Negotiating with an enemy


Jake’s usually successful negotiation strategy was failing…

There was a $4 billion deal on the table and at the rate things were going, Jake wasn’t going to see any of it.

Across the table from Jake was Ricardo. Currents of suspicion, distrust and mild hostility flowed between them. Then Ricardo said, “No,” blocked the deal, and it was over.

Jake showed up at my place to find out what he did wrong.  He wanted to learn how to negotiate with an enemy.

Jake’s problem was that he had incorrectly identified the enemy.  He thought it was Ricardo, a man Jake described as stubborn, old-school, narrow-minded and doesn’t know how to cut a deal.

Jake’s opinion of himself was much more flattering.  He saw himself as a visionary. He thought the problem was that Ricardo couldn’t deal with a visionary.  

The real problem is that Jake didn’t know how to make effective communication happen. He believed it depended on the other person, how open they are, their ability to understand, their ability to communicate, etc...

If you pin effective communication, and therefore your outcomes and therefore your life, on the other person’s ability to communicate, you’re going to be very unhappy.

Anytime you depend on the environment or other people to make something happen, you put your life in their hands. This is a strategy that will lead to disappointment a good percentage of the time.

Happiness requires that you sit in the Director’s Chair of your life.

In the Director’s Chair, you have the power to make things turn out so you’re truly satisfied, regardless of initial opposition, resistance or blindness.

Jake’s REAL enemy was thinking that because he’s been talking his whole life, he knows how to communicate.  As Jake discovered, he was wrong.

People often tell me communication “didn’t work.” What they’re really saying is what they think is communication didn’t work. Communication always works. You just have to know the formula (yes, there is a formula) for making it happen.

It’s not one skill, it’s a package of skills. And when you execute on this package of skills, you get understandings that automatically lead to agreement, commitment and action. If you’re not getting that, you’re not communicating.

After three days of coaching and watching the difference between his “before” and “after” videos, Jake could clearly identify what REAL communication is and what he’s been missing. More importantly, he knows how to make it happen.

Jake went back and in less than five minutes of talking with Ricardo, he got a completely different result. Ricardo was now on board. There was trust and credibility.

Ricardo was never the enemy.  Ignorance was. Once Jake dealt with THAT enemy, the obstacles vanished.

Being causative means being able to make what you want to happen. Ignorance of how to do that is the only enemy standing in your path.

Be the cause!