I had the honor to deliver the keynote speech at the National Electrical Contractor’s Association (NECA) Convention earlier this month in Las Vegas, NV. I also had a great time. Excerpted here is a blog from NECA’s website that outlines some of the tools & strategies I imparted to the group. You can read the piece in its entirety here.
Excerpt: Negotiator-extraordinaire Stuart Diamond brought his “people first” philosophy to the 2012 Labor Relations General Session today, in a detailed discussion of the mistakes we make and how to adjust our approach to negotiating, from the mundane to the high-stakes.
“Negotiations aren’t between opposing sides or forces. They’re between people,” Diamond said. “When we start by recognizing everyone’s basic humanity, we start getting more.
“Start with three questions, and three statements when you negotiate: Are you happy? Because we’re not. Second, are you making money? Because we aren’t. Third, if you had this to do over, what would you do differently?”
Diamond’s presentation was based on the principles outlined in his bestseller Getting More and specific questions from NECA chapter managers about challenges they have faced during labor negotiations. He reiterated that negotiation never really stops with colleagues since communication and relationship management is integral to negotiations. “If you start 90 days out from when the contract expires, you’re already setting yourself up for failure,” he said.
Diamond has extensive experience assisting with conflict-resolution on vital international interests, and one of his observations from his time with U.S. forces in Afghanistan got the audience’s attention. “It’s an exercise I call Dreams and Fears,” he said. “When you know the other side’s dreams and fears – as people, not representatives of some kind of organization – you realize how much more you can help them, facilitating their sense of goodwill towards you. In Afghanistan, the local negotiators’ dreams – their needs – included laundry detergent and Gatorade. Meaning we can save American soldiers’ lives by learning where the roadside bombs are, what threats the Taliban is making, just with detergent and Gatorade. Ask what their needs are. And let them know you’re there to help meet their needs.”
From everything to calming a scared child to dealing with grudges, Diamond starts negotiations from the premise that everyone at the table is human, affected by human foibles and basic needs for respect and appreciation. Threats, manipulation and inflexible demands can’t be a part of successful negotiations, he said.
“You are the least important part about the negotiation,” he said, smiling. “By putting the focus on other needs’, you’ll work your way to the results you want every time. It’s scalable, where success and cooperation lead to more success. It won’t be a home run every time. But it does work.”