Platt Perspective on Business and Technology

Joining and working on a team – Part 7: negotiating your needs, negotiating to best meet the needs of your clients

Posted in book recommendations, job search and career development by Timothy Platt on January 3, 2011

I wrote the first six installments in this series on joining and working on a team and then looked to see if there were any key areas that I had not dealt with that should be covered at this point. One area that jumped out at me was negotiating, and in a real sense this makes sense as a posting after the sixth with its shift in discussion to teams and careers. Working on a team always means negotiating goals, schedules, priorities and access to resources and it also includes negotiating a balance of personal and professional needs as well. This is important and both for effectively working at your current job and on your current responsibilities, and in the longer term of managing an overall career.

There are a number of good books and other resources for learning how to negotiate. I have used William Ury’s Getting Past No as a textbook and I recommend that and his other two books highly.

• Ury, William. (1991) Getting to Yes: negotiating agreement without giving in. Penguin Books.
• Ury, William. (1993) Getting Past No: negotiating in difficult situations. Bantam Books.
• Ury, William. (1997) The Power of Positive No: how to say no and still get to yes. Random House.

I add that I have cited these references in other postings in this blog (see for example the Guide to Effective Job Search and Career Development, postings 14, 15, 20, 69-71 and 116, and also see supplemental posting 8).

I have already shared information on negotiations per se in these earlier postings so I will focus on one point here: the importance of thinking and planning for longer term consequences and opportunities and not just in terms of the immediate context. If you only plan and negotiate in terms of the here and now you loose opportunities, and you will be working with the same team members and stakeholders, supervisors and others long term so that counts.

This is where negotiating for a true win-win really matters. If the people you negotiate with walk away feeling they have lost you have lost for any future dealings with them – and probably for this round of negotiations too.

• Negotiate to build strong mutually beneficial bridges.
• Negotiate to gain credibility and to align interests.
• Negotiate around barriers but with a longer term goal of resolving the bases for those barriers.
• And work on those longer term goals starting now – if you only think of them as longer term you will never get to them.

In actual fact, all of the first six installments in this series and virtually every posting in the Guide has been about negotiating, whether that word is specifically used or not. Jobs, careers and life in general are about negotiating.

I said in A Note on Future Plans for the Guide to Effective Job Search and Career Development that I will follow this series with a new series focusing on middle management and I will but I am going to add a brief transition focusing on workplace asymmetries in how needs, goals and priorities are established and viewed and then I will start that. This transition is also very definitely going to be all about negotiations and negotiating.

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