Mala Subramaniam is an Executive Coach, Speaker, and the author of “Beyond Wins: Eastern Mindset for Success in Daily Business Negotiations.” She’s also a proponent of the Eastern approach: Solution-oriented negotiation and problem-solving. To her, negotiation is an opportunity to build relationships while achieving business outcomes.
Mala believes that when you’re negotiating, you should only argue for something that you believe in. It isn’t just about “winning” over someone else.
The moral obligation: Is what you’re doing right?
Mala was presenting options for training to a client. Her proposal included eight coaching sessions and four training programs. But after their initial discussion, Mala realized they didn’t need more than two training programs. If she did four, she’d probably get $25,000. But she knew it wasn’t the right thing to do.
The realization she came to was that if she presented four programs, she wouldn’t be convincing. You need the conviction that what you’re doing is right. That builds trust and builds relationships.
Mala has had a relationship with this client for 11 years because she doesn’t oversell or take advantage. She focused on what she could do to help their organization.
Does win-win negotiation leave you open to manipulation?
Does the sole focus on being solution-oriented and service-minded open you up to manipulation from the counterparty? Will the counterparty use your goodwill as an opportunity to gain leverage and take more in the negotiation? What if one party has the mindset of meeting a need, and the other wants to take advantage?
Mala notes that desire is insatiable. If people are only thinking about what they want, they will never be satisfied. But if they think about what’s needed, they are problem-driven and solution-oriented. If you’re constantly focused on the other side taking advantage of you, you’re returning to a place of bargaining.
And bargaining isn’t negotiating. Bargaining is operating out of a place of fear. When you’re bargaining, you aren’t focused on building long-term relationships. You’re focused on winning at all costs. That’s what fear prompts.
You need to look at the problem and look at the proposed solution. How can you bridge the gap and arrive at the solution?
In episode #351 of the Negotiations Ninja podcast, Nala covers how you combat fear with courage, how your ego builds walls in negotiation, and tackles the issue of ageism in the workplace. Don’t miss it!