This week, Ducere founder Mat Jacobson shares his views on negotiations and how his negotiation skills helped launch the Ducere organisation, providing business and management diplomas to tertiary students.
Negotiating is something that happens everyday at Ducere HQ so it's no surprise Mat is an expert on the subject!
Having developed, built and sold numerous businesses both in Australia and overseas, I have experienced my fair share of negotiations over the years.
Through all of this experience, I have fortunately built up an international reputation for ethical interactions: initially building my career on a stron
g background in law, before moving onto industries such as sales, education and property development, I have been able to gain the attention of some of the world’s most elite business people.
When it came time to start my latest venture, Ducere my negotiation skills really helped me engage an enviable list of Global Faculty members including; billionaire Lindsay Fox, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and former Prime Minister John Howard.
Tips for negotiating
1. Know what you want
Like many things in life, the more information you have, the better prepared you will be. Take your time to do your research and have a clear vision of what your preferred outcome is.
Whether you are negotiating additional hours in a contract, or purchasing major capital assets for your business, the basics of this process should remain the same. Margaret Jackson, one of our esteemed Ducere faculty members, shared her insights:
“So you start with: what is the need and which is the best solution economically and operationally? And sometimes there can be some compromises along the way, but ultimately you want a highly reliable, fully functioning, capital asset that’s going to meet the need that you think you’ll have in the future.”
2. Don’t take it personally
It’s rare that a negotiation will ever be personal, so it’s important not to take it that way. However that’s easier said than done, especially when you are so close to your cause. Try and take a step back and deal in the facts; remember there is a big difference between negotiation and confrontation!
3. Be patient
Negotiations are a process and if you try to rush it, it’s likely you will walk away short-changing yourself. In fact, studies show that those who accept the first offer on the table end up regretting their haste. To ensure the best outcome, give yourself time to review any proposals, seek advice if you need it and be prepared to give the other parties the same courtesy.
4. Flexibility is key
While you should always enter a negotiation process with clear outcomes in mind, it’s also important to be flexible. Our Ducere Global Faculty member, Lindsay Fox, probably said it best:
“In any form of negotiation there is the principle of an icicle. An icicle is a rigid, non-movable object until the wind comes along and blows it to pieces and it crashes to the ground. Compared to a palm tree, which has the flexibility to compromise and in that compromise, is ultimately where you get the outcome.”
5. Remember the outcome
It’s easy to forget, in the heat of a negotiation, what a win-win outcome actually looks like. Of course there will be concessions and some things will be compromised along the way, but if you forget what you are ultimately there for, you will be negotiating forever!
Keep things simple, look for common ground and get creative about the ways to get there. A win-win outcome should leave you both walking away from the negotiating table with a feeling of achievement knowing you have set the path for the way forward for success.
Remember, negotiating is not like a boxing match with a clear winner; rather, it’s a collaboration between two parties with an aim to achieve a mutually beneficial result. At the end of the day, if you come to the table knowing what you want, what you are and aren’t willing to compromise on, and prepared to walk away if the other party isn’t prepared to be flexible, you’ve already got a head start and your negotiations are likely to be successful.
"Negotiating is not like a boxing match with a clear winner; rather, it’s a collaboration between two parties with an aim to achieve a mutually beneficial result..."