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LinkedIn Live Myths about negotiation
negotiator, negotiation, people, alan, myth, hostage negotiation, nadine, coach, good, hostage negotiator, mistakes, experience, teach, dan, talking, client, deal, mindset, learning, skills
And we are live a very good evening to you all who are listening to us today. I’m Nadine Powrie. And I’m going to be the host. And I have two amazing guests today, Alan and Dan, is it a very good morning to you? It’s fantastic. Couldn’t be better. Here’s what I mean. I’m in the middle of a blizzard. It is a beautiful morning. And you’re boosting America.
I’m in the East Coast and Blacksburg, Virginia.
And I’m in the Midwest in Kansas.
a I’m currently Dubai
So thank you so much, both of you for accepting to be on my LinkedIn live. And I think we should declare that I don’t know you. I have never met you. And we never communicated with each other except like three weeks ago, when I contacted you to invite you on mining deny, and straightaway, you said yes. So I’m very grateful for for saying yes. And I’d love to know a little bit about you. If you want to share with anybody who is listening to us if you want to share what you are doing Alan and Dan so that people know and understand who you are.
Well, since Wow, you have a zone and you don’t even know us that could be great. Or it could be a disaster. Could be a big mistake. Correct? I actually, I actually trust that you’re going to say something that is very interesting about negotiation, we’ll save the best for last. So I’ll go first.
I teach for the last 15 years I’ve been teaching, training and coaching negotiation to all kinds of companies stopped counting after 500 companies I’ve worked with. They span every kind of industry, except for one which is restaurant, don’t ask me why I kind of made a subconscious or conscious decision to stay away from restaurants. Everything else is fair game. Anywhere from startups to $5 billion companies, global corporations, I trained the sales team procurement team, customer service executives,
on negotiation, that’s what I do.
I have a,
I have a little bit
of a in America, we would say I have one foot in each canoe. So I’m currently an active duty law enforcement officer in America, and I am a hostage negotiation commander. I’ve been a hostage negotiator for 12 years have been in law enforcement for 20. And at the same time, about a decade ago, I started serving private businesses. So applying what I knew, to their situations. And that’s a, that’s a big jump.
And I’ve been doing that for long enough to know that there’s a big difference. Some of the things apply. Some don’t we’ll probably talk about that. And I tend to work with a lot of design professionals in construction management professional. So in America, we call it eight E. C, architects, engineers and construction managers. I work a lot with basically people that provide professional services.
So I tend to have a practice is more focused on the tactics and techniques, and strategy. And Alan tends to start with much more complex strategy, and then comes to good tactics and techniques to execute.
We hooked up about two years ago, really just talking. And one thing has led to another where we have a we formed a partnership and alliances, and we trained executives how to negotiate. And we also work with teams, so they can build a negotiation culture. Okay, thanks for that. And I was talking to Alan, while we were waiting to come online. And on your post on LinkedIn, I’ve noticed that you talk about each other step, brother, and I was wondering if you were if you had, you know, a family link. And in fact, you purely have a business relationship together?
Well, I don’t know if I’d say that. I I think it transcends business. We keep each other real, we keep each other honest and and, and engaged. So we hold each other accountable like family should.
It’s just that we don’t share a mother or father
at all. But I think what happened was when we started hanging out online, we have a community that we that we facilitate, I think it’s best word, it’s called the negotiation tribe. This is for anybody that wants to learn about negotiations, no matter what their skill level is, and
we agree on I don’t know
99% of substance, right? But our styles are very different. And our styles that
The Clash of styles, which is great for students to see it done different ways,
produces some pretty funny banter back and forth. And if you’re on LinkedIn, some pretty funny pictures that Alan makes of me. I have to admit they’re funny. They’re not very flattering. Okay. Okay, so so when I contacted you, then we had a pre conversation. And we thought that talking about me in negotiation would be a good one.
Why is Why is talking about me, it’s a good topic when we talk about negotiation, in your opinion, because so many people get such such basic fundamentals wrong.
Because of persistent myths, if that, if they had it wrong, it wouldn’t matter. But it undermines their ability to negotiate and create strong agreements. Alan, and I have focused our practice in the last year on that, on identifying myths, rescuing the little bit of truth that’s in every myth, right? And then the busting the rest of it. And then helping people have better habits and cultures. So we think it’s critical to take a step back and and think about how you approach deal making with uncooperative or potentially uncooperative humans.
Okay, Alan, you’re very quiet. Well, the thing is, it’s a very good question, Nadine.
This may not be the answer you’re looking for, but no amount of Terios.
No amount of tactics, no amount of knowledge and no amount of strategy will help you if you or your team believe in the wrong thing.
Now give you an example. Example is,
is actually right on this topic today. Right about this topic. And you brought us on and I want to clarify something for your listeners. Because I think on the on the post one time you talk about
negotiation, but then on one post, I think I, when I read it, it could easily mislead people to think I’m a hostage negotiator. I am not. I’m a Business negotiator than as a hostage negotiator with a lot of business experience. So one of the myths, Nadine, and new myth that have formed in the last few years is that everything is a hostage situation. Even yesterday, I heard a marketing company, say your clients you are trying to you are you are trying to freedom from the money, they have your money, and they’re holding your money hostage, and you have to approach that and now in a hostage negotiation manner.
That mindset is, it’s very, very dangerous, you start to think you’re entitled to your customers money, and now you’re going to try to free them from the money. And what we teach is exactly opposite
is we teach about consent, we talk about giving people the right to say no or to reject us. And that means that their money is their money. And we are not there to free the money from them. That is an erroneous approach to negotiation right there. That mindset that treating everything as a hostage negotiation, can be very dangerous. Are there skills that you can use? Absolutely. Just like that skills from teaching that you can bring into negotiation. Just as there are skills you can bring in from neuroscience and decision making, just as there are skills that you can bring in from storytelling.
But if you don’t know where the line is, and the line is very thick, yet a lot of people crossed that.
And they don’t they don’t know the danger of it. And that’s why Nadine, you will never see me try to be a hostage negotiator even though I’ve been doing this for 15 years.
Very different. Okay. Okay. So what in your what in your eyes? And in your experience? What is the myth number one, about
I think the biggest one is, is how we approach negotiation. And people. People confuse how we approach negotiation with the outcome.
The outcome they talk about is we would like to have a win win negotiation. Basically, what they’re saying is we want you to have everything you want and everything I want. The reality of that is you get a little bit of you don’t you get a little bit of what you want, and I get a little bit of what I want. Basically, we both compromise and try to come in agreement. And I often hear even politicians say
how can we negotiate if you’re not willing to compromise? They are equating negotiation. And one of the one of its most important aspects is to to be willing to compromise. And that’s not
While we coach. And so the first myth is to believe that Win Win negotiation or the approach of an over negotiation. As a win win is a good idea is actually a horrible idea.
It’s a great outcome. It’s a horrible idea to approach it as a win win. First of all, Nadine,
we’re not competing. So there is no winner and losing. My customer wants to do something, I want to do something else. I want to help them get what they want. We’re not competing. When I go buy a car, I don’t I want a car. The salesperson doesn’t want to keep the car, the salesperson wants to help me find the right car. There’s no competition here. There’s no winning or losing. It’s just a matter of can he help me find a car that I want for my lifestyle? And can we help him? Correct. And that’s the danger. There’s a danger because we work with a lot of different clients. And it’s very common for them to say, Well, I’m just looking for a win win. And what we tell them is no, you judge your outcome on whether everybody got strong value. But it’s not a that’s not a process a system. Those are guiding principles that will keep you safe, because there are a win lose negotiators. And they never arrive wearing their win lose suits. They always show up with the sheepskin on that says win win. In fact, in my life, I’ve had several people say, Well, we’re looking for a win win here. And every time they were a shark.
So we don’t we don’t advocate that as a system or a process or anything, any kind of guiding principles. It is merely a one metric to judge if we have a strong agreement at the end.
Big difference. So
okay, I in one of my post, I wrote down myths one, great negotiators are born. So we are born negotiators. Is that to me?
I would want to know more like I would want to know more about the myth. Like
tell me more about it at it’s a little bit like
you, you don’t have to do any training. You’ve just got it right. You know, yeah, okay. Yeah, right. Okay. Yeah. Okay. So in our book in our book,
We agree. There’s one of our myths, we talk about talent. Now, the thing about myth is I alluded to this myth is an absolutely required and fundamental human experience. Like every culture has myths to explain things that are mysterious, right? To give meaning to our world when we’re confused. It’s so myth as it were, is great. Right? Santa Claus is a powerful myth, a story that we tell children that teaches them really important things. And we shouldn’t discard it just because it’s not 100%. True. There’s some truth in it. So Alan, I when we started, like writing books, and we started putting our system together based on the two systems that we each had, like combining them and doing that hard work. One thing we know is that inside of every myth, there’s a little bit of truth. And what we don’t want to do is throw the myth out and lose the truth. So you have to like you have to mind you have to mind into the myth, find the truth, get it out, use it, like make that a part of your system, and then reject the things that aren’t true and that undermine you. So this great negotiators are born, the truth of it is, is that there are skills, there are certain things that we need to do there’s temperament, emotional regulation, that that all add together to make us great negotiators. And we don’t all start at the at the start line at the same place. Some people are more talented at those things.
But the the troubling false hood, which you’ve already identified is, is that then therefore, nobody can work on it. You can’t train it, you can’t teach it, you can’t learn it, and you’re stuck. If you’re a good negotiator, you’re a good negotiator. And if you’re a bad negotiator, you’re a bad negotiator. And that’s it. And the truth of the matter is, is that there are proven ways to teach people all of the skills and knowledge they need to be an amazing negotiator. Even if basis on the basis of talent. They’re not that great to start. And you can be somebody with a lot of talent who can’t perform and you lose that talent over time because you don’t exercise it and sharpen it. We’ve I’ve seen both. So it’s definitely a perishable skill. Talent plays a small role. I think discipline and craft is far outstrips talent in my experience. So but no, so yes, the longest longest answer ever have. So yeah, we agree that’s a myth. But, but the thing about it is it’s the truth that matters. Because myth can teach you that little truth and then that’s powerful. And then you got to reject everything else. So
Alan, do you want to? Do you want to add anything? Yeah, I think Dan did a fantastic job summarizing that in a very succinct and concise manner.
Let me let me add a little bit to it.
I think if we look at, we look at all the people around us, and I don’t have a research to support it. I just had a chat with Gary Messner about it one time during our lunch. And, and, and, and the conclusion is this.
There’s a percentage of people around us, whether it’s the way they raised,
whether it’s what they have observed in life around, and they absorb that a good part of how to make deals with people and how to be influential, and how to convince people to do things that other people may not want to do. There’s a small percentage of people around us that can do that, and do that really well. But they don’t have a process. And they don’t really know how to teach anyone to do it.
Then there’s a mass majority. And Gary said, maybe about 50% of the people out there, they are not good. But they know it, and they’re willing to learn and you can help them.
And then there’s another the last bit about 25%, he calls it 2550 25 25%. Like good out there that great and they you know, you want to you want to be able to hire these people are salespeople, and they can make deals, they they connect with people to build rapport, they’re influential, they’re, they’re persuasive.
And then there’s the lower 25%. It may not be 25. But I agree with that. It could be 10, it could be 15. But these people have no desire to to improve negotiation. Their emotional state prevents them from making good deals or working with people. Right? And so therefore, there’s a group of people, it’s going to be very difficult to do that. So when people say, yeah, you can train anyone to be a negotiator not really true. No, really true. And and to say that some people are not born with it. That’s, that is maybe not completely true, either. Because some people have a natural disposition to want to work with people, the more collaborative, and then they observe life lessons, and they are naturally good negotiator.
If you think about it,
negotiation is a relatively new topic, even the UN, right? It’s true that the idea of peacekeeping is a relatively new concept internationally.
But Have people been making deals for thought 10s of 1000s of years? Yes, 1000s of years, people have been making deals without negotiation books. Surprise, surprise.
So we talked about 2550 25. And it seems that those in the middle, we can train them
over a period of time to become better negotiator. So what’s, what’s the difference? I mean, can those in the middle ever close the gap with those 25%? At the top?
Absolutely. Look, this look? Well, we’ve seen it. We’ve seen it, we’ve done it. Yes, we have. I mean, we have students like like that all the time. All the time, that main thing is, are they willing? And are they able that if you ask me if I nail it down?
Are they willing and able to make difficult decisions?
If they are not, they cannot be good negotiators. Period.
That’s a if you asked me to lay one attribute, are they willing and able to make difficult decisions, if you’ve seen some people who are afraid to make decisions, they’re indecisive.
That’s that that’s, that’s very poor, because then they and they can influence other people and decisions. Forget it. But if they’re willing, and they’re able to make difficult decisions, even if it’s a poor decision, they can make the next one and get back on track and, and make a good decision from there.
One thing we look at, so we can’t supply people’s motivation to get better.
We can model that behavior. We can demonstrate capability or put them in situations or with other people that are successful, or they can say, oh, I want that. But that’s internalized. We can provide everything else like Alan and I have done it. Right, we’re very confident if we’re confident is because we’re experienced. But what we’ve learned is not all of our students succeed. And the and I think this is your question, what separates them is that internalized motivation and the willingness to make hard decisions?
That’s the one thing we can’t just give people. They’ve got to have it.
If we’re talking about 2550 25, or whatever those percentage breakdown to the reason why people can get stuck in that lower bar is that
are not willing to have the discipline and the in the mindset, and and the courage to make hard decisions, including the decision to improve themselves. So, okay, well as, as an educator, I would go a little bit further than that, I think yes, it’s about the mindset totally agree with you. It’s about the willingness to change and to be different. I agree. But I think it also, it also depends how you are taught.
And perhaps, you know, you two have tremendous skills, that must be making a significant difference in the training that you’re delivering. I just don’t believe that mindset is enough to get from the 50% to the 25%. I think that you need to have amazing people in front of you, to facilitate that move to become better. I think
that absolutely, we agree. That’s why I said at the beginning that that strategy and tactics are important, but without mindset, it’s useless. So you can have processes, you can have frameworks, you can have systems. But when you have an individual who does not believe in something, nothing will move that person, I have a client, who hired me to train one of the account managers. And account manager says, I can never negotiate and win a deal. If the buyer is a woman.
He just drained out he said in many times. So how, how exactly is this guy going to go into a procurement team, and the buyer is a female, how’s he going to his belief, he just, he will come back, limiting, basically just comes back? We’re screwed. The buyers a lady, there’s going to be no deal.
He eliminated a 50% of the population.
So how do you change somebody’s mindset? Sadly, sadly, he is one of the best salesperson?
Could you imagine how much better he could be?
If he could overcome that mindset?
So to answer your question, Nadine, it’s it’s way trickier. So this is the work of the negotiator is shaping vision, helping people see things differently and feel differently about it, and then they will change their mind. But you can’t change their mind for them. You can’t force them into that situation, to get them to see the world differently. They’ll just resent it and resist it. So yeah, I think it’s, yeah, it changed. It’s changing the mind. It’s also changing perception, isn’t it? And assumption, people, people use the data. And as well, you know, it’s one of the that’s the one of the trickiest human activities, is to help other human beings change their mind. Because it is not a straight line. It’s not a straight line, and you don’t control the process.
You participate in the process. And
that’s, that is that’s negotiations applied to the hardest sort of negotiation problem.
So and then what do you do when you have a client who tells you something like that?
So this is, this is how I do what I do. And there are some people they like, and they enjoy, and they find maybe some satisfaction
in changing people’s mind.
I have a lot of opportunities.
So I don’t even I don’t I don’t chase that errand is not an errand I, I want to spend my time think about it, though. Okay, can we influence it? By nature? That’s what we want to do. We want to make good decisions and influence a decision, but not necessarily change the mind. This is there’s a very subtle nuance. There’s a nuance there. If someone says, I don’t ever want to sell to a female buyer.
Nadine, we have I have 100 people to work with, why would I want to work with that account manager? So the first thing I do is, I invite him, No, this is what I teach. I don’t believe in that. If you’re interested. I work with you and we’ll overcome that obstacle.
If they say no, then they’re off my team. I’m not going to chase them. I don’t have that kind of time. Nadine.
I want the person who goes, Alan, I’m struggling with this. And I need help. Help me, boom. This is not changing minds. I’m giving capabilities skill sets and habits. I’m not going to I’m not going to go to person who goes I do not believe in negotiation. Now coach me on negotiation.
We get that all the time.
So yeah, it starts with people wanting to change and being prepared to to look at themselves reflect and wanting to get better without that. It’s a no no. First I go to someone like Tony Robbins, get motivated, they want to change and then they go hey, Alan, I know this is an area I need help with help me but I am I an emote motivational coach. No, I’m not
I’m a horrible one, it’d be a mistake to come to me for motivation.
Oh, so so so what sort of
sorry? What sort of coach are you, then? I’m a negotiation coach. Someone wants something and they want to know, they want to know how I can help them get it. They are already self motivated. If they don’t want to get something, why am I supposed to help them want to get it?
So on the prerequisite, when people hire you to work with them, you really look at how much they want to be there in the same room as you to do that training. Otherwise, then you’re a coach, and you’re a coach and a trainer too, right? So for the way I look at it is, I’m looking for Coach ability.
Even when I helped my clients select employees, one of the skill set is or attribute is, how coachable? Are they?
What’s interesting is Alan, I don’t care how impossible the thing is that they want to do.
Other coaches are more like, Hey, are you really close, and it’ll be an easy win for me.
And I don’t care anything else, we’re, we’ve built our practices to the point where we really do prequalify people for whether they’re willing to do the work that they will have to do that we can’t. Because we know we have a system that works. As long as other people work as long as that because it’s got to be their wins. It’s gotta be their negotiation. Right? It’s got to be their success. Let me let me let me let me support what I said earlier, there may be some people out there listening going, what is Elon talking about? I have a lot of coaches come to me, coaches, and negotiation coach, or people who want to go into negotiation coach, say, hey, Alan, I’m working with a company. I’m working with company, I’m working with a team. And there’s some people just not motivated, I go in and never do what what I told them to do.
I said, Well, why do you think that is? Well, they just never do it. And so I have to, so they go into micromanaging them to do what they already told them to do. That says that what is the coach’s job?
Is that a coach’s job to motivate the employee, the people to do what they do not want to do? I don’t think so. That’s not my job. So there’s intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. And they have to bring the intrinsic motivation to accomplish a task.
Does that make sense? They have to want an agreement. They just don’t know how to get agreement, we will provide you with that. But for me to go to a client’s company and say, and the client says I have a sales team and they don’t want to sell, then they shouldn’t be there.
It’s a very simple question and answer. I have a sales team. I’m paying them a lot of money they don’t want to sell, then my question is, why did you hire them?
I’d love to come to one to one of your training. Alan.
Do you know how many sales managers come to me and they go, I have a sales team and half of them don’t want to sell? They are afraid to go into the prospect. They’re afraid to pick up the phone call. I’m like, have you teach them the skills? Yes. Have you given the training? Yes. Do they do it? No. What do you do? I have to put in metrics to measure what did they do it? I’m like, oh, micromanaging. Do you like it? They say, Oh, I hate it. Do your employees like it? Oh, they hate it. They complain behind my back all the time. I said, then why do it?
So I want to ask you a question about the training that you do results, you know, revealing the secrets of your training. But how long? I mean, your training? Do you deliver them over a period of time? Can people change quickly? You know, how does it work? The training that you’re doing? I’m going to answer your question without answering the question. You’re gonna like this.
I have a friend. He teaches martial arts.
And one day and lady came with her child and said,
How long would it take for my child to get a black belt?
And my friend went to the office got a black belt and said it’s $5 you can have it right now.
So the question is when you when different when when it’s a skill set and behavior and mindset, how fast I learned it.
It’s gonna be different from how fast you learn it and how fast Dan learns it. Sure, sure. But you’re a businessman. So when you presumably you have a beginning, middle and an end and to sell to a client. So yeah, okay. That’s the process. So so this this so that is what we That’s why I said I teach train, and then I coach. The teaching is where I share the information. You’re a teacher, you’re a principal you understand
and the education part of it. So that’s the knowledge. And then there’s a training where we help our clients is short, by the way, there’s not much to that, yeah, there’s like one day, a few hours you’re done,
then the training could be weeks, depending on the skill sets they need, and depends on the company that depend on the industry. That’s why Dan, and I will do an audit before we even do the training so that we know what kind of, because if they’re very advanced, they don’t need every training. But if they’re not advanced, and they are beginning, like a sales team, then it’s a longer sales training period, depending on the skill sets they have to learn. But you know, and I know and Dan knows, sometimes people know what to do. But when you put them in the hot seat,
how come you didn’t do it?
I used to do a lot of traveling with my clients, employees, we call windshield time I go with them in the car, we visit customers, I’m the silent associate, I just have my notepad, I’m just taking notes. And then we go back and then we debrief How did the meeting go? Where could you improve? Let’s we call a live coaching. I do that, right? So what happened is when I observed them what they know, they said, Alan, I know that
I know active listening skills.
But then when they’re in front of the client, and they’re nervous, everything goes out the window, they go back to how they behave. So that’s where the coaching comes in. So I teach train, and then I coach
in that order.
Okay, thank you for that. Dan, do you want, there’s a parallel, there’s a parallel and hostage negotiation. Like it’s almost exactly the same as I run the team. There’s 14 negotiators, and every once in a while somebody promotes out of the team, and we have to hire a new hostage negotiator. And we get a lot of people that want to do it, you can probably imagine, it’s just it’s a super popular thing to do these days. And but we have to guard our team and our team culture against this one thing.
And we call them t shirt negotiators. They didn’t have you ever heard of this? No, no. So when you make the team,
you get a t shirt that says negotiator on it. And some people just want to go through the selection process, hoping it will not be too terrible. So they can get on the team. And they get the t shirt, kind of like the black belt. And now I’m gonna go shader.
But when then when we ask them to do the hard work of a hostage negotiator, they will avoid it.
Because only one person can be what we call on the box in every situation. And very, very early on, as I moved into leadership on this team, and my partner, Christian, when we were both the young pups. And when we began to become leaders, like one thing we promised each other and we call each other accountable is we want a team of primaries, what that means is we want a team of people that desire greatly to be on the phone with with such suspects and subjects. And they want to do that hard work, because what we found is that drive and that skill set, make them good at all the other roles, but the other roles don’t necessarily prepare you to do the hard work of the primary, the coach and the team leader, like the three most important roles. So and what I had seen observing other teams was they would have like two people that wanted to be on the phone, and everybody else. They wanted to do other things and support roles. That was the nice, that’s what everybody said, I’m like, No, they just want the t shirt.
And so you’re like how long would it take them to train a person do it? As Alan said, it totally depends on where they are, like you said, there’s a beginning middle end, we don’t own the beginning, they arrive at to us bringing skill set already.
Everybody’s negotiator. Just some people are amateurs and some people never develop their skill, right? And then also they’re going to leave us in terms of being an active student or client at some point. But we hope that the learning doesn’t stop and I guarantee just talking to you needing you feel the same way. Like it’s you’re never complete, right? And in terms of complex and very valuable human activity, like negotiation, you’re never complete.
So but what we guard our team culture against t shirt negotiators, because we were looking for disciplined practitioners, not people that just walk into their senseis or their seafoods, dojo and want a black belt. Do you want the black belt? Or do you want the discipline and the capability and the skill that comes from earning it the right way?
Okay, Alan, did you want to add something? Yes. This is for your listeners. When you when you hear what Dan and I are saying. What we’re saying is
because we are students, Dan and I we are not experts, we are not gurus. We are not the top awarded negotiators. You never see down on title.
We are really truly students of negotiation. If you ask me right now, I have in front of me acronyms to help me continue
to develop and to learn and to find. So I know that I have a weird accent. I know I was born in Hong Kong, I grew up in Africa and I came to United States. I live in the southern southern part of United States. So sometimes I pronounce things like bow a door like and people are like, ah, what are you talking about? I also live in New York City. So when you go down a few blocks, then people like, What did you say? A few blacks? How far is that? Two blacks, right? So I pick up different accents. And one of the things of a negotiator is you need to learn about pitch, inflection tone, the rate, your volume, your enunciation, and your understandability. So all those things, it’s a lifelong study for me. So how long is it leading? Forever? Till I die?
I’ll be learning and then we’ll be coaching me till I die. Yeah, I guess I’m seeing it from a different perspective, I just see the 2550 range.
as long as you are in the top 25 I think that’s alright. Okay. I mean, and then it’s a journey to get to 100.
So the question is, are we have the bottom part of the top 25? On the top of the top 25. But not the only one to know, I don’t want? That’s right.
I want to explore hundreds of knees. And the midst of experience is a great teacher.
That’s a tough, what’s it? Yeah, let’s unpack it. What’s that? So what do you
what is underneath that myth? Like, What? What? Explain it? Yeah, you learn by your mistakes?
I mean, you can, but it’s not, it’s not obligatory?
Yeah, you’re, you’re free to ignore your mistakes as well. That’s the problem with experiential based learning. So what Alan and I teaches that experience, both in a rehearsal, and then also in an execution of an actual negotiation, is some of the best learning that you can do. Provided, you’ve been trained how to, to learn from your mistakes. Ideally, you have a coach or an observer, who can be neutral, and be be more aware of what’s going on and help you after, like to debrief. So so there’s some definitely some truth in that. But to only rely on experience, is a very inefficient way to, to learn a new skill, for sure. A new craft, because you have to start with good principles hits, sir, with good solid frameworks that work, you won’t be able to measure your performance, and you won’t be able to learn from their mistakes very efficiently until you have that. So experience alone is probably a big mistake. But at the same time, I think it’s a great mistake to stay stuck in a book, and continue to study and continue to study and not just go out and make some messes. So you can clean them up. Like there’s no that’s an important, I think experience is one of the most critical aspects of taking a skill beyond knowledge. And into application. We talked about like taxonomies of learning, right?
Yeah, so little bit of truth. And then definitely some under underlying myth there that could undermine your ability to get better.
What do you think the dean, I’m very curious that you brought that up, it must be something you’re that you’ve thought about quite a bit. What do you think about it?
I think that it’s preferable not to make too many mistakes
as a start,
particularly if there are repeated mistakes. So the same mistakes. Sure, I would start with that. Because it means that you’re not learning anything. It means you’re not reflecting. It means you’re not engaging into a zoo perhaps wanting to change. So for me, I would start with
the mistakes and not repeating them. I would want to know the Why are you repeating them?
What is in the way?
Why are you stuck? Yeah, why are you not moving forward?
Is there something you favor? It seems like there’s something you favor more than experience when it comes to learning.
Um, it’s, it’s just that I think that in some situations, you perhaps can make one mistake but making too many mistakes can be very costly and damaging in some situations. So and it may be that it’s because you’re not knowledgeable on something. You’re in the wrong job. You’re in the wrong situation. You’re, you know, you’re sitting at the wrong table, surrounding
By the wrong people in the room, you know, it’s a bit like the like the book,
from good to great, you know, we’re all sitting in the right place.
And I really believe in that. And perhaps if you are making too many mistakes, it may mean that you’re not in the right seat doing the right.
I think, I think you’re both talking about the same thing, but in different stages. So if we’re talking about learning, in the beginning, there’s all the, you know, learning and understanding a topic, and learning about, let’s say, all the, all the possibilities or dangers of negotiation. And this is where memorization and and understandability understanding a topic comes in. So in terms of Bloom’s Taxonomy, that’s the basic level, right? And then you have to apply, analyze and evaluate. And that’s where the experience comes in. And Nadine is absolutely right, you don’t want to make the same mistakes over and over again, that you never learned. So you have to reflect. And that’s also part of the taxonomy of learning is to reflect. But that myth is not completely wrong. And this is what I see experience.
When people say you learn by experience, what they’re saying is you experience from failure. But from failure, have they reflected, and have they learned something and applied something and tested something else, and then have a different outcome. But if they don’t do that part, and they just learn about it, and then they do it again, and they repeat the same mistake, they have learned nothing. But if they try something new, they learn a new way of doing something or a new framework or a new system, and then apply it and then they succeed, then they have learned something, they fail, they still have learned something.
Therefore, it is not a repeated mistake, they have failed. It’s kind of like Edison, I have, I’ve found 10,000 ways not to do something. But it wasn’t the same mistake, it was a different mistake until it succeeded. So that is learning. And until the very last highest level, which is the creation of new information, or the evolution of that knowledge. So it is both understanding knowledge. It’s broadening out a horizon, and then the ability to dig in deep. And this is where the vertical learning experiential failure, reflecting and then applying, and then
evaluating how it came out. I think this is, as coaches and trainers, we have to be very conscious about how our client learn, and how they apply. And then how they reflect. And that is baked into the system that Dan and I teach and train
on every single negotiation is baked into it.
You you you mentioned failure.
I think that some people are struggling with failure in terms of if they keep happening. It’s about resilience, isn’t it because some people after a while, are just going to give up. So I think failure and the fact that you can recover from a failure is very linked to resilience. And I guess my next question would be, do you think that great negotiators are resilient, more resilient, more
than you are? Take this first? And I’ll go say, for me, it’s 100%? Yes. I think negotiation as a craft is one of the best ways to deal with change, to deal with the mistakes and failures that are made to deal with the very natural consequences of humans living with each other. And because the other what are the alternatives, we believe that negotiation is the opposite of violence.
And that pretty much any kind of communication that’s not negotiation is probably on the spectrum of violence, whether that’s threats, or ultimatums or deadlines and countdowns. Like, we think that when we’re faced with a stressful situation, where we need to come to a strong agreement, to move everything forward, that negotiation is the best way. And when it comes to personal frustrations and mistakes and failures, I have found negotiation to be the absolute best way to process and find some ways to move forward. So I mean, the answer is yes. I mean, the real question is how to get there. Yeah. How do you make yourself resilient? Yeah. And what I would say is one of the things that the aspects of our system that we emphasize and that we’ve intentionally put into it is
team concept. Not being a solo practitioner working in a team concept so people can hold you accountable, support you and help you get better through observation and rehearsal, stress and not
collation, making your preparations harder than the actual incident. And then also learning a robust set of skills and principles for when things don’t go, Well, how do we react to that emotional regulation, but also, with conversations controlling the dynamics? Right? If you’re met with an obstacle, how do you move around that instead of retreating, or becoming emotionally frustrated, and ending things prematurely? So I mean, there’s a lot more we could talk about there. But I think resiliency is both something I look for in people when I hire them as negotiators, or when. And I hope they look for that in me when they hire me and Alan as a consultant or coach, but it’s also something that I think comes along with working on your negotiation craft, I think that resiliency, you’re working on that at the same time.
Exactly. I agree. So the way I look at it as resiliency is a trained and nurtured behavior.
Our natural tendency, when we come to crisis, is to either walk away, or confront it. If someone yells at me, my natural reaction may be to yell back, or just to just walk away.
But a negotiator does almost everything unnatural.
When people’s breath rate goes up, a negotiator has to train to manage their breath. Instead of letting the heart rate goes up, we try to manage our heartbeat, just slow it down. When a muscle tenses up, when someone threatens us, we have to learn to relax. When people yell at each other, most people will try to yell back, we have to kind of manage that tension and deescalate. A lot of the things that a good negotiator does in order to be resilient, is to do exactly that is not natural.
And that is nurtured or trained, or how we were raised.
And moving and moving, because there’s been a power cut.
I think it’s, it’s a good point that you’re making. And I want to ask you a question about coming back to resilience. And how can we make people are more resilient in negotiation, when we are faced with the unknown?
Because you don’t always know what’s going to happen. And you have to be agile, you have to, there isn’t always a script.
So there’s never a script meeting?
Well, you never know what’s gonna happen in negotiation and true negotiation. Yeah.
I don’t know about that. Because we’ve just spoken about experience, right. And when we have in a negotiation, we might remember the good negotiations that we’ve had in the past. And when we’re in the middle of one, we may say, Oh, I was in a similar one. And something is coming back. So you are looking back at something that you’ve done well in the past, and maybe maybe that can shape the narrative that you’re having. So it’s not a scrape. But it’s kind of shaping the narrative you’re describing, you’re describing a process that Alan and I are really interested in.
And that’s called bias. So you’re allowing past experience to shape your decisions in a new negotiation. And even if it’s the same person, they’re different.
The point I was making, and I don’t know that it’s, it’s not against what you’re saying. But if you’re dealing with somebody who has the power of consent, and they can say yes or no, you don’t know how it’s gonna go. You can certainly suspect, but we don’t control the outcome. So now, the extreme would be then of course, police crisis and hostage negotiation. I don’t know how it’s gonna go. It’s always life or death. And most of the time, we’ve been able to get great outcomes, but there’s been times where we couldn’t. And sometimes we’ve been surprised both ways. So we have the, the thing about like mistakes, there’s a lot of themes here mistakes, and resiliency, and outcomes is in true negotiation.
We’re working with potentially uncooperative humans who get to make their own path, they get to decide. And we can shape that we can shape their vision we can persuade, right? Mostly we can discover that’s that’s the really powerful verb, right? But in the end, they choose otherwise, it’s not a negotiation, if we can dictate to them what they have to do. That’s different. That’s something different. And then and you won’t get a strong agreement from it is what we know. Alan, what am I missing here? Seems like I’m missing something. I have
a three part comment. Here we go. So firstly is that I’m tying this resiliency, and the fear of the unknown to experience earlier, if you if you believe that learning is, as the best is experiential, and you have limited experience,
you’re in trouble. And you’re no good. You’re toast. That’s if you rely on experience, and you have little experience, how can you ever be a good negotiator, we start with no experience, right.
And this is why it’s important to have process and a system in place. And that’s why I can coach anywhere from aerospace, to people who do manufacturing to someone who’s doing software. It’s a system, there are processes and principles in place. It’s about human decision making. It’s about deal making and collaboration. And therefore, I don’t need experience in nuclear physics, to coach someone in that area to negotiate better with their Counterparty.
But back to resilience and the fear unknown.
Ultimately, it is it is this sense of control that someone wants. And in a negotiator, someone who wants to have so much control is not going to be a good negotiator. And Dan knows what I’m talking about, I had to give up a sense of control this morning.
And we have to learn to evaluate our motivation and our fears and our unknown and what our anxieties are, in order to become good at what we do.
If we want to train good negotiators, one of the principles is to let them know, the only thing you can control is how you think and how you behave. The outcome is beyond what you can control. So if someone does something horrible on the other side,
they have to be responsible for that, not you. The question is, did you follow the process and a system? Did you behave properly? Did you think right.
And that is when even when you lose, you did not lose. If my client did everything he could,
and he didn’t get the deal. Hey, that’s on the other side, people can can make irrational decisions. If you believe that the I will never be able to make a deal because the other person, the buyer is a woman.
It may happen and then he can justify say she was a woman. But even if he got the deal, and the woman buyer said, I really need your services. Please, Sabir good supplier, just because he took that order doesn’t mean he did anything, right. It just means the other side was desperate. And they bought from him, in spite of his behavior.
It is not a scalable and repeated, repeatable success. That makes sense. That’s why systems will be the only way to keep our students safe. Experience can help a lot. But if you have limited experience, you’re out of luck if you rely on only experience.
Yeah, I guess you have to start somewhere. And I take your point about process. But I also I also think that the more experience you have, the better because you get
it, you get to practice, right?
And if you have
to be a good negotiator, you also need to reflect you need to be debrief with yourself, Where Where did I go wrong? Where did I go? Well,
and I think it’s really important to reflect to understand what you’ve done, and to be able to
think what you can do and take the necessary steps to do better next time. But the next time are different, because the scenario preceding, there’s an interesting dynamic with experience in experiential learning to so
we’re really good at creating myth around us to explain why things happen. Right? And that’s the danger. So good example on my hostage negotiation team. So so the the conquering generals of Rome. Nadine, you probably know these stories, right? When they would return right? There would be a triumphant parade right up to the either the Senate or the Emperor right. And depending on the time period, and and the The story goes that this is the moment there this is the in the dear of their careers, right. They’ve just conquered some some world, right, and they’re coming to receive their their accolades. And that’s a very dangerous time for a leader, right. And so what did the Romans do?
They put a little slave boy on the chariot. And the slave boys job is, as they wrote up to their triumphal entry was to to whisper to the general, all glory is fleeting. All glory is fleeting. And so that the slave boy right fulfills a really important role in a negotiation team. And that is the team concept to keep people honest and orient
and properly on our team. We don’t we don’t have sleep boys and chariots, right? I mean, those days are long gone, thank God, what we have is we call the red negotiator. So we have some really experienced negotiator commanders and negotiation, team leaders and primaries, and we have such a wealth of experience that they do, I do the same thing you do. I’m like, I think of another negotiation five years ago, there’s very similar to this, right? And it begins to infect my thinking and my decision making. And the read negotiator, we oftentimes like to have a little bit less experienced, because their job is not to say all gloriously, and their job is say, how do you know that? Why are you deciding that that didn’t work? How is that tied to the behaviors and the context of today? Because if we can’t explain it, it’s no good and we reject it. And so that red negotiator is their job is to be the contrarian, the PERT, the the designated jerk, who prevents us from doing bad things. Because why? Because we can get stuck in our own experience and Miss apply it. So that team concept whether you call it a read negotiator, or you have a good coach, like Alan’s my coach, and I’m his coach, to say, Hey, I see you doing this, I don’t know that you’re wrong. But I don’t understand the connection. Why are you thinking this? So are you seeing this right? That’s really powerful. So that team concept for negotiations, one of the biggest myths in our book we talk about is negotiators are not lone wolves. But they are often portrayed that way. And even through often like, they often think they are, that’s the myth. But to keep you safe, you need to have a solid system and a great team.
Thank you, we’ve got about a couple of minutes left, what would be your final words, your final contribution to this LinkedIn life?
Empty your mind.
Empty your cup so that you can actually start learning.
We have had people come to learn from Dan and myself. And the first thing they go is I’ve read this book or read that book. And I have done candid listen to this podcast or talking to taking that master class. So now tell me what it is that you guys can teach me.
That’s a dangerous mindset. Because memoir about coachability, the loss will only be on them, because they’re not the only one I need to work with. So sometimes bringing ego to a place where you want to learn can be damaging. And this is not just me. This is someone who wants to work with Nadine, if you want to work, have Nadine, empty your cup.
And learn from Nadine and see what she has to teach you versus making her prove to you what she knows. I bet you’ve come across those. Wow. I like that. I might use it actually. I might quote you.
What here’s what I would say stop being fascinated with hostage negotiation. For there’s many people out there that are
now this myth, it’s a myth, right? There’s a little bit of truth to it. You should not look there’s
less than 1% of law enforcement officers in the United States are negotiators. Right? And way less than 1% of the population is in law enforcement. So so there’s very broad, there’s only a few of us. You will this is for the listeners out there, you will never be involved in a hostage negotiation. Like I’m playing the odds when I say that, but it’s, it’s gonna be true. But all around you, there’s there’s the potential for negotiations that can create something very beautiful for you and for those people and for the culture you’re in. So instead of wanting to like learn how to be a hostage negotiator, instead, ask yourself, What can a hostage negotiator teach me that will help me negotiate the deals I need to negotiate? I think we get wrapped up in some of the really intense and kind of fantastical situations that people like Gary Messner and I have been in, but what one of the hardest things I had to do was take the dynamics and the principles that still apply and translate those for private sector, and leave behind things that I loved, and made my job easier sometimes, but also just the way I did business, some of those things I had to leave behind because they do not apply in the business world. And that translation has been very challenging for me. And I see sometimes people become overly enamored with hostage negotiation, not the not the craft, but like the whole culture and the look, you know, the pop culture thing. And I would say instead, be very careful and clean from my first love. What you need to do my second love, which is now business negotiations, but also in your personal life, making stronger agreements with people. Hmm, okay.
I would say here, I think we did that and they didn’t I think you did a good job today. Thank Thank you very much. Yeah, thank you. I think for me, it’s understand why you want to negotiate.
And if you understand the why it means that you are prepared to grow and you are prepared.
face the unknown, you are prepared to be resilient, you are prepared to be a number of things, which is not the you right now, if that makes sense, yes.
If you understand that, if you understand that, and forget about the millions of books that you’ve read, and you think, well, I’ve got to think about those 10 methods. And if I don’t do number three, then I can’t do number eight, and then you get completely stressed out because you can’t trap you know, then you’ve had it. So for me, it’s the clarity of your why. And then to let it happen, to have the courage to execute. Yeah. For me, it’s that. Very good.
Thank you, guys. Thank you so much for her for today.
Thank you. It’s been a pleasure to go to your party. Yeah.
And if, if our audience if they want to contact you, how do they go about that? The best way is to find me on LinkedIn. I’m very active there. It’s Alan A L L, A N. And my last name is like a silent T. Sang. But as T for Tom, as for Sam, a n g. And you see my mugshot over there.
Okay, same thing here, Dan. doblinger. On LinkedIn, you’ll find the links to our website, which is oblique or oblique are saying.com. And we want to do something for Nadine listeners, people that faithfully follow her show every every Thursday, right? If you connect with us, we’ll give you 30 minutes of our time for you to find out where you stand with your craft or to ask us about a technique or tactic that you keep running into to ask us about maybe a mistake you keep making over and over again. And the Dean has told you not to do that. And you just want to run it by us. The first ones free, but only you got to tell us that they didn’t set you that you listened to this either live or later.
Well, thank you. Thank you so much. And I’m going to continue to read your post on LinkedIn. I find very entertaining, I have to say, and
I am the wicked stepbrother.
Yes. If you didn’t gather that yet, yes. Okay. I’m going to read that book that you mentioned at the beginning. Do you want to share it? So there’s this book? Of course yours? Yeah. We’re doing a q&a. And they can come this weekend and joined negotiation tribe q&a. And we are having the guest over to talk about storytelling.
Yeah, guys, thank you very much indeed. Thank you and see you soon again. Thank you. Bye. Take care. Bye bye.