Secret 1 - How to set a perfect objective?
Black BELT Negotiators have clear objectives. It makes sense, right!
But more than 80% of the managers negotiate without a clear objective in mind, sometimes without an objective at all. And above all, we often forget our real underlying needs or interests, in other words, the real reason WHY we go for negotiation. And that is the number one mistake!
Our studies show that you will be twice as likely to match your target with a clear objective.
So how to make sure the objective is made right? What does the science say? And how to have an impact on your negotiation?
- Ambitious. Set a high target.
- Interest. Find your underlying Interest, your "why" you negotiate.
- Measurable. So you or your sponsor can track your achievement.
- Specific. Precise, short and concise, so you don't lose sight.
Be ambitious in your goals, but be sure that your goal is something satisfying for you. The mistake would be to set your goal based on what you can get the best from the other. This kind of strategy only leads to dissatisfaction, constant questioning (because we never know what you could have achieved) and ultimately to your unhappiness. Adam Galinski was able to demonstrate during these studies that if your first offer is accepted, negotiators are dissatisfied, even if the first offer is better than their initial objective (3).
"A goal is not always meant to be reached, it often serves simply as something to aim at." - Bruce Lee
What is your real stake, your underlying interest? If you go beyond the purely transactional objective, what is the need behind your goal? Satisfactory means that it corresponds to my interests or issues, therefore also my ethics, my values, my motivations. It would help you make the difference between a desire (goal) and your stake (real need).
"Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it ... he who doesn't ... pays it."
― Albert Einstein
Because if it is not measurable, how can you evaluate your progress and know that you have achieved your goal?
Several studies show that people with a specific objective achieve very significantly better results than others (1). So be accurate, concrete, precise, imagine your goal, but also be ambitious. Negotiations with simple and ambitious objectives achieve better results (2). If it is too long, it becomes less clear, and above all, it will not help you stay focused on your goal.
"A decrease in my annual subscription" becomes "A decrease of $6,000 on my annual subscription."
"I want to lose weight" becomes "I want to lose 5kg before June 31."
"I want a raise" becomes "I want a value equal to $500 more on my monthly salary."
Test your objective
Prepare your AIMS objective beforehand, of course, no negotiation without a clear goal. We mean: write your AIMS objectives, simplify them, test their simplicity with a third party. Children are robust at this exercise and that is part of what makes them formidable negotiators.
Be an opportunistic optimist
But above all, define your goal with the spirit of "Play for gain" rather than "Play not-to-lose".
A Northwestern University study (4) compared two groups of negotiators. The first one focuses on what they can get (Play for gain), against those who think about what they can lose in case of failure (play not-to-lose). The first group has significantly better results than the second.
Another characteristic of children is their ability to stay focused on their goal. Regularly during the negotiation process review your AIMS objective, are you still focused?
A word of caution
Being focused on your goal should not prevent you from being creative, open, flexible, and above all, attentive. There are undoubtedly several ways to achieve your goal.
If you do not prepare your objective, you will get less than your interlocutor, especially if the latter has experience in the negotiated object (2).
- Halvorson, H. G. and PhD (2011) 'Nine Things Successful People Do Differently', Harvard Business Review Press.
- Zetik, D. C., & Stuhlmacher, A. F. (2002). Goal Setting and Negotiation Performance: A Meta-Analysis. Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, 5(1), 35-52. https://doi.org/10.1177/1368430202005001537
- Galinsky, A. D. et al. (2002) 'The Dissatisfaction of Having Your First Offer Accepted: The Role of Counterfactual Thinking in Negotiations', Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. Sage PublicationsSage CA: Thousand Oaks, CA, 28(2), pp. 271-283. doi: 10.1177/0146167202282012.
- Galinsky, A. D. et al. (2005) 'Regulatory Focus at the Bargaining Table: Promoting Distributive and Integrative Success', Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. Sage PublicationsSage CA: Thousand Oaks, CA, 31(8), pp. 1087-1098. doi: 10.1177/0146167205276429.