The key to success: Negotiations


The feedback I received for my last article was to keep it simple and to be less technical. So, this time the topic might again appear too technical but trust me I’m going to keep it simple.

Negotiation is a process where each party involved in negotiating tries to gain an advantage for themselves by the end of the process. Negotiation is intended to aim at compromise. Actually, the most important negotiations we have — the ones that determine the quality of our lives and the impact of our actions — are the ones we have with ourselves. Learning to communicate well and to influence other people are essential skills in business but even more fundamental to our success is learning to negotiate effectively with yourself.

Negotiating with yourself? Yes, you read it right. It might sound strange but more of life’s deeper understanding and better success comes from mastering this skill. If you have an argument with yourself, who wins?

Let’s start. Can you think examples of “negotiating with yourself?”  It’s not hard to come up with a list once you think about it. The list begins with trivial issues like “Can I sleep for 5 more minutes after the alarm?” “What do I have for lunch?” and moves into serious issues like “Should I look for a new job?” “What electives do I take up?”

Welcome to the inner tug of war. Be it even the ordinary business of every day, there are inner commentators competing for your attention. At times they speak nicely but often their voices debate each other like hostile adversaries on Times Now debate. These are “inner negotiators” which have a range of styles, motivations, and rules of engagement. Most importantly, they have their own interests and preferred outcome.

We can broadly categorize these inner negotiators into 4 categories. These inner negotiators govern your capacity to dream about the future, to analyse and solve problems, to build relationships with people, and to take effective action. Each one enables you with its own skills, unique characteristics, and particular values about leading and living. The key to success lies in honing “The Big Four” which are:

  • The Chief Executive Officer: your inner Dreamer
  • The Chief Financial Officer: your inner Thinker
  • The Vice-President of Human Resources: your inner Lover
  • The Chief Operating Officer: your inner Warrior

The Dreamer is led by intuition, the creative part which sees the world full of possibilities.

The Thinker is led by reason and equips you to analyse and evaluate information.

The Lover is led by emotion and knows how to manage relationships.

The Warrior is led by willpower, and excels at taking action. In the work world, the inner Warrior steps forward to tell the hard truth, to take a stand for your values, and to roll up your sleeves to get things done.

Despite the temptation to ask yourself “Am I dreamer? Or Thinker?” aren’t the right questions.  You have all of these inner negotiators in you. The right questions are:

  1. How do the Big Four operate in me today?
  2. How do I tap more of their skills and inner wisdom in the future?

These questions will help you manage your inner conflict better and yield positive results.

So, the most important negotiation in your life is “getting to yes” with yourself. When you learn how to do that, you’ll start winning at everything else.



7 thoughts on “The key to success: Negotiations

  1. Sivadas Balakrishnan

    I summoned my dreamer,thinker,lover and warrior for a review meeting after reading your article.Simple and good.way to go abhi.


  2. greyzoned/angelsbark

    This is a great post! I made my living in negotiations for the better part of my career. I love negotiating. I never heard the concept of the Big Four though: GREAT STUFF!


  3. I know those internal characters quite well. The first step is acknowledging that they exist and then silencing the chatter to hear beyond the clutter and see the truth. There comes a point a in time that we control them instead if them controlling us and then we can use them in our favor. Great post


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