Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Here, Look

Negotiation is a way of staving off inevitable change. Humans hate change. Personally, I really dislike pennies.

Negotiation is sometimes defined as the willingness of an initiator of change to accommodate the desire of the receptor to resist the alteration of an existing state. I believe that this is too nicey-nicey. After all, if the initiator had the position to overcome the receptor, there is no argument: the initiator wins. So, there must be a weakness, either in the perception of the initiator regarding the position of the receptor or in the factual position of the initiator.

Here's an example: say you want to buy a car. No, don't actually say it. C'mon, work with me. You go to a new car dealer with ten grand in pocket. The change you want to initiate is the ownership of the purple mettalic Honda Fit from the dealer's figurative hands to your own. The dealer states that he can't part with this model of fine motor vehicle for less than, say, twelve grand. Would you shut up? Okay, so, what to do? What do we know?

  • The dealer doesn't know what you are truly able and willing to spend.
  • The dealer doesn't know anything about you or your Shatner-like negotiating skills, so you may walk out at any moment.
  • The dealer doesn't have facts about your perceptions.
  • You don't know what circumstances surround the dealer's need to sell his vehicles.
  • You don't know whether the dealer is in a position to sell you the car of your dreams for ten grand.
And so, the dance begins. The dealer is at an advantage simply because he is much more experienced at sussing out what he needs to know about you and your position and your perception of the position.
If you retreat from your position, you will become the receptor and the dealer will win. And, of course, vice versa. So, fair dealing, while a nice concept, is never the tilt-all that's the step down from total conquest. So, one must be better armed and arrive with the understanding that this is a battle and it's winner-takes-all.

Not very nice, is it?

The one thing I learned from dealing with a BPD'ed person within the process of divorce is that nice guys finish second. In a two-man race, that means finishing dead last. Go for the gut, smile and tear out the jugular, put one in the solar plexus and two in the head. And don't forget to say, "Thank you!" This insures that the receptor will be ripe for the plucking next time simply because he not only perceives he's weak, but amply demonstrates the willingness to be weak in order to be concilliatory. Bad plan, buddy.

The lesson is that Win-Win sounds great in management school, but come loaded for bear, even if you're expecting squirrel. The hunter with the biggest barrel WILL win. And as Gordon Gekko said, never let 'em know what you're thinking. Ever.

No comments: