Sunday, July 21, 2019

Pathways - Negotiate the best outcome - Getting to "Yes"

Pathways - Negotiate the best outcome - Getting to "Yes" (Dynamic Leadership Path / Level 3 / Project 1)

“I have been working in this organization for 4 years and I am still not promoted to the next level. Ram has the same experience like me. Anitha has the same experience like me. All of them are promoted. But, I am not. It is very demotivating for me to do my job”. My Group Project Manager who was sitting in front of me smiled and said “Saro! You’ll get promoted at the right time”. I asked him immediately “Give me a timeline”. He said “I cannot give you a timeline”. I immediately got up from my chair, walked away from the discussion and the next day, I submitted my resignation papers.

Good morning Toastmasters and Guests,

That’s how I negotiated for a promotion, with my Group Project Manager, way back in the year 2002. And obviously that was a disaster. How many of you have had an experience like this in your career?

Research carried out by the Carnegie Institute of Technology shows that 85 percent of your financial success is due to your personality and ability to communicate, negotiate, and lead. Shockingly, only 15 percent is due to technical knowledge. Negotiation is a critical skill that all of us must have to become successful in life. Due to the absence of  negotiation skills,

  1. I used to always look at any problem only from my viewpoint, instead of trying to look at it from the other's viewpoint. For ex., I would say “I am working really hard and you need to reward me for that”. 
  2. During the negotiation process, my brain will be actively thinking how I can shoot down the other person, instead of trying to focus on the conversation. For ex., I would say things like “You guys don’t understand the value that I’m adding to the business. My hardwork and loyalty is of no use here”. 
  3. I’ll always take a fight or flight approach. For ex., I would say “I’ll quit my job if you don’t give me the promotion” 

I read a number of books on negotiation style. I learned that there are three techniques that successful people use in their negotiation. They,

  1. Seek facts
  2. Ask questions
  3. Bake positivity

Years passed. I again landed up in a situation where I had to negotiate for a salary rise. I started my conversation on a positive tone, with my VP of Engineering, Dave. Dave “I love my job, I love my team and I love this organization. If there is one thing that is bothering me today, it is my salary. It not competitive and it does not enable me to deliver my best. I would like to build a long career here and hence I’m requesting for a salary rise”. Dave immediately said, “Saro! I’m surprised to hear that you aren’t motivated. You are already paid on par with the industry”.

I smiled and told Dave “Dave… I bench-marked my salary with some of my peers in the industry who are doing similar work and I’m paid 30% less than what the industry pays for someone with my experience”.

Dave immediately reacted “I don’t think so”. Dave being a smart negotiator, asked me a question, “Why should I give you a hike now, out of the regular cycle. It’s absolutely impossible”. I told him

  1. “Dave... I have tested and reported 250 defects in the software, improving the quality of software by 25%. This helped us to win a major deal from a large service provider in Europe. 
  2. I have automated testing and eliminated manual work, bringing $100K savings year on year to the organization. 
  3. I’ve been consistently ranked high in my performance reviews. It is easy for me to walk away and find another job with a 30% pay hike. But, like I said before… I love my job, I love my team and I love this organization.
  4. Moreover, I’ve signed up for a part time MBA program and I need some extra cash to pay for my tuition fees. That’s why I have come to you now”. 

Dave thought for a moment and asked me to send some of this information in writing via email. He said “Saro! I’ll try my best. But, I can’t promise you anything now”. I asked him “Dave… when can I get an update from you on this?”. He said, “Give me two weeks time and I’ll get back to you”. In a week, I got a call from Dave “Saro! Can you come to my cabin”. When I walked to his cabin, Dave handed over a letter to me. I thought, it is going to be my termination letter. When I opened the cover, I was positively surprised - “I got a 20% pay hike”. Dave said “Saro! We value your contributions to the organization and we want you to continue to deliver your best”. I was happy to receive a pay hike.

Friends… all successful people are good at negotiation. If you want to be successful, you should be good at negotiation too. In your corporate career, you can negotiate many things such as a project change, salary hike or getting funding for an idea. In Toastmasters, our VP Education can negotiate to make members sign up for a role. Our VP Membership can negotiate to convert a guest into a member. Negotiation can help TM Selvan too… when he deals with his wife. Sir… next time when you are negotiating with your wife… try these 3 things seek facts, ask questions and bake positivity. Will you?