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Seek Benefits for Both Sides in Negotiating Deals

Seek Benefits for Both Sides in Negotiating Deals

What is a reasonable goal in negotiation? Can both parties walk away from the table with even more value than they expected? Many professional negotiators prefer to aim towards what is known as a Win-Win solution. This involves looking for resolutions that allow both sides to gain.

Think about this as a possible goal: to create joint value and divide it give11 concerns for fairness in fhe relationship.

You may say to us, “Get real! My clients don’t do business that way!” or “Buyers are not interested in creating value, much less in being fair!” Or as the top salesperson for one of our Japanese clients once said: “You don’t understand; the Japanese buyer dictates what we do—and all he cares about is price! We don’t have any say.” So, if that’s what you’re thinking, we are not surprised.

However, we have convinced many top selling and purchasing organizations to adopt the reasonable goal in their negotiations. We’ve done this for one good reason: it works. Both sides benefit when you create joint value and divide it given concerns for fairness in the ongoing relationship. For example, if you’re trying to sell your product to a customer whose main concern is price, the customer can look at this negotiation in one of two ways. He can say, “My goal is to get the product for less,” and simply demand a lower price. If you, as the salesperson, accede to his demands, he’ll be happy because he’ll get what he wants, but you’ll be less happy because you won’t be making as much money as you had hoped or expected to make.

What if, however, the customer considers his goal to be “to create joint value and divide it given concerns for fairness in the ongoing relationship?” If he’s thinking along those lines, he may still suggest that you give him a deeper discount than you’re offering, but in return he might agree to a longer commitment or higher volume or provide you with access to other divisions of his company—options that would cost him nothing. In this situation, you are more likely to offer a better discount because you are getting more of his business. In fact, you would both come out of the negotiation with more than you anticipated going into it. The best win-win agreements often spring from presenting multiple offers rather than a single, lone offer or proposal. And, you would establish a positive relationship that is likely to bring you even more business in the future.

“It sounds all right in theory,” you say, “but does it really work in practice?” Yes, it does. Aiming to create joint value and divide it given concerns for fairness in the ongoing relationship changes the nature of the negotiation in positive ways. It helps you create and negotiate larger deals because it leads to tactics that are more likely to yield larger deals. As a result, even if it doesn’t work every time, in the end you make more money because the individual deals are larger. To guide these win-win perceptions, give your negotiation counterpart a voice in the decision process. Even when you are in a position of power, be sure to acknowledge your counterpart’s perspective and invite him to express his views, to suggest alternatives, and to react to initial proposals. Another benefit is the positive effect on the climate and tone of the negotiation as a result of sharing the goal with your customers. Of course, they tend to be very skeptical at first. But once you prove that you mean what you’re offering over the course of several negotiations, your sincerity not only makes individual negotiations easier and more productive but has a positive impact on the ongoing relationship.

Whatever the circumstances, in order for the situation to be a true win-win, both sides should feel comfortable with the final outcome.

Recommended Books on Negotiation

Posted in Life Hacks and Productivity

How to Enhance Your Power

How to Enhance Your Power

Here are four ways to enhance our ability to use power wisely:

  1. Teach others to use power wisely and transform them into partners. Teach them to ask the questions, who, what, when, where, and why to evaluate problems. Review problems from an intellectual and emotional standpoint. As you motivate and inspire people to action, you create a partnership because you share power.
  2. Go where the people are. Communicate directly with people. Ensure that others are not intimidated or punished when they express honest opinions. Don’t hide behind titles, office doors, financial successes, or an autocratic demeanor. Be accessible.
  3. Share knowledge. Knowledge shared is knowledge multiplied. When you share knowledge, you empower people to act on their own. Shared knowledge enables people to take a risk, expand an idea, and venture to a new horizon.
  4. Seek opposites. Don’t surround yourself with people who resemble you, who have similar beliefs and biases. Seek contrasts—people who have the skills and abilities you need, not just those who duplicate your talents.

You must use different kinds of power for different people and situations. Learn to be flexible, fair, ethical, and judicious. To be a leader who makes a difference, you must use your power wisely.

Posted in Education and Career Life Hacks and Productivity

How to Prepare Yourself for Future Opportunities

How to Prepare Yourself for Future Opportunities

Chance favors the prepared mind. “The prepared mind” is the characteristic of leaders who are outstanding in their talent to perceive, make sense, decide and act across a complex set of conditions. We also believe that “the prepared mind” is not a matter of chance. It is a matter of intentional preparation that requires developing eight mental skills regardless of your role.

How will you prepare for your tomorrow?

  1. You need the skill of observing because your world is more competitive. Execution-driven leaders often become so consumed by the pressures of running their projects and their organizations that they never pause to take a look at what’s going on around them. You may have mastered the core capabilities of your profession, and yet new technology might make these capabilities obsolete. List the capabilities you need to develop. Find a meaningful unifying purpose.
  2. You need the skill of reasoning because you need to reevaluate your assumptions. Data are useless without the skills to analyze them, reason, and make meaning of them. For example, are you thinking big enough? Take your situation and think bigger. Reasoning can complement problem-solving skills that you already have with a methodical approach to use with moral, ethical, organizational, or technical problems.
  3. You need the skill of imagining because you need alternatives to keep yourself sharp. Imagination is not a trait that we inherit in our genes or a blessing bestowed by the angels. It’s a skill. Be curious about everything—the world is full of amazing wonders for you to learn about. Creativity is at the heart of innovation. To improve this skill, list three combinations that would create something new and useful for you. Name one thing that you think you are too old to start. Are you really too old?
  4. You need the skill of challenging because expertise breeds conservatism. Challenging a group’s willingness to go with the first right answer can be major barrier to unleashing full creative potential. To improve the skill of challenging, list the constraints imposed on you. Who has already dealt with them? What did they do? What could you do?
  5. You need the skill of learning because new opportunities abound. Improved learning skills—concentrating, reading, and listening, remembering, using time, and more—are directly useful and will continue to pay dividends for a long time. What don’t you know that you should? List technologies, practices, or events that might provide insight. Learn about the future by studying some history. Also, list some mistakes or failures from your past. What did you learn from them?
  6. You need the skill of deciding because every decision has consequences, and no decision is a decision. Every solution brings about its own set of new problems. No leader knows enough about the future to make the most favorable decision every time, but it’s better to set a clear direction today and confront problems that crop up tomorrow. It’s not being afraid to fail; and if you do, identify it quickly and more ahead fast so no momentum is lost.
  7. You need the skill of enabling because all of us are smarter than any one of us, and “they” need the knowledge, means, and opportunity to help you reach your goals. Who needs your help, and how can they help you? Provide opportunities—delegate. Ensure that outcomes, actions and questions are properly recorded and actioned, and appropriately dealt with afterwards.
  8. You need the skill of reflecting because you learn more from understanding the reasons for your success and failure than you do from studying someone else’s best practices. Take a current problem and list possible answers. Now think like a beginner by asking dumb questions. Reflect on those questions and answers. The greatest strength of reflective leaders is their thoughtful and attentive nature, which means tremendous persistence to listen and take in information, the ability to connect the dots and garner eye-opening insights, and deep trust in their instinct, creativity, and thinking process.

Many leaders seem so besieged with their current workload that telling they prepare for the future may seem unreasonable. By preparing today to meet tomorrow’s challenges, they can set in motion a new leadership paradigm, one that will help leaders better cope with today.

Prepare your mind and then use your mind wisely. Leaders who focus on those eight basics will be prepared to encounter the unknowable challenges that lie ahead.

Posted in Education and Career Life Hacks and Productivity Management and Leadership

Save Yourself from Multitasking

Save Yourself from Multitasking

Most folks lack the self-discipline to focus on one thing at a time and stick closely to their plans. The younger generation has grown up multitasking wholly and especially knows how to do their physics homework, exchange messages on Facebook, download music on their iPods and IM each other all at once.

Multitasking is a myth. We overestimate our ability to do many things at the same time. Our brain is simply not engineered in a way that lets it perform multiple tasks simultaneously. While we may think we are multitasking, we are actually doing nothing more than just speedily switching between tasks, often at the cost of productivity, quality, and good sense.

Strangely enough, multitasking takes more time. It makes solving tough problems challenging. Activity is not the same as productivity. Therefore, multitasking is not efficient at all. That we feel we are multitasking is an illusion. In its place, we are hurriedly switching our focus back and forth between different tasks. We shift our attention from one task to the next in rapid succession.

Frequent multi-taskers have trouble switching between tasks. The helplessness to sift out the immediately previous task before taking on another activity causes multi-taskers to be slower than those not multitasking.

  • Systematize your thinking and try to focus on jobs. If you do not organize your thinking and your time, you can end up focusing on the urgent rather than the important.
  • Do not drive and talk on the phone — even if you are using a handsfree device. One academic study found that people using cellphones drive no better than drunks.
  • Reduce or do away with the notifications that take away your concentration. Configure your email program to stop checking for new email every five minutes. Each chime declaring a new email sidetracks you from other work, and is likely to move less important tasks to the top of your plans.

Divest yourself of all distractions and make significant progress on challenging projects. Better yet, reduce your stress levels. After all, multitasking is not just inefficient, it is stressful too.

Posted in Life Hacks and Productivity

Gifts are Crucial Marketing Tools

Gifts are crucial marketing tools. They can help your customers remember you throughout the year.

'101 Marketing Essentials Every Camp Needs to Know' by Jodi Rudick (ISBN 1585180394) Marketing consultant Jodi Rudick suggests five occasions when business gifts can help solidify relationships with your customers and build your business. Jodi Rudick is the author of 101 Marketing Essentials Every Camp Needs to Know.

  • After the sale: Saying thank-you does more than complete the sale. It helps build the relationship.
  • After receiving referrals: The biggest compliment a sales person can receive is a referral. Send a thank-you immediately after receiving a referral.
  • Anniversaries: Celebrate the day you signed your first contract with a customer, making it a special date to salute each year.
  • Birthdays: Send your customers some birthday cheer, but not just a card. Be creative — send an entire party kit, complete with customized cakes, candles, hat, etc. All the excitement can make them feel special.
  • Holidays: Thinking beyond the traditional can make you stand out. Send a card or a gift on Halloween. Send a decorative jar of candles for Valentine’s Day, then each month send a refill along with product information, or an article that would interest the customer.
Posted in Business and Strategy Life Hacks and Productivity

Standard Household Towel Sizes: Bath Towels, Wash Clothes

Standard Household Towel Sizes: Bath Towels, Wash Clothes Department stores offer towel collections that come with a variety of sizes, knitting style, cotton quality, and personalization details to fit the space, budget and personal preferences of buyers. Common household towels are made from cotton, rayon, bamboo, non-woven fibers or other organic materials. Most homes use three types of towels for each person in the household: bath towels, hand towels, and wash towels.

  • Bath Towel: Size: 27 by 52 square inches (about 69 by 132 square centimeters.) The bath towel is the indispensable, do-it-all towel used for drying after bathing, showering or swimming.
  • Bath Sheet: Size: 35 by 60 square inches (about 89 by 152 square centimeters.) Bigger and more indulgent that a standard bath towel, a bath sheet can provide more coverage after a shower or a bath.
  • Hand Towel: Size: 16 by 30 square inches (about 41 by 76 square centimeters.) Hand towels are used for drying the hands after washing them.
  • 'Carnival Towel Creations' by Carnival Cruises (ISBN 0615154581) Wash Towel or Wash Cloth: Size: 13 by 13 square inches (about 33 by 33 square centimeters.) Wash towels are used both in and out of a shower or bath by wetting, applying soap to the towel, and then using the towel to apply the soap to wash the face, hands, and the rest of the body. The particular utility of a hand towel is in its increased abrasion that can remove dead skin cells more effectively than direct application of soap on the skin and manual rubbing. Also called wash towel, face cloth, flannel, and face-washer (in Australia.)
  • Fingertip Towel: Size: 11 by 18 square inches (about 28 by 46 square centimeters.) Fingertip towels are smaller than hand towels and placed in guest bathrooms at refined residences as a replacement for hand towels.
  • Foot Towel or Tub Mat: Size: 27 by 52 square inches (about 69 by 132 square centimeters.) A foot towel or tub mat is a medium-size rectangular towel placed onto a bathroom floor to dry the feet for those coming out of a shower or a bath. Foot towels and tub mats are tightly woven and very absorbent. The foot towel or tub mat is usually a substitute for a floor rug, carpet, or bathroom mat. One of the difficulties with using a foot towel is that it might slip and slide around on tiled floors. Most foot towels cannot provide the friction and grip of a floor rug, carpet, or bathroom mat; hence, improved designs consist of an under-surface clutching design to improve grip.

Cruises Towel Animals Creations

'Towel Creations' by Holland America Line (ISBN B001M96NRW) Recommended Resources: ‘Towel Creations’ by Holland America Line. Carnival Cruises claims to have introduced considers towel animals as part of its trend-setting “Fun Ship” experience. Currently, Carnival Cruises, Holland America, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean, and Disney Cruise Line serve up towel creations to their guests. Each evening, as part of the turndown service, cabin attendants fold terry-cloth towels and washcloths into various shapes. These cruise lines also offer guidebooks filled with descriptive illustrations to help guests replicate these towel animal creations at home. Also recommended: ‘Carnival Towel Creations’ by Carnival Cruises.

Posted in Hobbies and Pursuits Life Hacks and Productivity

Top 10 Reasons Why You’re Most Likely Going to Fail

Reasons You are Most Likely Going to Fail

Your attitudes with respect to the projects you pursue in your life will have much to do with your immediate and long-term success. Life is too short. You have too much else going on to tolerate the consequences of your bad attitudes and the many annoyances that sap your attention and drain your energy.

Here are the top 10 reasons for failure and, more importantly, what you can do to steer clear of failure and succeed in your ventures:

  1. It’s not your passion. If it doesn’t make your heart beat fast or cause your mind to race when you’re trying to sleep, if you’re not obsessing about it day and night, you’re probably doing the wrong thing. The best managers have an internal locus of control—they believe they can fix whatever is wrong. Solution: Keep insisting on focusing on the positives and addressing the negatives.
  2. You don’t have an execution plan. Any lack of proficiency in execution can have serious consequences. Success does not necessarily go to the person who has the most elaborate plan. Success goes to the person who takes a plan and puts it into action. You need a vision, and you need to identify specific steps to make that vision become reality. Solution: Set clear goals and priorities and follow through.
  3. You’re waiting for it to be perfect. There are big differences between perfectionists and achievers. Perfectionism is not a beneficial quest of excellence. Perfectionists suppose that they should never make mistakes and that the highest standards of performance must always be achieved. Perfectionists have a hard time starting things and an even harder time finishing them. Solution: Aim for success, not perfection.
  4. You don’t understand what’s expected of you. To succeed, you need to acquire tools and processes to distinguish the underlying factors including the competitive space, to try to make sense of the data, and to respond to it. Solution: Talk to your “customers” to understand expectations, values, and needs. Be open to understanding what is expected of you and also where you can make the biggest contribution.
  5. You’re not willing to work hard and persevere. There is no other quality so indispensable to success of any kind as the quality of perseverance. Everything worth pursuing in my life has involved discipline and perseverance. Solution: Persevere in spite of difficulties, discouragement, and indifference.
  6. You suffer from the inability to organize the details. Your strategies and plans must be aligned with the vision to execute in order to prevent your plans from heading off-track. Solution: Start small. Do one specific thing. Effective projects start small.
  7. You’ll refuse to adapt. Keep learning. Keep growing. But more importantly, build a team of people including leaders that can be who you’re not. Solution: Don’t focus on the future; focus on the present.
  8. You’re unwilling to realize the opportunity cost and stop doing something else. Complexity is easy. Simplicity takes discipline. Solution: Don’t try to do too many things at once.
  9. You’re afraid of failure. When fear consumes you, it will cause you to do stupid things. You’ll let negativity distract you. You’ll embrace the known, and grow comfortable with mediocrity. Solution: Conceive of failure is an acceptable outcome. When things go wrong, reflect upon your performance. The “lessons learned” from failure analysis can be used to improve the process
  10. You won’t have the tough conversations or communicate with candor. If you’re afraid of providing constructive feedback and believe that criticism will demoralize staff, you may not be doing much to actively evaluate the status of your projects. Solution: Learn and practice techniques to present critical feedback in a non-threatening manner.

In both your personal and professional lives, you will encounter plenty of annoyances and hindrances to your success. You can take action to both reduce their number and their impact on your quality of life and build your success. Do not reject insight because it merely comes late.

Don’t believe that you are deemed to mediocrity, failure, and distress. With a little effort, you can get better—much better.

Posted in Education and Career Life Hacks and Productivity

A Checklist for Checklists: Developing, Drafting, Validating the Checklist

Checklist and Standard Operating Procedures

A checklist is not cast in stone. Modify it, enhance it, adapt it as needed. But, use it. If it is incorrect, change it. A checklist is critical when we are learning.

Develop a checklist and then put it to the test. Apply it, see the outcomes, and gauge the results. Does it avert errors? Does it create a better outcomes? Does it keep you on track? Does it help? Does it save time in performing the process and team-learning? Test the benefits, modify, and test again.

Phase 1: Developing the Checklist

  • Is each item:
    • a critical safety step and in great danger of being missed?
    • not adequately checked by other mechanisms?
    • actionable, with a specific response required for each item?
    • designed to be read aloud as a verbal check?
    • one that can be affected by the use of a checklist?
  • Have you considered,
    • adding items that will improve communication among team members?
    • involving all members of the team in the checklist creation process?

Phase 2: Drafting the Checklist

  • Does the checklist:
    • Utilize natural breaks in workflow (pause points)?
    • Use simple sentence structure and basic language?
    • Have a title that reflects its objectives?
    • Have a simple, uncluttered, and logical format?
    • Fit on one page?
    • Minimize the use of color?
  • Is the font:
    • Sans serif?
    • Upper and lower case text?
    • Large enough to be read easily?
    • Dark on a light background?
  • Are there fewer than 10 items per pause point?
  • Is the date of creation (or revision) clearly marked? Have you:

Phase 3: Validating the Checklist

  • Have you trialed the checklist with front line users (either in a real or simulated situation)?
  • Have you modified the checklist in response to repeated trials?
  • Does the checklist:
    • Fit the flow of work?
    • Detect errors at a time when they can still be corrected?
  • Can the checklist be completed in a reasonably brief period?
  • Have you made plans for future review and revision of the checklist?

Recommended Reading

'The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right' by Atul Gawande (ISBN 0312430000) ‘The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right’ by surgeon Atul Gawande. Dr. Gawande is authority on reducing inaccuracy, improving safety, and increasing efficiency in modern surgery and other lines of healthcare practices. As the world becomes increasingly complex, so do the problems that people and businesses face. Preventable failures are widespread, but Atul Gawande contends that personal- and professional-failures can be prevented. Using examples from the fields of surgery, healthcare, aviation, and other spheres of business, ‘The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right’ convinces that Training, organizational change, quality control can be dramatically improved through the adaptation of checklists, standard operating practices, and work instructions.

Also recommended: Beyond the Checklist by Suzanne Gordon, Patrick Mendenhall, Bonnie Blair O’Connor. The subtitle is ‘What Else Health Care Can Learn from Aviation Teamwork and Safety (The Culture and Politics of Health Care Work).’

Posted in Life Hacks and Productivity Management and Leadership

The First Hour is the Most Important Hour of Your Day

The First Hour is the Most Important Hour of Your Day

The attitudes that you wake up with set the tone of the rest of your day. The first part of the morning is very vital to your experience for the rest of the day for the reason that it establishes your attitude for the rest of the day.

Early birds are more proactive than evening people. Research has found that all early riders are more likely than night owls to stick to healthy routines and productive behaviors.

Other research has shown that we have a fixed amount of willpower and strength of mind that we can expend during the day. Therefore, this willpower reserve depletes during the course of the day resulting in poor motivation, difficulty in cerebral thought processes, wallowing away, and taking the path of least resistance.

Doing the most arduous tasks in the morning ensures the important things get done. Establishing a morning routine ensures that these routines keep you grounded and sane, productive, and balanced. Establish a morning routine and begin to feel more natural and less irreverent through the rest of your day.

Learn to love the morning and you may end up with a healthier, productive, and more balanced life.

Posted in Life Hacks and Productivity

How to Kindle Bright Ideas & Push Innovation


Each employee in your organization can be a significant innovator. In contrast to the widespread understanding of innovation and creativity, innovation can spring only when your organization has a predictable, dependable, and repeatable process and culture to promote innovation. By creating an environment that promotes innovation and sets specific goals in place, you can coach your employees to be innovators.

  • Shake off personal egos. Quite often, leaders overestimate their influence in the organization’s innovation process. They believe that they might hold the key to all innovations. The resulting perception among employees that their innovation ideas are subject to judgment is risky. A culture that encourages innovation should encourage risk-taking, experimentation, and a receptive management that welcomes ideas.
  • Convene many open forums. These brainstorming meetings are a great way to encourage ideas from everyone. Encourage your employees to collect ideas and thoughts in advance, and share them with the entire group. This makes it possible for other employees to do background research and come prepared with data, arguments, and counter-arguments. Thus, the brainstorming meetings are not fixated on only one idea. No employee dominates the conversations.
  • Set parameters and boundaries. Identify your vision of the organization to guide the innovation in your employees. Employees will feel empowered and be part of the cause.
  • Define, communicate, and administer a precise execution process for ideas selected for further pursuit. It is best to execute small, incremental changes that lead to long-term transformation of your organization. Consider three components of execution: create a team dedicated to the execution of innovative ideas, offer access to key resources of the organization, continuously evaluate the execution projects.
Posted in Life Hacks and Productivity