The Role of Internal Factors in Negotiation Outcomes: A Lesson from History

 The art of negotiation is much like the fortresses of old, built with solid walls to repel invaders and protect its inhabitants. Teams prepare rigorously, arm themselves with data, and formulate a strategy to safeguard their interests. Yet, just as history teaches us that even the most impenetrable fortress can be breached if compromised from the inside, negotiations can fail miserably if internal dynamics are not adequately managed. Psychological factors like fear, greed, or avarice can critically undermine an otherwise well-prepared negotiation strategy.

The understanding that internal factors can influence negotiation outcomes isn't just an esoteric observation; it's a vital consideration for anyone in a leadership role aiming to secure favorable deals. Whether you are a physician negotiating with suppliers or a hospital executive forging partnerships, recognizing and addressing these internal weaknesses becomes imperative for success. 

In a world where technology and...

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Behaviors You Need while Negotiating

The outcome of any negotiation is in part the result of the behaviors we display at the negotiating table. Our behaviors can reveal information about what we are thinking and feeling. The most dangerous behaviors are those that indicate we feel fear. Those behaviors weaken our position and betray us at the negotiation table. To improve your results at the negotiation table, use practice and implement these behaviors and you’ll witness the results your negotiations improving over time.

No talking. When you’re asked a question, answer the question as succinctly as possible and then stop talking. Get comfortable with dead air. Silence can be uncomfortable for some people. When they become uncomfortable, they will fill the space with words. Don’t do that. Let them do that. Always be friendly and engaging, but be careful what and how you give answers and share information. Avoid planning your response to them. Take your time and listen to what it is they are...

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This One Thing Will Kill Your Negotiations Every Time

As I help physicians with their negotiations, I’ve noticed one thing that seems to take them all off the rails and sour the talks. Unfortunately, it’s common behavior for most folks. We learn early in childhood to rely upon these habits. To be fair, these habits do at times protect us, but at the negotiation table, they can hurt us.

Assumptions & Expectations

Those dangerous habits are holding assumptions and then creating expectations based upon those assumptions. These two beliefs will do more to torpedo our negotiations and here’s why.

Assumptions arise from the false belief that we know everything there is to know about a negotiation. We often tell ourselves that we know what the other side will or will not accept or consider. We believe we know exactly how they think and will respond. We assume a lot about the other side. Often these assumptions are based on past experiences, yet we rarely if ever test those assumptions.

I’m not surprised by the...

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How I Set Goals and Objectives

Since the new year is almost upon us, I thought I would share how I go about setting goals and objectives. It’s a simple process, and I’ve found it to be reliable and successful.

Start with Mission and Purpose

If you have been following my work for a while, you’ve heard me use the term mission and purpose. I use these words because they have specific meanings and help me stay focused. My mission is the what I am doing. It’s the thing I actually do. It’s my writing. It’s my teaching at conferences. It’s providing patients medical care. The purpose is the why I do these things.

For my writing and teaching activities, my mission and purpose are:

Mission - create educational material that raises the business intelligence of the consumer

Purpose - help the client have the business they desire

For my medical practice, my mission and purpose are:

Mission - provide safe and effective anesthesia to the patient

Purpose - enable the patient to...

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How to Keep Yourself Safe in Any Negotiation

Safe decision making is essential for any negotiation. If the outcome is to be meaningful and profitable, you must make solid decisions, your team, and the adversary. Unfortunately, sometimes we can get into trouble and make poor decisions. When we do just that, we get into trouble.

Why we get in trouble 

The first step toward poor decision making in a negotiation is your mindset. Your mindset is how you think and feel about any person, place, thing, or event. Control your thoughts and emotions, and you’ll control your actions. Work on developing a growth mindset when you’re negotiating, and you’ll go a long way towards avoiding the display of neediness and fear at the table. When you don’t feel fear, your decision making becomes clearer and safer.

The next step is to avoid having any assumptions and expectations. These two stumbling blocks come from a fixed mindset; one in which you believe you have all the answers and know exactly how the negotiation...

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Avoid Making Assumptions When Youโ€™re the Leader

Recently, I was having a conversation with a friend about some very controversial issues facing our business. At the end of our of coffee, he said he started the conversation planning on dismissing everything I was about to say. He assumed he knew what I was going to say and the reasons behind my statements. He was asking me for advice, but rather than preparing to listen; he was spending time making his rebuttal and prove his point. I could tell his defenses were up and it would be fruitless to argue with him point by point. Instead, I helped him see the situation differently by asking questions. He said he caught himself holding an assumption about me and the situation when I asked a specific question he hadn’t expect. It jarred him, woke him up if you will.

Too often in life, in leadership, and in negotiations, we assume we have all the knowledge and information available or needed. Many times we don’t listen to the other side or anyone else because we’ve...

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Emotions Are Dangerous in a Negotiation

Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate. - John F Kennedy

Negotiations are stressful. They’re challenging, and you might frequently feel as if you have been backed into a corner. Like any other creature that might feel trapped, we get emotional. Emotions can lead to behaviors and thoughts that can harm our interests. Many times we are not even aware of our feelings while at the negotiating table.

Emotions are natural, and most of the time they can help protect us, but in negotiations, they frequently hurt us. The two most dangerous emotions we experience at the negotiation table are fear and greed. Both come from a fixed mindset and focus our attention on ourselves and our needs. A skilled negotiator will pick up on our emotions much like an experienced poker player can read other players “tells.” Therefore, we must control our emotions or rather how we display our emotions. Honestly, that is easier said than done.

Be Aware to...

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