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Key Takeaways

  • Emotional intelligence is paramount in high-stakes negotiations. This includes the essential elements of empathy, ego regulation, and effective communication.
  • Hollywood’s portrayal of negotiations, particularly hijacking scenarios, can be exaggerated for dramatic effect. Real-life negotiations prioritize emotional self-regulation and maintaining calmness over dramatic interventions.
  • Cyber extortion presents distinct challenges in the world of negotiations. The uncertainty surrounding data return, even post-ransom, complicates the process. Decisions must weigh potential business losses against ransom demands.
  • Despite meticulous planning and strategy, negotiation outcomes can remain unpredictable. This underscores the importance of concentrating on what is within control and understanding the elements beyond influence.
  • Effective crisis leadership necessitates a clear understanding of the situation, a commitment to personal responsibility, collaboration with competent team members, and an environment receptive to feedback.
  • Beyond the mechanics of negotiation, there’s an inherent value in enjoying the process and not just fixating on outcomes. Approaching negotiations with a sense of joy benefits the negotiator and creates a positive environment for all involved.

Executive Summary:

Hey everyone, welcome back to the NEGOTIATEx podcast . We are continuing our conversation with Scott Walker, a former Scotland Yard detective. In the previous episode, Scott shared insights from his 16-year experience in covert policing and crisis negotiations, particularly hostage situations. 

Additionally, he emphasized the role of emotional intelligence in high-stakes negotiations, explaining the importance of empathy, ego regulation, and effective communication. He also offered a framework for managing emotions during crises, underscoring the significance of self-awareness and self-regulation. 

We strongly recommend you check out part A if you haven’t already before proceeding with this episode. Now, without further ado, let’s jump right in.

Hollywood Hijackings vs. Reality: Scott Dissects The Truth Behind Entertainment’s Portrayal Of Negotiations

Aram kicks off the conversation by asking Scott about the portrayal of negotiations, particularly in hijacking scenarios in entertainment programs. He mentions the show “Hijack” on Apple TV+ starring Idris Elba.

In response, Scott comments that while “Hijack” is entertaining and engaging, it often portrays an unrealistic view of real-life hijackings. The series depicts trying to understand the hijackers’ mindset and find leverage, which Walker agrees is essential in real-life situations. 

However, the likelihood of having someone like the character Idris Elba play intervening during a hijack is slim and not recommended unless in extreme cases like a 9/11 scenario. In actual hijackings, the focus should be on emotional self-regulation, staying calm, and not provoking the hijackers.

He then references the film “Proof of Life” with Meg Ryan and Russell Crowe as a more accurate depiction of certain aspects. It correctly showcases the involvement of third-party intermediaries during negotiations, although it’s not entirely realistic throughout. 

Furthermore, Scott stresses that while many shows and movies have a hint of reality due to advisors, they often dramatize for entertainment. In real-life negotiations, a lot of time is spent waiting and managing emotions, but when action is needed, negotiators must be focused and efficient.

How Empathy Played A Crucial Role In A High-Stakes Pirate Negotiation

Next, Aram inquires about the importance of active listening in Scott Walker’s line of work and requests an illustrative example of its efficacy.

Scott recalls a particularly tense situation involving pirates who kidnapped individuals from a ship. Weeks into the crisis, negotiations had reduced the ransom demand from millions to hundreds of thousands, but the situation hit a roadblock, and no progress was made for a while. 

During one call, the communicator, a close friend of the hostages, urged the kidnappers to care for his friends, emphasizing their responsibility. This inadvertently provoked the kidnappers, leading them to threaten the lives of the hostages.

Following the call, the communicator, overwhelmed with emotion and stress, physically expressed his frustration and confronted Scott about his calm demeanor in the face of the threat. Recognizing the immediate need to address the emotional crisis of the communicator, Scott prioritized assisting him, using every active listening technique at his disposal. 

He focused on validating the communicator’s feelings, ensuring he felt understood, seen, and heard. Needless to say, empathy played a crucial role in rebuilding rapport and trust with the communicator. After a day, the communicator returned with a refreshed mindset, facilitating the final negotiation, resulting in a deal and the safe release of the hostages.

Lastly, Scott emphasizes that genuine concern and active listening were pivotal in navigating this crisis within a crisis, highlighting the potency of empathy in challenging situations.

The Complexities Behind Ransom Negotiations In The Digital Realm

Moving on, Nolan asks Scott about his experience with cyber extortion negotiations and how he strategizes deciding whether to pay a ransom or not.

Scott responds by highlighting that cyber attacks present different challenges than physical kidnappings. Cyber attackers can demonstrate their intent and capabilities. Unlike physical hostages, data can be cloned, copied, and concealed. This introduces an element of uncertainty as even after paying a ransom; there’s no guarantee that the attackers will return the data or that decryption keys will work. 

He mentions asking companies about the extent of the damage they’re facing, weighing the ransom amount against potential losses, and factoring in the daily cost implications.

A key aspect Scott brings out is the need to determine the significance of the attack. Is it merely an inconvenience or a threat to the business’s viability? He gives an example of a company that was losing $200,000 a day due to an attack but found out the ransom was only 20,000 euros. Despite this, Scott warns that paying the ransom doesn’t guarantee a positive outcome. The goal might be to buy time for IT teams to cleanse the system and fix vulnerabilities.

Navigating Unpredictable Outcomes

Nolan poses a question to Scott about any failed negotiation experiences and the lessons learned. Scott, referencing a past incident related to a terrorist group, explains how it profoundly affected him because the hostage didn’t return. 

The situation made him realize that despite one’s best efforts, outcomes can be unpredictable, and it led him to adopt a mindset he describes as the “mirror never lies test.” It revolves around the idea of looking in the mirror and asking if one did everything one could while also understanding that there are factors beyond one’s control.

On that note, Scott underscores the importance of being able to detach from the outcome, particularly in high-stakes negotiations where many things could go wrong and result in tragic consequences. The key lesson he learned was to “control the controllables,” meaning one should focus on what they can influence and not get paralyzed by factors outside of their control.

Aram reinforces the significance of the mentioned lesson. He also touches on the importance of accountability, preparation, and reflecting on whether everything possible was done to ensure success.

Mastering Crisis Leadership Amid Uncertainty And High Stakes

In the same spirit, Aram urges Scott to share some advice with the listeners on crisis leadership, especially when leaders confront highly uncertain and high-stakes challenges.

Scott advises the listeners to acknowledge reality without overreacting or catastrophizing situations. He emphasizes the importance of leaders taking ownership and personal responsibility in such situations, thereby empowering them to actively address the crisis.

Additionally, Scott introduces the concepts of “so what” and “now what” as guiding questions to help leaders evaluate the situation and determine the next course of action.

Scott also touches upon the importance of surrounding oneself with competent individuals. He borrows from Jim Collins’ idea of having the “right people in the right seats on the right bus,” underscoring the importance of team composition based on skills and personality types. 

According to Scott, a critical aspect of leadership is the capability to accept and encourage feedback, even if it comes from subordinates. It’s essential to cultivate an environment where people can voice their concerns and provide input, especially during crises.

Overall, Scott stresses the significance of a leader’s demeanor in crises, advocating for a calm, collected approach and emphasizing the importance of preparation and rehearsal.

Embracing The Joy In The Process Of Negotiation And Leadership

As the conversation winds down, Nolan prompts Scott for any final thoughts he might have for the listeners.

Scott responds by highlighting the significance of enjoying the negotiation process instead of purely focusing on achieving outcomes. He points out that when people focus solely on results, they risk becoming caught up in a repetitive cycle without truly appreciating or enjoying the process. 

Furthermore, he suggests that while business might be serious, it doesn’t mean individuals can’t approach it with a sense of joy and ease. Doing so makes the process enjoyable for the individual and creates a better environment for those around them.

Aram agrees with Walker’s sentiments, highlighting that when one enjoys the process, they present a better version of themselves. 

Thank you for listening!

Transcript

Nolan Martin : Hey everyone, thanks for joining us on the NEGOTIATEx podcast. We are continuing our conversation with Scott Walker, kidnap for ransom negotiator, if you haven't already checked out part A of this show, be sure to do that first.

Let's jump on the conversation with Scott.

Aram Donigian : So Scott, my wife and I just finished watching Hijack on Apple TV Plus, starring Idris Elba and we enjoyed it. I am often very wary with how entertainment programs kind of show negotiations and whether it's that one or others. I don't know if you've watched Hijack. What other things do you see, any movies and shows that they either get right or get wrong about negotiations, crisis or others? Do you have any favorite programs that you feel like do a pretty good job of portraying the complexities that you experience?

Negotiating Kidnaps On Screen and In Real Life: A Comparative Analysis (01:28)

Scott Walker : I’ve too seen Hijack with Idris Elba, and I think it's great. I think it's, I've got to be careful. We don't put any spoilers in here. If anybody's not seen it yet.

NM : I have not seen it. So….

SW : I mean it's a seven part series and every episode is an hour long, which is a flight time that is on. From an entertainment perspective, it's brilliant, it’s really engaging. From a real life hijacking, the absurdity levels are as high as the altitude it's flying at, in that sense. That said, what he's doing at the got a guy you got to be careful and give anything away here from the show is trying to get into the minds of the hijackers.

We want to know what makes them tick, what's the hook we can get in, where's our leverage that we can gain some kind of control or influence and persuasion, cooperation. However, having dealt with a hijacking for real, the chances of there being an Idris Elba on board to do that are very slim and probably I wouldn't recommend it.

If we've got a 9/11 type scenario where the intent of the hijackers is just to crash the plane, then I think people are going to get involved, intervene, now, certainly post 9/11, but if it seems to be all under control and, it is they are looking for a negotiated settlement, then it is going back to the point we've already raised. You want to emotionally self-regulate, you want to stay calm and focused. Mentally agile kind of absorb what's going on, not to antagonize the hijackers and basically you want to be there so you can reassure other people as well.

But yes, that's a great show. But in terms of other ones out that are more accurate is there's a film with Meg Ryan and Russell Crowe, years ago called ‘Proof of Life ‘where there was, I think it was an oil worker who got taken in Latin America and Russell Crowe was a negotiator who flew out. What was realistic was in terms of that direct expectation management, the confrontation with kidnappers and a lot of, we call them third party intermediaries.

You see this in a lot of deals where people come out of the woodwork for a fee, of course. They will manage to try and smooth away for you. They'll be the intermediary perhaps, and more often than not, they'll just get in the way.

So, in terms of his dialogue with the kidnappers with these third parties, it's pretty accurate. However, that's where that ends. I mean, I certainly don't go flying in on a gunship or all that kind of stuff. Must be hostages. I want to go back from a tea of metals afterwards. But a lot of these shows, there's always a glimmer of reality because often they have an advisor on there. But if I said to people listening that again, 80-90% of the time is just hanging around, waiting for the phone to ring, managing the emotional boredom and what have you, but then when it does ring, you've got to be able to step up and really focus and get the job done.

AD : Yeah, as you talked through that with the examples and as some of this previous answers you were giving too, this idea of active listening is obviously a key component to the work you do. Can you share an instance? Do you have an example of when you were able to deescalate a fairly tense, maybe highly intense situation by practicing effective listening?

From Anger To Agreement: The Role Of Empathy In Kidnap Negotiation (05:10)

SW : I think the one that springs to mind that I share with people is a number of years ago, a number of people got taken off a ship, hijacked off a ship by pirates and they got taken in land and we hadn't heard anything for a couple of weeks. And so the tension was building in the crisis management team and in the family, and I'm working with, we call them the communicator. Usually because of the language barrier, I will use somebody and I will script and coach and train them about what we're going to say, what the objectives of the call are going to be. And we have a few conversations with the kidnappers. We get the demand down from several million down to the hundreds of thousands, but then we hear a stalemate and nothing really shifts for a few weeks. And this has taken its toll on this communicator because he feels personally responsible for getting his friends back.

And then on one call he explains to the kidnappers why we haven't got as much money as they want. And he says, well, “and please look after my friends and they are your responsibility Mr. Kidnapper”, to which the kidnappers turn around and go no, they're yours. You pay the money by the end of the week or they'll die. We'll kill them. And then the line goes dead, and then you could hear pin drop in the room and that's when the communicator just gets his fist and he slams it down on the table. And he's a huge guy.

He's a man mountain of a guy, and I'm thinking that fist is going to come my way in a second. So I stand up, take a step back, he gets up and he goes, how can you stand there so calm when my friends are going to die? And then he storms it and I'm thinking, right, the kidnappers could wait.

Again, I'm taking this, I guess taking the initiative with a bit of risk here of we've got to kidnappers where we want them to be. They're not going to do anything. It's just a threat. I now need to focus my attention on our own side. This is a crisis within the crisis. This is the key person without whom the hostages are not going to come back. So I think I've got maybe 24-36 hours though I can stall the kidnappers and I need to work with this communicator. So we just spend so much time together and I'm literally doing active listening one-on-one with him. I'm literally validating what's going on for him, his emotions, I'm identifying them, I'm paraphrasing and reflecting back. So ultimately he feels safe, seen, heard, and understood. I may think he's wrong on a few things that he's raising, but that doesn't matter. And these techniques are so powerful, particularly when we speak and with somebody who we disagree with.

So he feels validated and heard and understood, and now we're doing that. I've earned the trust. I've earned the right to start influencing and persuading him and looking to bring about this cooperation and collaboration that is essential for him to get back in. So I'm using this empathy, I mean empathy is a doing word. We have to do empathy. And so we get to that point, we're building the rapport, we're establishing a bit more trust. And then 24 hours later, he comes in the room, a fresh man, he's showered, he's shaved and he's had a shift, which is great.

He's had a shift of mindset and he sits down the kidnapper's phone, he's on the call and we agree, deal that it was about $300,000 or whatever it was in the end, and then we get the hostages back. But that was a pivotal moment of really utilizing every active listening skill in the book. And I wasn't being Machiavellian in what I was doing. I genuinely was concerned about him. And the best way to bring about that behavioral change in cooperation is by being curious and the active listening skills.

NM : Awesome story, hearing how that all gets tied together. So glad I had a good ending there.

Cyber attacks and extortion are not new. Yet, many individuals and companies may not fully understand the risks involved. Can you share a bit about your experience with these specific negotiations and what your strategy is when deciding whether to pay a ransom or not?

Digital Crisis Management: Strategies For Dealing With Cyber Extortion (09:41)

SW : Yes, cyber attacks are slightly different in that they will demonstrate their intent and capability of following through on what they're threatening. And what's easy with kidnappers is there's only the hostage. They can't clone it, they can't copy it, they can't hide it away. And if we pay the money, we know we're going to get the hostage back. Whereas when somebody may steal some data and then they'll encrypt some of your files as well with a ransomware attack for example, we don't know what they're going to do with that data or if the keys they give back the decryption keys are going to work. So it changes the rules of the game slightly.

And what I'll say to the companies as well as to either cyber extortion as well as in a kidnapping is are you willing and able to pay for this? What's the ‘so what’ for you? Is this just a bump in the road or is this a game over for you or the business in a cyber attack? Is this a little inconvenience for you or is this going to absolutely threaten the viability of your business globally?

Because sometimes, particularly in the early days of these cyber attacks, I'd get the call and I'd say to the company, “okay, so, how much of the extortion is, how much is the threat actor demanding?” “Well, we don't know”. Okay, well, we call it sandboxing. “Can you maybe examine the link they've given and explore what the message is? I mean, how much are we going to pay here?” And they go, “okay, fine.” I said, “well, how much is this costing you in lost opportunity costs or business costs?” “Oh, about $200,000 a day.” Okay, well, they click on the link and they realize it's actually the demand is for 20,000 euros.

And it's like, wow, okay, it's up to you, but you may want to consider pardoning. If it's 20,000 euros, it's costing you 200,000 a day. That said, just because you pay doesn't mean you're going to get the right keys or it's going to work properly. So there's a multitude of different factors here. Again, do we just want to buy time? So the IT team, the forensic people can actually, to use layman terms, can they do a sweep of the system, make sure it's clean, there's no residual malware there, and close the gap to which it came in.

AD : I would just imagine the framing of the commitment and how it's going to be implemented becomes even more critical in the case that you're describing.

SW : Absolutely. Another layer to this is clients I have worked with have included law firms, hospitals, and that certainly changes the dynamics here. I mean, if you manufacture widgets in a factory and everyone needs widgets, but when we're dealing maybe with a healthcare provider or really sensitive client, confidential information, well, we were talking about leverage earlier. Well guess who's got the leverage there, the different parameters to consider.

AD : Do you see any trends? I mean in terms of the nature of the negotiations, you're called in on kidnapping, cyber, other. Do we see the cyber, I mean, is that rapidly increasing? Is it taking more of your load or is it pretty steady, kind of the sorts and types of negotiations? Is kidnapping less prevalent, more prevalent today? What do you see as trends occurring as we sit here in 2023?

Global Trends In Negotiation: Insights From A Crisis Negotiator (13:04)

SW : Okay, the two elements, let's say kidnapping first, there's always going to be kidnapping hotspots in the world, and it won't be a surprise to listeners where they are really. You've got parts of the west coast of Africa, Gulf of Guinea, parts of Latin America, the Middle East and out towards the south Philippines, always the hotspots, although trends do shift slightly, and you'll go through almost seasons of kidnapping where there's a Russian kidnappings and obviously they're off spending their loot and it'll go quiet for a few months and then they'll come back.

AD : Kidnappers take the August bank holiday too?

SW : They take the bank holiday, they may even take 4th of July, they may even take whatever day it is for them, and they'll go, actually just on that, you'll see a rush to close deals by the end of the week by a Thursday or a Friday, so then they can go and enjoy their money at the weekend. So, if we want to agree on a deal we did on a Monday or Tuesday, they're like, no, no, no, we're going to hold out for more money. We get the Thursday, Friday. And they're like, yeah, we'll have a deal. Can you give the money to us by the end of the day?

AD : It's like businesses trying to close at the end of a quarter end of the year. So very interesting.

SW : Cyber, it's not going away. And the threats are just, they improve. When I say improving, but they're getting more sophisticated, and whereas previously you may have just got a denial of service or ransomware or data theft. Now they're just combining all of it. And actually there was that famous line, I think it was a former FBI director about saying there are two companies in the world, those have been hacked and those who will be hacked.

But the amount of times I work with clients and I'm like, okay, “so what's the backup situation to the servers?” “Yeah, we didn't really have a proper backup in place, you know, it was connected to the main system.” And you think, well, okay, well there's an expensive lesson for you there. But I think, the thing I'll say for all organizations, whether or not it's private sector, commercial, charity, whatever it is, public sector is you've got to do the preparation times spent in planning a preparation, just like time spent and reconnaissance in the military is sound wasted.

We want to train ourselves to operate in times of crisis where we take things for granted in terms of we're going to be able to communicate on the email system, but if you get a cyber attack, you might not be able to do that. So how are you going to communicate amongst the decision makers? How are you going to control internal comms, for example?

So, it's according the book about red teaming, if you can get a red team in place where you can be the devil's advocate and you can probe and test all aspects of your business, then that's going to stand you in good stead. It's not going to cover everything, but it goes back to that bunch of fives I mentioned at the start of the podcast around if we can anticipate what are the likely challenges and threats and issues are going to hit us as a business or as a team, let's get ahead of the curve.

So, it's according the book about red teaming, if you can get a red team in place where you can be the devil's advocate and you can probe and test all aspects of your business, then that's going to stand you in good stead. It's not going to cover everything, but it goes back to that bunch of fives I mentioned at the start of the podcast around if we can anticipate what are the likely challenges and threats and issues are going to hit us as a business or as a team, let's get ahead of the curve.

And you know what chances of happening are slim, but let's prepare ourselves mentally, emotionally, physically, logistically, culturally that we can respond to this in our stride rather than it being really debilitating for us.

AD : One thing in your bio that really interested Nolan and myself was that during your career, you deployed overseas as part of a military intelligence interrogation team to interdict and question high value targets. Just as a point of coincidence, the very first external negotiation training that our team at the West Point Negotiation project conducted way back in 2009 was for a similar type unit that was deployed in Iraq. I'm just curious, what did you learn from that experience that you've been able to apply elsewhere?

SW : There's a couple of things. First one was small team dynamics. Again, this is on our side, was how do you operate in a challenging environment like Iraq when there's a small group of you, all with your own belief systems, values, etc. Their own egos, etc. How do you operate, particularly when things don't go according to plan, particularly when there's external demands or threats, not just physically, but again within the organization, which in that case was the military.

And then the other thing was about dealing with the detainees was what's the hook? How am I going to really find out what's that point within them that if we can get to that's the kryptonite, that's the point that we can unravel and peel back and understand who's this person? Because we can't influence somebody until we already know what already influences them. We need to know what makes them tick.

And by being curious, by doing that, it enables us to then have that blank sheet of paper in which we can really go to town there. And so those skills, learning those early days really held me later on in terms of how I would operate and communicate and deal with people in other crises.

NM : You know, we've discussed a number of successful cases today. If you're comfortable sharing, have you ever had a failed negotiation that you could describe for our listeners as you reflected back on that situation? What'd you learn from it?

Lessons from A Failed Negotiation: Control The Controllables (18:35)

SW : There's a case just when I started out, actually, it turned out I was linked to a terrorist group and out of respect for the family, I'm not going to go into the details of this, but this was one where the hostage never came back. In reality, probably was never going to come back. It was going to be a part of a publicity stunt as a recruitment tool, I think for the terrorists, and this was in the early days of me getting into this industry, into the business. So it was a kind of real eye opener. You know [inaudible] I come from a policing background where it was like the whole protect and serve. It was about being a good guy, rescuing people and then giving it to the bad guys.

And so it was a realization that we can do the best we can and then we have to be able to look ourselves in the mirror at the end of each day and go, I call it the mirror never lies test. You look in the mirror and go, did I give it everything I could today? Okay. We almost have to detach ourselves from the outcome of which we really have only minimal control, when you think about it. Of all the things that could go wrong, particularly in the hostage negotiation, when you think about it, I can give you a hundred things that could go wrong, and if those things go wrong, people die.

So, it was being able to look myself in the mirror and I didn't deliberately sit down and do this. It was just one of those things. I was looking in the mirror and getting ready one morning and I thought, do you know what? We did everything we could. Could I sit down with the family and in all honesty, in complete integrity and authenticity, look them in the eye and go, do you know what? I did my best. I'm really sorry your loved one hasn't come home. But we left everything on the table there. We did everything we could, and sometimes that's the way the result goes.

So, that was a real powerful example of control the controllables. There's some things, no matter how much kit, money, time, effort, you put in it, you're just not going to be able to influence the result. And so that was a real solitary lesson of control the controllables.

NM : Thank you for sharing.

AD : Yeah, what a great expression too. Control the controllables, and one, you're not making excuses. I mean, you're holding yourself accountable for, as you've said, your training, your preparation, everything that's led you to this moment, executing as well as you can. And at the end of the day, not every negotiation is going to be a success. In your world, that is a high cost. The loss is huge when it's dealing with a human life and to still be able to go back and reflect and say, did we do everything possible? You mentioned the AAR process earlier. I imagine the AAR process is pretty critical regardless of whether it's success or failure or the ability to go back and review what you did.

SW : Yeah, it's that constant review of how can we improve, how can we be, even if it's just a couple of percent better next time? And we do that not by finger pointing is creating that safe space, that safe space of right, everybody's an equal here around the team. Over to you. What were your thoughts, comments, opinions, insights into what happened? And if we did that again, what would you do differently or where do you think it broke down? And not from a finger pointing, but from a learning perspective and what that safe environment does, it then enables people to put their hand up and go, do you know what I screwed up there.

AD : Well, it's a segue into kind of this question I was going to ask about. So much of what we've talked about is centering around negotiation. What you're talking about right, is takes us even a little more broad just as we consider crisis leadership in a general sense. I was just curious, in addition to what you're saying here, what other sort of advice would you give to CEOs, other senior leaders about how to most effectively overcome and achieve success when facing insurmountable odds or incredibly high stakes, highly uncertain situations for their organizations?

Crisis Management: The Role Of Leadership In Uncertain Times (22:39)

SW : I'd say first off, see it as it is. Don't catastrophize! This is reality check. And then it's taking ownership and personal responsibility. By doing that, it's like, right, we've got it. We've got hold of it, we've gripping it, and now we're going to do something about it. And there's two powerful questions that were told to me years ago was, ‘so what’ and ‘now what’? Okay, so what. This has happened, what does this mean, what do we need to do? So the ‘so what’ part and the ‘now what’? And by taking that personal responsibility and ownership, parking the ego surrounding yourself as the leader, surround yourself with really good people. And again, I use a line of the book that I got from Jim Collins, ‘It's getting the right people sat in the right seats on the right bus.’

According to their personality type, according to their skillset. And you want these people to be able to speak truth to power. If you are making a really silly move, you want to empower your team to go, “Scott, that's not the best move there because A, B, and C.” And that takes a lot of courage, particularly the high ends of an organization to allow people maybe 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 levels below you to call you out. And so by developing that culture takes time.

But boy, oh boy, when the crisis happens or the challenging situation, I know which environment I'd rather be in. Yes, you need to make decisions quickly. You want an environment where you're seen and heard and you've got a voice, but ultimately you as a leader are going to have to make a decision. But it's best to get the people's opinion if you can and stay cool, calm, collected, test, practice, prepare, all these things we've spoken about in this podcast. We're really stand leaders in good stead that when that button gets pressed, when that crisis appears, they can deal with it effectively as possible.

AD : It's a wonderful answer. It does focus on the culture that you foster as a leader within an organization. Is it open and accessible to people with different ideas to bring those forward? Or is it one in which people don't? And in a moment of crisis, that's when you need people engaged, leaning forward into it, not on the back, just waiting to receive. It's a great response. Thanks. Thank you, Scott.

NM : Scott, as we get ready to wrap up, is there anything we haven't asked you that you'd like to share with our listeners as a final thought or key takeaway?

The Importance Of Enjoying Negotiations (25:19)

SW : I would actually say as much as possible is to, when you're in a negotiation, is to enjoy it as much as you can. We're so focused on achieve, achieve, achieve, but then we will become the hamster on the wheel and it's like, yeah, I've got a deal. I've got another deal, I have another deal. Let's like, okay, well, how much of all these deals are you enjoying?

And so as much as you can, the business you're in may be a serious business, but it doesn't mean you can't have fun achieving it and moving through with a bit more ease and joy. And do you know what? It makes it far more fun and enjoy a better place to work for the people around you as well.

AD : And I think you show up better too, right? You sound like a better version of yourself.

SW : Absolutely.

AD : Thank you so much, Scott.

NM : Thanks Scott for joining us on the show today. Really excited. Kind of want to kick it over to Aram for some closing thoughts here.

AD : Oh, yeah, there's so much here. I'm just going to focus on the one. I don't think I'd heard it phrased the way you had before, but ‘empathy is a doing word’. The idea of showing somebody that you're negotiating with, that they're safe, they're seen, they're heard, they're understood, and they're validated. What a powerful place to get to. And that goes whether you're negotiating externally, but even more importantly or and more importantly, negotiating internally to make that happen.

NM : Well, that's it for us on today's podcast. If you haven't already, please rate review and subscribe to the NEGOTIATEx podcast and we'll see you in the next episode.

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