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Embrace Your Inner Rebel
The Weekly Walkaway highlights negotiation in its ‘good’, ‘bad’ and sometimes ‘downright ugly’ forms. Newsletter Issue No. 38 (30th June 2023)
What to expect?
Quote of the Week - “Challenging assumptions is exhilarating. It creates its own energy. Creative energy flows, disruption occurs and breakthroughs become possible.”
Tactic of the Week - The Rope-a-Dope
Thought of the Week - Embrace Your Inner Rebel
Remember: You are a negotiator!
You are always managing some form of conflict, a difference of opinion or interest.
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QUOTES OF THE WEEK
“Challenging assumptions is exhilarating. It creates its own energy. Creative energy flows, disruption occurs and breakthroughs become possible.”
“Negotiation is NOT a wheel. It is not linear. But if it was, because there are no rules in negotiation, the ground the wheel was designed for would keep changing and therefore the wheel would not be fit for purpose!”
Giles RM Morgan (2023)
TACTIC OF THE WEEK
The Rope-a-Dope (or roper-doper)
"The Rope-a-Dope" is a negotiation tactic associated with the great boxer, Muhammad Ali and applied, obviously metaphorically, to negotiation situations.
Muhammad Ali, instead of moving around the ring, would choose to fight leaning back into the ropes in order to avoid, or to cushion, the heaviest blows. This resulted in opponents wearing themselves out punching without having the required knockout impact. Then, when the time was right, Muhammad Ali would dance with speed and energy and take the advantage while his opponent was too tired to counter.
In negotiation the tactic is used similarly;
Deflection and Conservation of Energy: Similar to Ali on the ropes, they initially allow you to take the lead and rather than engaging in a head-on confrontation, they deflect, duck, and weave, conserving their positive energy and refraining from using their full power;
Delay. Delay. Delay. They Exhaust Your Time: By appearing weak and powerless, they may encourage you to invest more time, effort, and resources into explaining and repackaging your demands. This can lead to you becoming emotionally and physically exhausted, as if you’re trying to eat soup with a knife;
Timing and Seizing the Advantage: Once you have expended your energy and resources, they seize the opportunity and shift the momentum. They use their agility and strategic positioning to redirect the negotiation towards their own desired outcome. This can involve presenting alternative proposals and/or leveraging previously undisclosed information;
Demonstrating Strength and Energy: When the time is right, they display their true power. Their strength, energy, and determination to achieve their objectives. This sudden display of power can catch you off guard, as you may have assumed they were weak or lacking in power.
THOUGHT OF THE WEEK
Embrace Your Inner Rebel.
Welcome back Walkawayers
Last week I stated: ‘I Dare to Be Different’ and that my annoying superpower is ‘The Power of Non-Conformity’!
Well this statement has caused issues with some of you, and that’s OK.
Some of you amazing Walkawayers are more negotiation science than art. And again that is OK too.
I’ve written often about the need for diversity in negotiation teams. We need the analysts just as much as we need the speakers. We are all negotiators.
But the big question has been, “how can I be non-conformist when I am a conformist?”
So let's explore this a little more.
In negotiations, dare to be assumptive, rebellious, and different.
I try not to conform to expectations
My job enables me to think outside the box and challenge the status quo so my clients achieve breakthroughs and get to shape the outcomes they want. Does yours?
To do this I’ve learnt to challenge assumptions, to in fact be assumptive.
I do not mind being wrong. Because even if I am wrong I now have information I didn't just have.
And that information gives me POWER.. power gives me options.
Challenging assumptions is exhilarating. It creates its own energy. Creative energy flows, disruption occurs and breakthroughs become possible.
So being assumptive is a good place to start on your road to becoming a rebel, a non-conformist.
But first, why do you feel uncomfortable challenging assumptions? Because of the;
Fear of Being Wrong: the risk of being incorrect, of making mistakes or being criticised or perceived as being ‘dumb’ discourages you from making assumptions and instead you conform;
Social Pressure: you are ‘social’ and you are formed of the social-norms and expectations to fit in, to avoid being ‘left out’. You don't want to be seen as disruptive, so you conform.
Cognitive Biases: you, like everyone else, have cognitive biases, you seek information that confirms your existing beliefs. You selectively seek and interpret information that supports your preconceived ideas, so you conform.
Ultimately conforming is lazy, it is comfortable, easy! But being a rebel, in negotiation, is HARD, but it is good.
Break away from conformity and you have a better chance of creating opportunities for innovation and creativity. Trust me… It’s a fact.
In the world of negotiation, where expectations and conventions often dictate the process, if you could just learn to embrace your inner rebel it could be the game-changer you’ve been looking for. If not.. Well, hire a consultant negotiator of course.
As negotiators, by simply challenging assumptions, thinking outside the box and daring to be different, you have the opportunity;
to be creative;
and achieve amazing things.
Shake things up like a rebellious
toddler with a can of soda. It's exhilarating!
Consider challenging assumptions as a process of discovery, of exploration. It’s not personal, it's just a process we need to go through to find ‘stuff’ out.
By embracing the discomfort of making assumptions, you will challenge ‘conventional’ wisdom, perceptions and reveal insights that lead to breakthroughs.
Solution: becoming assumptive in negotiation means questioning. Questioning everything and speaking less;
Stop talking and start challenging your preconceived ideas and biases, question them;
Listen to seek out hidden information. Chew that information over for a bit, really consider it, consider the meaning behind their words;
Then challenge that information again, without fear of being wrong.
Successfully challenge that information and you will uncover their motivations, intent and interests.
Making and testing assumptions is a calculated risk. But what do you have to lose.. Your ego, your dignity, your pride?
Negotiation is a battle of information. Become more comfortable making assumptions and you gain the tactical and strategic advantage.
Unleash Creativity and Innovation
Let's be blunt, boring conformity stifles creativity which in turn kills innovation.
Conformity is like wearing a straitjacket to a party, it traps you in a never-ending loop of predictability; not getting what you want or need.
Limiting yourselves to predictable and unimaginative solutions puts you in a negotiation straightjacket.
Solution: Search out those who have already embraced their inner rebel. Use them, do not stifle them. Let them show you how to break free from these constraints and open the door to new possibilities.
Specifically invite your rebels, your disruptors into negotiation planning meetings. Let them challenge your assumptions and let them be free to think outside the box.
There is never a silly question with a rebel. As hard as it is for you let them do their thing and reward it, don’t punish it.
They will encourage innovative thinking and promote creative problem-solving.
This approach allows you to uncover unique perspectives, consider unconventional strategies, and discover solutions that may have been previously overlooked.
Your rebel now gives your negotiation team the competitive edge.
Let your rebel be your Picasso of negotiation, splashing vibrant colours on the dull canvas of conventional thinking.
Challenge the Status Quo
The status quo, the chains of tradition and preconceived ideas, are a powerful force, discouraging change and keeping negotiations within predefined boundaries.
Negotiators must challenge the status quo and refuse to accept limitations imposed on them by history, company procedures, compliancy or managers' preconceived ideas of how ‘it’ should be done.
Negotiation is NOT a wheel. It is not linear. But if it was, because there are no rules in negotiation, the ground the wheel was designed for would keep changing and therefore the wheel would not be fit for purpose!
You need to be able to introduce fresh ideas and alternative approaches. You need to control the negotiation and shape the entire negotiation process.
By conforming you accept the rules. And you know what I’ve said about rules before!
The ability to question the rules, practices and norms allows you to identify hidden opportunities, gain a deeper understanding of the underlying interests, and ultimately negotiate better outcomes.
Solution: Release your rebel or become agents of change. Either be the disruptor or hire a disruptor. Challenge the very fabric of the status quo! Break free from the shackles of tradition. Escape predefined boundaries and venture out… go on.. Go.. Go.. Fly.. and don't be that manager who says:
“No, we don't do that here”
Don't be the monkey in the cage!
Challenge the sacred cows of negotiation, gain a deeper understanding of the underlying interests and motivations.
Develop Dynamic, Engaging Negotiators, Stagnation Disruptors:
Negotiatiors that conform to rigid structures and predictable patterns are stale and unproductive. The rat race. The treadmill… They fall into a state of stagnation.
Rebels disrupt this stagnation by introducing new ideas, methods, and perspectives. Their unconventional approach serves as a catalyst for change. Free from rigid structures rebels are more inclined to question and listen, consider different perspectives, and engage in open conversation;
Rebels inject energy and excitement into the negotiation process by introducing unconventional ideas and approaches. For example when negotiations reach an impasse or deadlock, rebels can play a crucial role in breaking the stalemate. Their unconventional ideas and approaches can introduce fresh alternatives and innovative ideas that enable both parties to move forward;
Rebels dare to be different, if allowed, they create a dynamic and engaging atmosphere that encourages active participation and collaboration. Rebels thrive on divergent thinking and creative problem-solving. They encourage brainstorming, idea generation, and out-of-the-box thinking.
So… Who wants to be a REBEL?
Who wants to be a nonconformist? Open the door to innovation, creativity, and unexpected outcomes. Unleash your creativity, challenge the status quo
Embrace your inner rebel, dare to be different!
Break away from conformity
Take calculated risks
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