the marketing space and helping small businesses and entrepreneurs.

Don took this course and he came up afterwards and he was like, this content is amazing. He's like, you really need to write a book. And I was like, yeah, I've been thinking about that. I really should do that. And he said, well, I'll be glad to help you. Now when you have a New York Times bestselling author offer to help you kind of write a book, you really should kind of jump on that, right?

AD : Absolutely.

JL : But not me. I'm too stubborn. And so I was like, all right, we'll get there. So Don, we kind of started talking about this book and all this kind of stuff, and what I was trying to do is I was trying to take our course, which is a very interactive course, lots of games, lots of exercises, lots of simulations, lots of case studies, and I was trying to figure out how you replicate that experience in a book. And Don kept telling me, you're making it too complicated. It's a book. Just make it really easy. Tell the people what they need to know and don't try to make it interactive. And so I would argue with Don saying, oh, but this is negotiation. This is a skill-based thing, not a knowledge-based thing. You got to have the experience. And he was patient and said, whatever, good luck with that.

And so I was making it way, way too complicated. And finally it was a conversation with the publisher once we got there who was like, how far are you from finishing the book? And I started explaining all these things I'm trying to do, and they're like, look, someone's going to listen to this book as they're running on a treadmill or read this book as they're sitting in an airplane seat. They don't have time to go to websites and play games and do all this kind of stuff. It's not going to work. And so you just need to just write the book. And so I went through this process and it was actually a guy named Barry O'Reilly that kind of helped me see the process I went through to where I actually had to unlearn how to teach negotiation and relearn how to teach it in the context of a book.

And that actually became a really, really good lesson. And I think it's a great lesson for negotiators. There are so many dynamics in negotiation and we've built up intuition, but it doesn't serve us well in this process. And so many times we have to unlearn some things, start with the blank slate and then relearn. And it's in that process that we can actually become better and we can improve. And so that whole journey was I think, a powerful lesson. And I love sharing that story because I think there's some lessons in there that are actually very valuable for negotiators in addition to some of the strategies and the skills that are offered in the book.

AD : Yeah. One thing that strikes me with what you just said is the thought that is, as our modality of communication changes from one of teaching and training and maybe in a room with people to one of writing a book that someone's going to listen to or read or something as modality changes, there are some things that have to change, even though the principles that we're going to get to that you illustrate in the book most likely remain the same. There has to be some flexibility around the modality.

JL : Yeah, you're absolutely right. And for me, that was about a five-year journey in terms of getting there. And then once I got there, then it was really easy to where I was like, all right, let's start with a blank slate. I got an hour and a half of someone's time. What do I need to tell 'em about negotiation to make it as simple as a process as possible for anyone to manage? And that became the book. And once I got there, the book flowed pretty quickly.

AD : Well, I love the stories that you share throughout the book. There's nice examples. The very first introduction struck me because I grew up in farm country out in Eastern Oregon, and the introduction is the story of a farmer and a traveling carpenter. And I was wondering if you might just as a hook to pull our listeners in, share that story and how does it tie to someone becoming a more successful negotiator?

Embracing Reconciliation And Bold Choices In Negotiation [9:17]

JL : That's a powerful story I heard in church one day. I thought that story always stuck with me. It was a long time ago where I heard that story. I couldn't even find the actual origins of the story. There's too many versions of it out there. So I don't know who to credit with the actual original version of this story, but it's simply a story of two farmers that live next to each other and they've lived next to each other for years. Their wives have passed on, and they get into a dispute over a stray calf, and one farmer thinks it's his and the other farmer thinks it's his. And like so many things in life, something as silly as one little stray calf can become an issue and it can escalate into becoming something to where now they don't have that friendship, they don't have that relationship.

And so as a result of that, one of the farmers has this traveling worker that's coming through who's a carpenter, and he's looking for work, and the farmer decides that it would be a good idea to build a fence between their two farms. And so he engages this carpenter to build this fence. And in the process of that, the carpenter kind of begins to discover the story and the why behind the fence and the carpenter being someone that is perhaps kind of bold in this moment, but someone who values things that are perhaps deeper than just the fence that divides the property.

The carpenter decides to actually build a bridge over the creek that divides these two farms as opposed to building the fence. And so you can imagine the farmer that hired him to build a fence. At the end of the day, he comes down into that area of the property and he doesn't see his fence.

He sees this bridge, and it's quite a moment where the carpenter doesn't know exactly what's going to happen or what the reaction is going to be, but at the same time, the other farmer comes down as well. And this is the moment where the other farmer sees that farmer as taking this act of reconciliation and responds favorably to it. And as a result, those farmers cross that bridge and rekindle their friendship, and there's reconciliation and relationship moving forward.

And so I tell people at the beginning of the book, there are moments as a negotiator where you have to be like that carpenter and the purpose of bringing people together, that's where negotiation is at its finest in terms of a process that adds value to the world, whether that be in business or anywhere else. And then the idea of being bold enough to take the process in a different direction, that's something that negotiators have to do as well.

AD : Yeah, I love the story itself. I used to fix fence for my dad as a kid growing up. I'm not sure I was ever as good as with the carpenter in terms of kind of perspective and understanding. I just went out and fixed the fence. But I love that as a setup for what we need to be striving towards as negotiators and just as people living in society and community with one another.

JL : Yeah, it's a great story.

NM : John. That was a really powerful story. Really appreciate you sharing that one. You also discussed the five things that great negotiators know. Could you outline the five key things that according to you, make a great negotiator and can we briefly talk about each of them?

The Five Pillars of Effective Negotiation: Mastering Self-Management, Balance, Strategy, Empathy, and Mutual Satisfaction [12:54]

JL : Yeah, absolutely. So as we think about the things that make someone a great negotiator, what I tried to do here was just distill it down to five things to where if you're going to remember just five things out of this book, what are those five things that I want you to remember that I think will make a difference? And the first thing is to recognize that great negotiators know how to manage themselves. And so one of the things that, as I kind of looked at all the negotiation literature out there, there's a lot out there in terms of how do you manage tactics and how do you manage the other side and how do you manage the process?

And all of those are really good things. There are important parts of this, but my argument is the number one thing you have to know how to manage really, really well to be a great negotiator is you have to know how to manage yourself.

And I see this a lot to where, you know, when you start to get, and we'll get into this, but when you start to understand how people make decisions, when you start to understand how people choose to behave, a lot of that has to do with what's going on inside. There's fears, anxieties, egos, goals, values, those kinds of things are driving people even in the most business oriented context or the most legal oriented context where that seemingly irrelevant. The reality is that negotiation is always between people. And so you can't remove the human element from it.

And so even if those people are representing corporations or multinational companies or the government or whoever, it's still people putting deals together with other people. And so as a result of that, one of the things that I really encourage people to do is to embrace the human element of negotiation and to think about the fact that what's going on inside of us impacts us as a negotiator.

And so we've got to know how to deal with the fear that comes with, oh my goodness like, how are they going to react to this offer? We've got to deal with what are we going to do if this deal starts going down a direction to where we may not look good at the end of it? And how is that going to impact us? And what I think is that a lot of the mistakes that get made in this process is because people just don't know how to manage themselves very well. The second thing is you got to know when to compete and to cooperate. And so in negotiation, move by move, this strategy may have to change depending upon how the negotiation is going. And so what I find is that some people are very competitive people and they're just naturally built that way, and they've created success out of being competitive, but they're actually competitive at the wrong time.

And so they've got this person that's ready to be cooperative with them and they come in and blow 'em up. And as a result, now they have a competitive person and you're like, what are you doing? You attacked someone that was ready to work with you, but you don't know anything different. And so the same thing with cooperative people. You're walking into a competitive negotiation. This person is not concerned about win-win.

They're only concerned about one win, and it's their win, not your win. And so you can't walk into that and be super cooperative and expect them to reciprocate. You're going to get exploited in that moment. And so great negotiators, they know when they need to be cooperative and when they need to be competitive, and then they're effective at doing both.

Third thing is, and this is again something that's a little bit counterintuitive, but the most important move in this whole process is actually the first move because of the signals that are sent with it, because of the anchor that gets laid, because of the influence that happens in that first move, the expectations that are set.

And so often I see people go in with a, let's see what happens approach, or they go in and we're going to start here and just go from there. And that isn't the most strategic way to approach and launch a negotiation. And so great negotiators know that that first move is the most important move. Then the fourth thing is really the idea that great negotiators, they know how to solve problems, but they know how to solve problems using empathy and creativity, and hopefully we'll get an opportunity to talk more about empathy. I think that is something that this book introduces that's kind of new to the field, if you will, is thinking about empathy in the context of negotiation. Negotiation has touched on it in terms of what empathy is all about. That's not new to negotiation, but this idea of empathy that is kind of popular right now, I think there is an application of it to negotiation to where people can actually become more powerful negotiators by learning how to become more empathetic.

And there's actually some research that backs this up. And so really the second half of the book is based a lot on empathy, and there's even a chapter on it. And then the last thing is that great negotiators understand how to satisfy everyone. And that's really important because so many negotiators, they're out for themselves. And what great negotiators know is that the more you satisfy the other side, then the better position you put them in to satisfy you with what you're looking for. And so having that understanding in terms of saying, this game is about trying to figure out how to satisfy everyone, not just satisfy me or my company or my goals or my pricing or whatever.

Once you get there, now you're at a place to where you can get some really good stuff done. So those are the five simple things, and if you take nothing out of this podcast or the book or whatever, those five things can make a difference in your negotiation success.

AD : That's a great setup. And in your book, you define negotiation as a strategic communication process to make a deal or solve a problem. Furthermore, you go on to state that we negotiate every day and there's this danger that exists when we don't see ourselves as negotiators. And I'm wondering if this kind of ties to your first point around managing ourselves. I'm wondering if you could expand on that thinking, why may it lead to catastrophe when we don't embrace our roles as professional negotiators?

Viewing All Interactions As Opportunities For Negotiation And Success [19:38]

JL : Yeah, so it's really interesting. When I do keynote speeches or when I do training, what I'll often do is I will give people this working definition that I have for negotiation, and I'll just ask them the question. I'll say, all right, think back to last week. Literally, I want you to reflect on every email, every phone call, every meeting, every zoom call. Think about all the time you spent in your professional role. I said, how much of that time was spent engaged in this strategic communication process to get a dealer to solve a problem? And people will shout out 80%, 90%, 75%, it's almost always above 50% in terms of the numbers that they share and managers, there's some research that says that that number is usually around 75% ish or so for managers. And so the reality is that these people, while they have all these different titles and all these different roles and all these different responsibilities, the thing that is unifying is how it is that they generate success.

And the way that they generate success is to effectively manage this strategic communication process to get deals and solve problems. And so I will ask people, I'll say, get out of business card. And everyone gets out their business card, and I'll literally have 'em cross their title off and I'll have 'em write, here's your new title, you are a professional negotiator. And by re-identifying them as professional negotiators, my hope is that they will understand that much of what they do as a negotiation. And when you see yourself as negotiating, it triggers hopefully a strategic response instead of just going through the motions.

And so when we go to buy a car, everyone recognizes, okay, there's probably going to be a little negotiation here. I better get ready for this because this is a moment where I'm going to have to negotiate. Well, when you sit down with your colleague in a meeting, that may not trigger.

And so you may not be acting as strategically or as carefully as you otherwise could. Recognizing that, yeah, we're negotiating resources within the company, and that's a negotiation just like the negotiation with the client on putting the contract together. And so when people don't think strategically, they miss opportunities, they leave value on the table, they come up with solutions that aren't as effective as they otherwise could be, and just all sorts of bad things happen. And so the first thing is to try to get people to see themselves as negotiators, and if they do, they're going to be smarter about how they manage the process.

AD : Yeah, as you were sharing that, I was thinking about what we so often hear from folks, which is it's internal to our organization discussions that are sometimes more difficult than external. And I wonder just how much of that is the mindset with which we approach the conversation internally when I'm trying to get more permissions or greater resources or whatever it is, and I'm a little sloppy because I didn't see myself as a negotiator or the situation as a negotiation versus when it's with a client over fees or scope or whatever, or it's with, as you were saying, buying a car. I am aware of that, so I show up differently and it has a huge impact on what we do, but also the outcome.

JL : Absolutely. And I think for a lot of folks, where I see it as I get brought in to work with a lot of sales teams, and you see it to where the sales folks go out there and they're hungry and they go put these great deals together, and then they come back and they get frustrated because the company operationally is not able to fulfill what they've sold in the way that they've promised it to the client. And so what they run into is they manage the negotiation with the client or the customer really, really well. But the negotiation back home at the ranch in terms of the people that need to fulfill it, that didn't get as much attention.

And so as a result of that, you have a challenge because the salespeople promised something, now they've run into resistance from the folks that are expected to deliver that. And it just shows there was a moment where a lot of attention was paid to one negotiation, not much attention to the other. And now as a result of that, you've got success, but you've also got a challenge.

NM : As you discuss the need to manage yourself in a negotiation, you highlight some of the differences between introverts, extroverts that show up in research. Could you discuss both the challenges and skills introverts and extroverts bring to the negotiation table and why challenging assumptions might be critical to both personality types?

Negotiating Styles: Leveraging the Strengths of Extroverts and Introverts in Effective Negotiation [24:30]

JL : Yeah, so it's really interesting. The way that I start this conversation is to say, look, there's no ideal personality for a negotiator. You can be a really effective negotiator regardless of what your kind of natural personality is. And so extroverts, they tend to really communicate in a more comfortable way. And that can be a process that is used quite effectively in the negotiation process because they're so comfortable communicating and they're quick on their feet, they're energized by the opportunity to communicate, usually they tend to be pretty creative and pretty quick socially in terms of recognizing some of those cues.

And as a result of that, they can use that to put really, really good deals together and to connect with people in that way. What's interesting is that introverts are equally as effective. It's just a totally different path. And so the thing about introverts that's so powerful is that they listen really, really well, and they're very observant.

And so they're able to take in a lot of information that the extroverted folks who are communicating, and they're the show that they miss because the introverts aren't trying to be the show. They're just trying to connect and they're trying to listen and find their place. And then they tend to be very reflective. And so as a result of that, they're then able to go back and say, here's what I've heard. Here's the opportunity that I see. And it may not be in a real flamboyant package, but they're able to connect with people in a way that they can get deals done.

And so I spent a number of years managing a development team at a major university, and we raised hundreds of millions of dollars for this university. And what I found was some of the best development people were, you would never expect 'em to be effective development people.

They didn't have great personalities. They weren't that frankly, they weren't that engaging, they weren't that fun. But they could go and sit down with a donor and start having these conversations and listening to the legacy that a donor wants to leave and help them and just journey with them through the process of trying to get there to where at the end of that process, they walk away with a million bucks. And so I think whether you're an introvert or an extrovert, you have a great future in terms of thinking about how to leverage those skills, whichever comes natural to you, into becoming a very sophisticated and effective negotiator.

AD : In your book, there's this quote you had, which was, ‘Negotiation requires you to make decisions in the face of great uncertainty.” And as you're talking about kind of the strength that both introverts and extroverts bring to the table, it seems that both can offer some things with dealing with uncertainty in its various forms. Could you talk a little bit to how we can effectively manage these different types, these various forms of uncertainty, the risk and discomfort we feel, and maybe even specifically one of the big ones you hit on is dealing with bad faith negotiators regardless of whether intro, extrovert, whatever.

How do you recommend dealing with those tactics? So uncertainty and really specifically dialing in on negotiators who are acting in bad faith.

Navigating Uncertainty And Bad Faith In Negotiations [28:08]

JL : So, uncertainty I think is one of the biggest challenges of this process. So as a lawyer, what I've been trained to do is I've been trained to go get all of the information. The beginning of every lawsuit is discovery, and discovery is you go get all of the information that you possibly can get, and once you have all of the information, you then begin to think critically and analytically in terms of identifying the issues, applying those issues to the law.

If you're a physician, your job is to sit down with the patient to begin understanding the symptoms and to get information. If you're an engineer, fill in the blank. Every profession has been taught to get all of the information and then go into whatever the process is of using that information to make good decisions, to come up with plans and to deal with whatever the challenges are.

The challenge with negotiation is in so many negotiations, you don't have all the information. And even when you think you have all the information, you may not have all the information. And so we play this game in the training where you don't know what the other side's going to do. And people, they make all these moves, they turn out to be the wrong moves, they made the wrong assumptions, and then we'll play it again and I'll play it with them and I'll tell them what I'm going to do, and I'll be like, here's what I'm going to do. I'm going to take all of the uncertainty away. I'm just going to tell you exactly what I'm going to do. And what's funny is they're like, well, that's not helpful. And I was like, what do you mean it's not helpful? You told me the problem was you didn't know now, so just play your card and let's go.

They go, well, we don't know if we can believe you. I go, oh. So even if you have the information, you don't know if you trust it. And so it's a great exercise to kind of point out for folks. You'll never be in a place to where there's not uncertainty in this process. And I say, how many times do you sit down and be like, all right, what's your bottom line? Really, let's start there.

And the other side's like, okay, here's the lowest price I could let this go for. That doesn't happen. We don't know. And so what then happens is we've got to begin to explore and understand how it is that we deal with uncertainty. For some of us, we just don't trust. And so we're not going to fill the holes with information that we don't know for sure. And so as a result of that, we're going to make assumptions based upon kind of the worst case scenario, and then make decisions accordingly.

Others of us, we're very trusting people. And as a result of that, we fill the hole with information. And what we find, and I've made this mistake many times, is that our assumptions aren't accurate. And so as a result of that, I made a really bad decision in a really bad move and now I'm going to get burned for it. And so as we think about uncertainty, this is where I encourage people to begin thinking strategically as opposed to just doing what is comfortable, because this is the moment where our intuition can actually lead us astray. And the intuition is, oh, I can trust that person. Or, oh, they're in this for the win-win, and that's our intuition. But what we find out after the fact is that our intuition actually is wrong, and by the time we find that out, we're dead in the water in the deal.

It's not going to go well for us, and so dealing with uncertainty is the moment where strategy has to come into play. And we got to begin thinking, okay, is that a rational assumption or is that a good assumption? And to begin thinking critically about our own assumptions and how we're going to deal with the uncertainty, before I make a decision, let me ask some questions and try to find this information out, because what I can learn and the signals that get sent with that, that may impact the decision I make in terms of how to proceed. And sometimes you don't have the opportunity to do that, and you got to develop a strategy to be able to proceed in the face of the uncertainty.

Now, to get to the back of your questionnaire related to dealing with people in bad faith, I think the thing that are people that are negotiating in bad faith, I think the thing that you've got to do in that situation is it's a lot like dealing with tactics to where one of the important things is just frankly to identify it for the other side and say, listen, I feel like I'm here trying to get this done, but based upon how this process has progressed, I'm not sure that you're all that interested and just calling it out for people or this behavior. Lemme just share with you the signal that I'm getting from the behavior and just call it out. And then in labeling it for the other side, oftentimes if they're really not there in bad faith, you'll kind of expose that.

If it's just a tactic that they're using to try to get an advantage, many times you'll deal with it just by calling it out. But sometimes what you have to do, and every negotiator can do this, is sometimes you have to shut the process down to deal with whatever the behavior is or whatever the bad faith nature of the other side is before you proceed. And if you can deal with it, proceed. If you can't, maybe you don't. And so the key there is to negotiate on process before you negotiate on substance. And one of the things you may have to negotiate is their behavior that's indicative of being there in bad faith.

NM : Hey everyone. Nolan here. I’m going to jump in today's podcast with part A of this episode. Be sure to rate, review and subscribe to the podcast if you haven't already. Enjoy us next week for part B of this awesome interview.

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