Check the Ego at the Door

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Do yourself a favor, check your ego at the door before you walk into your next negotiation.

Two weeks ago I delivered a negotiation program to a group in my local area. In every program I deliver, we apply the knowledge through focused and tailored role plays. The group that I was with were no strangers to negotiation. Many of them had been in roles that require negotiation for 20 plus years. All of them did a fantastic job. But there was one thing that popped up and keeps popping up in each program I deliver.

Without fail there is usually one or two people that let there egos get the best of them in our role play situations. In the class 2 weeks ago, one of the participants got so offended by someone’s offer and the way it was delivered (which was designed to be that way through their instructions in the role play) that they walked away from the deal.

This would have been okay if the deal was bad and they had a BATNA to go to. Unfortunately they didn’t have a BATNA and the offer, even though it wasn’t ideal and wasn’t offered in a polite fashion, was still within a range that was acceptable.

By walking away, they bankrupted their organization.

They let their ego get bruised and got offended by the delivery of the offer after a long protracted negotiation.

It’s okay to get offended (as long as you manage it and don’t let your emotion get the best of you). But it’s not okay to walk away from a perfectly acceptable deal if there’s no BATNA and if the deal works.

You may say, “Well we’ll just find another deal!”

Unfortunately, sometimes, you don’t have that luxury.

And you may say, “Mark, obviously we would take a deal if it worked!”

But in the heat of the moment after a LONG and intense negotiation, sometimes we lose track of what’s most important. We let our guards down, we get flustered, we get frustrated, and our egos and emotions become vulnerable.

It’s okay to have emotion in a negotiation, but only if you can manage that emotion and not have it manage you.