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Perspective helps you keep your eye on the prize


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 few months, we will bring you the traits needed to succeed at the art of negotiating.

(Courtesy of PersonalEmpowerment.co)

89 Perspective

Perspective enables you to see the true relationship between things and also the relative importance of things in a negotiation. It is a “helicopter view” of things on the ground that keeps you from being stuck in the trenches, unable to see over the next hill.

When an event occurs, we generally sense its implications from three perspectives:

Pervasiveness: How it pervades into spaces that affect or influence me and how it affects me directly.

Permanence: Is it transient and able to be ignored, or is it a permanent form of what is, or who I am?

Personalisation: Does this actually affect me and what I want to happen in my life, or will it sail past me into a “black hole” of insignificance and either be of minimal, temporary effect, or no meaningful effect at all?

A broader perspective gives you greater clarity and freedom to manoeuvre in a negotiation. A chess master can think ten moves ahead. A novice only sees the move he is contemplating now, and a possible counter-response. A broader perspective shows things in their true light and proportion. From a limited perspective, giving way to the other party on a point or issue can seem like a loss. But a broader perspective may reveal it as the sacrifice of a pawn that moves you toward your greater objective.

Without perspective, you may miss the significance of simple but important details and gestures in a negotiation, and fail to adapt to them or take advantage of them. Without perspective, a negotiation  can  bog  down or go off track. Minor issues may seem major in the moment, assume greater importance than they really have, and become unresolvable. A temporary obstacle may seem like a dead end. A manageable challenge may seem insurmountable. A speed bump may become a deal breaker. An unpleasant exchange that could be overlooked or smoothed out may derail the negotiation and end the relationship between parties.

Perspective keeps you grounded, humble, and optimistic in victory and in defeat, and allows you to learn important lessons from both. If you win a negotiation but alienate the other party in the process and ruin the possibility of what might have been a profitable long-term business relationship, is it a true victory? If you lose a negotiation and learn an invaluable lesson that helps you in future negotiations, have you really lost? Winning and losing, and how you respond to both, are often a matter of perspective.

Perspective tells you it’s not all about winning or losing in conventional terms. It’s also about the lessons you learn, the skills you develop, the character you cultivate, and the reputation you establish over the course of a career.

It tells you that argument and confrontation are poor negotiation strategies because they spoil the relationships that are the foundation of a negotiation, a reputation, and a career. It tells you that integrity is more important than ego, that fairness is more important than winning, that character is more important than money.

Perspective is knowing that things change, things pass, that whatever happens now is part of a larger process, that every ending is a new beginning, and that, in the bigger picture, most of what happens in or out of a negotiation really is “small stuff.”

An ancient parable tells of a king who asked a sage for a phrase that would give him perspective in all situations – a phrase that would keep him humble when all was going his way, which would steady him in times of crisis, and comfort him in times of loss. “Come back tomorrow,” the sage told the king. The king returned the next day and the sage handed him a ring on which were inscribed the words, “This too shall pass.”


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