Negotiation touches every part of our lives. Relationships in business and in our personal lives are negotiated. And the skills to do it effectively can often mean the difference between getting what you want or losing out. You don’t get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate!
In the first section of the book, How to be a Great Negotiator, written by property economist, investor and developer Neville Berkowitz, the characteristic traits of a great negotiator are explored in short, bite-sized nuggets of advice.
Over the next 132 days, we will bring you the traits needed to succeed at the art of negotiating.
(Courtesy of PersonalEmpowerment.co)
Creativity is the magic wand, the X-factor in almost every field of human endeavour, including negotiation. Creativity is the ignition spark of invention, the soul of strategy, and the wizard of problem-solving. When an impasse is reached in a negotiation, the solution often depends more on creativity than on protocol or personal authority. Creativity is a combination of imagination, inspiration, and possibility. It promotes the resourceful “out-of-the-box” thinking that produces unexpectedly simple, inspired solutions to seemingly insoluble problems.
Consider this powerful example of creativity resolving a tense negotiation impasse.
In 1962 the Cuban missile crisis brought the US and the Soviet Union to the brink of nuclear war. The Kennedy administration was trying to negotiate a solution with Soviet Premier Nikita Krushchev to avoid catastrophe. The tense nuclear standoff lasted for 13 days in which, it was said, “the world held its breath”.
At one point, Krushchev sent a personal communiqué to Kennedy with an acceptable offer. It seemed the crisis might be over. But before Kennedy’s team had finished drafting a response, a second confrontational communiqué from Krushchev arrived, changing the terms, which were now completely unacceptable. The impasse seemed insoluble. The possibility of nuclear war seemed closer than ever. No one knew what to do.
After some desperate brainstorming, Kennedy and his advisors came up with a simple and creative idea: Instead of responding to and rejecting Krushchev’s second, unacceptable offer, they ignored it completely, as if it had not been received. They simply responded positively to his first acceptable offer. It was a subtle, non-confrontational, “out-of-the-box” strategy. And it broke the impasse. Negotiations resumed and gradually moved forward to a successful conclusion.
Creativity as a group process is cooperative rather than competitive. The term “brainstorming” implies inspired lightning flashes and creative downpours coming from a collective cloud of intelligence. In the end, it doesn’t matter through whom the lightning strikes and the solution appears. Creativity rearranges certain basic assumptions that were blocking the way to reveal new and expanded mental constructs that allow positive and dynamic forward motion.
Part of creativity in any negotiation is not surrendering to present limitations and turning them into dead ends, but instead holding out for another way until it appears in the form of a workable solution. The process of creativity may involve repeated “failure” but it doesn’t involve giving up. From a creative perspective, “failures” are instructive experiments, stepping stones in a process that finally leads to one workable idea, which is all that is needed.
To be creative is to stay open to new ideas and offbeat perspectives, trusting in the subconscious mind to finally “loosen the solution”.
Creativity unites patience, commitment, curiosity, persistence, and faith in the pursuit of what is beyond the conscious mind, until what is sought pops into consciousness in a kind of epiphany. There is no better tool to bring to the negotiation table.