Posts Tagged ‘Negotiation Skills Training’

Leadership Development – How To Stop Gateway Sins

Friday, June 1st, 2012

I love the phrase “Gateway Sins.”  It comes from Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project, as she tries to explain why the seven deadly sins don’t seem so deadly.  Her realization is “they’re deadly sins not because of their gravity but because of their power to generate other, worse sins.  They’re the gateway sins to the big sins.” (In case you are wondering the seven deadly sins are…oops wait I will tel you at the end)

Gateway Sins are ones I see companies commit that lead to far bigger problems.  For example, if you want people to take accountability for their growth you have to hold them accountable for that growth.  Let’s take training as an example.  As a leader you have to make sure the person attending training understands the importance, not only of attending training, but APPLYING what they learn to work.  Have them come back and educate you on what they learned, what they will do different and how you will see it in their work.

Another gateway sin I see is a line between the Senior Leadership Team and all below.  This line happens because fights, turf wars, and blaming are all allowed to happen between SLT members.  If they don’t have to “play” nice, why should their teams have to play nice.  It takes a strong CEO to not allow turf wars.

What are some of your gateway sins?  what do you allow to happen because it takes more work to stop it then allow it?

Take today to be more effective at stopping your teams Gateway Sins and drive to the results you want.

Oh, yea, the seven deadly sins are anger, pride, greed, gluttony, lust, sloth and envy.  Did you remember them all?

Learn more about the Outcome Focus® Leadership Development Training by contacting Paul Cummings at 952-921-9421

Negotiation: Taking the High Road to Opportunity

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

Break down the psychological barriers that can hamper a good deal

While it’s easy to see negotiation like a football coach—“x’s” and “o’s” colliding with each other, with one side scoring a touchdown or the other side crushing the ball carrier into the turf—truly successful negotiating more often involves breaking down barriers real or imagined.

“The biggest thing with negotiation is that most people go into it assuming a battle, so they mentally prepare a ‘Why you should give me what I’m asking for’ [attitude], so this sets up a ying-yang philosophy—a me against you adversarial relationship,” says negotiation expert Anne Warfield, CEO of Eden Prairie, Minn.-based Impression Management Professionals ( “When you think about that, the underlying assumption is they’re not going to want to do this, or they’re going to have some other trick up their sleeve. So it gets into a game.”

Warfield will present her “ProGOtiations: How to Get to More Yes With Less Stress” seminar at HSMAI’s MEET Mid-America, held April 3-4 at Navy Pier in Chicago, in addition to her “How to say the right thing at the right time” program.

“You need to see the negotiation from a higher level, so you can remove any barriers and influence outcome,” she says. “Instead of just calling up a hotel to ask about rates, think of it from the hotel’s position—what do they want to accomplish? I believe that negotiations are not a stumbling block; they’re actually building blocks for a relationship.”

A key is to keep an open mind, according to Warfield. Creating a dialogue with the person sitting across the negotiation table from you often results in untapped opportunities manifesting themselves.

“Put your heads together to come up with things both sides would’ve never come up with alone, but provide a big benefit to both,” she says. “One of the big flips is people will go into a negotiation looking for the barriers. What we train people to do is to go in looking for opportunities. I automatically assume in every negotiation that there’s a better outcome than what I’m visualizing. I look at it as a brainstorming session, so I can go into it excited rather than apprehensive.”

When it comes down to the nitty-gritty, both meeting planners and suppliers should look at the whole package: guest rooms, meeting rooms, equipment rental and food. Where there may not be give in one area, often another area opens up in terms of flexibility.

“As we put this package together, how do I talk to that hotel about the complete package?” she asks. “They may not be able to give on equipment; they may not be able to do a lot with food, or maybe food but not on the rooms. I don’t know what it is, but there has to be some sort of magic combination.”

Of course, planners need to enter into the negotiation with a concise history of their group, such as the additional charges the group made during a previous meeting at a different hotel.

“You can say, ‘The last hotel we booked, this group booked an additional $25,000 of services,” she says. “Or the average salary of my group is $150,000, so we can put together some packages that could bring you some incremental income.

“When you get down to it, it’s not either/or thinking,” she continues. “It’s always ‘and.’”

According to Warfield, some very key concepts to remember include the following:

·         Go in assuming the best of the other person.

·         Stay in ‘curiosity’ (assume partnership).

·         Tie what you’re talking to to the goals of their venue.

·         Don’t use the word “negotiation.” Only use “brainstorm.” The term negotiation, mentally, automatically triggers the brain to think someone’s going to win and someone’s going to use.

·         Know as many of the facts as you possibly can. Think of it from that broader level, not a narrow level.

Leadership Development – Is “Letting Off Steam” Healthy or Hindering For Your Team?

Friday, May 4th, 2012

We have all heard “don’t’ let the sun set on your anger” and “it is healthy to let off a little steam”.  Both would seem to point to the fact that it is healthy to express anger.

Here is the ironic part- studies show that aggressively expressing anger doesn’t relieve anger but often AMPLIFIES it. So does that mean you should just hold your anger in?

No, but there is healthy way to deal with anger and frustration.

1. Acknowledge the emotion you have in just a simple word or sentence.  “I am frustrated we haven’t gotten farther on this.”   This allows your brain to let go of the emotion rather than have it play in your Basal Ganglia where it festers and grows from “I am frustrated we haven’t gotten this far” to “I have the worse team because they never can accomplish things at a fast pace.”

2 Let the other person know you belief in them and be clear about what the frustration or anger is about. “I know this was caused by forces outside of our team, I am just frustrated that we haven’t gotten farther on this.”  Now the person can address the “issue” rather than have their brain race to address what they feel is your frustration with them.

3. Avoid yelling or responding as what you really just do is TRANSFER your anger from your brain to the other person.  This results in immobility for the other person while their brain tries to make them feel better.

With your kids this is what lands you in therapy years later!  My daughter still talks about the time I threw the ice cream on the counter.  It had been a particularly frustrating day for me- one where I took care of everyone else’s needs and put mine on the back burner until I was at the point of complete burn out.  That night my husband was making the grocery run and picking up ice cream.  I specifically stated the kind I wanted as I had just seen it at the grocery store when I was there the other day.  When he came home he said, “I couldn’t remember the kind you wanted so I got this.”  “This” was his favorite flavor, not one I liked.  All that ran through my mind was “I asked for ONE little thing for me and that couldn’t’ even be done right.”

Consequently I acted like a spoiled child and tossed the ice cream on the counter and stormed out to get my flavor from the store.  Well while the tossing the ice cream on the counter and marching out felt good for me, it transferred fear to my daughter who had watched it.  So for a three second relief for me I caused a permanent brain reaction for her- not a good trade off.  What I should have done is been open about how frustrating my day was so my husband would know my capacity for mistakes was low.

I bring this up because as a leader it is easy to “transfer” emotions and anger from one situation to the next without really addressing the key issue.  How much better would I have been to just tell my husband “Getting the ice cream flavored I asked for meant a lot to me as I am emotionally drained right now having done everything for the family an nothing for me this last week.  So I am frustrated that you would not even call me from the store to ask what the flavor was but instead just chose to get what you wanted.”  Then he could have told me “I didn’t call because my cell phone was dead” (which it was).  So my lack of stopping to share and find out facts left a swirl of negative emotions on all of us.  Be clear about what you are upset about.

Learn more about the Outcome Focus® Leadership Development Training by contacting Paul Cummings at 952-921-9421

Presentation Skills – How to Make Learning Stick

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

As a leader you are constantly training your team whether you realize it or not.  The problem I think we often run in to is that people think they have “arrived” and that they no longer are learning.

The truth is that your brain is continually forming new paths and new ways of thinking IF you are training it to do that.

Recent research shows that an 88 year old will learn new brain patterns if taught…so you can teach an old dog a new trick!

The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that about 70 percent of learning during your lifetime is the result of experience.  The question becomes how do you capitalize on that “on the job experience” so that what people are learning and practicing is what you want.

To make training become learning so it sticks it needs to have the following ingredients:

1. It needs to get at the belief level, not just the behavior level.  Showing people what to do works when you have simple tasks but when you have complicated tasks you need people to develop a style of thinking that allows them to create guidelines that they can work within to reach decisions independent of you.

2. It has to be experiential.  People learn best when they “experience” something in their own world.  That is why all of our programs have people bring their own material to work on.  We live in your world rather than drag you to our world.  You need to see direct application to the challenges you face.

3. You need some visceral learning as well.  Visceral learning allows others to learn off of others, stories, or situations so they can overcome fears.

4. It needs to be applicable in both their work and personal life.  The more your training crosses between both worlds, the more people will naturally put to use their new skills they have learned.  So build in examples of how they can use it both at work and at home. I am always in awe of the emails and letters we receive from people 5-10 years AFTER they have gone through a program sharing results they have had both at home and at work. We have had more people say, “this changed my marriage” and yet what we taught was how to develop a strategic communication that allows you to present your ideas to others.

5. The more accountability there is the more people will apply what they learn.  The event is NOT the learning, it is the training.  The LEARNING is the application of what they have been trained on.  You want to build in accountability for practicing what they learned so they build new brain pathways.

Check over your current training to see if you have the above built in.  If you don’t, you are most likely not seeing the strong results you should be from your training dollars.  Personally I am big on metrics so we look for results from our clients of a 25% savings of time, an increase in productivity, a shortening of their sales cycle by up to 70% and a turnaround in tough relationships.  Your training should save you time, money, and increase your productivity.

Learn more at and join us for an Outcome Thinking Webinar to start your journey!

Cause & Effect: What Starbucks May Be Costing You in Productivity

Friday, April 27th, 2012

Wow in today’s economy with corporations trying to do more with less there is one funny statistic that is absolutely staggering to me- over 2.4 BILLION hours a year are lost in productivity by employees running out to grab coffee and snacks.

You know I remember as a child when those statistics were aligned with smoking cigarettes.  Now people need stretch breaks from their work, especially the more it is mentally taxing them.  What surprised me is how if you think of this number in terms of,  how can we milk more hours from employees, but instead, what should you be doing to make employees lives easier?

I remember working as a recruiter and we had a snack room with fruit, tea and coffee.  Then the cut came and the first thing to go was the healthy snacks in the break room.  The dollar cost the company saved on paper wasn’t anything compared to the loss they experienced in productivity, collaboration and loyalty.

Collaboration– See when people came in the break room we would share deals we were working on and resources.  So we ended up collaborating on deals largely through our casual discussions.  Once the break room changed, people started going out of the office for snacks and…no surprise the number of deals closed went down.

Productivity– Since we now needed to go somewhere else to get snacks, more people started to either take longer breaks or leave at five to go home for dinner.  In the past many people stayed until 6 pm or 7 pm because they could grab a snack and keep going.  Now as they debated their stomach’s growling and no relief was in sight it made sense to just pack up and head home.

Loyalty- In the past because we were meeting in the break room and collaborating on deals there were no silos. We tended to want to work together and make things happen.  As deals closed this in turn made us all more loyal to the company.

Right now, look at your office and check out the productivity drainers.  They may be impacting you far more than you imagine.  Make sure you create an environment that fosters productivity, collaboration and loyalty.  Your latte may be costing more than you think!

Learn more about the Outcome Focus® Leadership Development Training by contacting Paul Cummings at 952-921-9421