Establishing Successful Collegiality and Influence
I have so much to share with you; I have discovered a lot of new content that has my head spinning, so I will jump right in.
Kwame Christian, the host of Negotiate Anything, recently interviewed Giuseppe Conti. I found his insights on “negotiating internally” incredibly insightful. The discussion focused on preparing for and having the most impact when approaching colleagues.
Very often, we do not give the same focus and thought into a negotiation with a colleague that we would an external client. But why not? What we do and how we present ourselves will significantly impact your success and reputation.
Conti references some key elements to create equality, balance, influence, and impact.
Profile the stakeholder: before you meet with your colleague, understand who they are. Do your research. Know the perspective and lens from which they will be seeing your discussion. If they are finance-driven, frame your discussion around the ROI and budget impact. If they are in HR, speak from the standpoint of FTE’s and retention rates. If you present only from your perspective, you will miss an opportunity. Learn how they like to communicate and adjust accordingly. Is there a generational difference or a cultural component that needs to be considered?
Prepare for your discussion. Our current culture expects impromptu meetings and preparation at the ready. This will not serve you well. Take the time to prepare your “ask” and know the barriers to success. Anticipate pushback and be ready to present your position thoughtfully. Granting yourself time to reflect, strategize, and consider alternative perspectives will allow you to respond versus react to discussion points.
Position yourself as an equal. (This one is subtle yet so powerful, and I have found I have failed at this many times!)
To be accommodating and gracious, we might say, “Let me know what time works for you and I will come to your office.” While that is very thoughtful, it also creates an immediate hierarchy and gives the other person the upper hand. You have devalued your own time, and you have become subservient. Ideally, meet at a neutral spot where your eyes are level when seated.
Use language that is not apologetic. “Thank you for taking the time. You are so nice to fit me in. I know you are so busy….” All of these, while sincere, create an unequal footing and do not command equal respect rather, they imply that your time is not as valuable as theirs.
Your initial meeting should not be about “the sale or ask”; this should be a time to learn about the other person and develop the human side of the relationship. Investing in and taking the time to learn about the person and finding connections will set the foundation for future trust and collaboration.
Ensure you leave the meeting with each person having at least one action item. This not only sets the momentum for the next meeting but it also creates equality and buy-in from each person. If you are the only one that comes away with a “to do” that again creates the subtle feeling that you are working for them.
Commit to long-term nurturing of the relationship. To some, this comes naturally, and to others, you may need reminders to check in. Either way, it is no less genuine and honest. Connections and influence take time and trust. Follow up on important events, grab monthly coffee or share an article that reminded you of the other person. Continued attention to your developing connection will influence and impact a successful negotiation.
I challenge you to look at your vocabulary, how you start emails, and the accommodations you establish. Are these subtleties accurately reflecting your worth? What small changes might you integrate to ensure a successful conversation and representation of your value?
I have witnessed so many people selling themselves short, not appreciated for their greatness and thus not realizing their potential. Some of that scenario is our responsibility. You will get what you believe is possible. Show up each day prepared, confident, and in recognition of your value and worth. These are subtle changes to practice but will dramatically influence results.
Good stuff, huh?!