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Getting To Yes

Like it or not, you & I are negotiators. All of us negotiate every single day. You might be finalising a deal with a new client, working through a legal matter, or trying to get your kids to clean up after dinner. No matter what you are doing, you can learn a better way to negotiate from the book “Getting To Yes” by Roger Fisher & William Ury. It’s called principled negotiation and it was developed at the Harvard Negotiation Project. The Problem – Negotiations Over Positions The authors give us three criteria of a successful negotiation: 1. It should produce a wise agreement if agreement is possible. 2. It should be efficient. 3. It should improve or at least not damage the relationship between the parties. When you negotiate as most of us do – arguing over positions – we are left with less than ideal results. Most of us will take one of two common approaches to negotiation. A soft negotiator usually wants to avoid conflict, and is anxious to reach an agreement as quickly as possible. A hard negotiator wants to win, and will do whatever it takes to get there. They usually take extreme positions, and are willing to hold out longer than soft negotiators do. If you take one of these two approaches in negotiation, the hard approach usually dominates soft one. Soft negotiators are vulnerable to hard negotiators, and usually come out on the losing side. To avoid you from going down that road, let’s examine why both of these two approaches should be avoided at all costs. First, it produces unwise outcomes. When more attention is paid to positions, less attention is devoted to getting what both parties really want. Whatever position you are taking is just one possible solution to meeting your underlying needs or concerns. Second, it’s inefficient. You waste a lot of time arguing over concessions that are not relevant to the end result, and in almost all cases introduces incentives that will stall a settlement agreeable to both sides. Lastly, it endangers the ongoing relationship between both sides because the positional approach is so taxing emotionally, and leads to the other side feeling like you don’t understand or care about them. Fortunately, there’s a better way, and it’s called principled negotiation. It’s a way that is both hard and soft. Hard on the merits, and soft on the people. There are 4 basic propositions: 1. Separate the people from the problem; 2. Focus on interests, not positions; 3. Invent multiple options for mutual gain before deciding what to do. 4. Insist that the result be based on some objective standard. 1. Separate the People from the Problem The first... read more

9 Signs Your Relationship is Dying

When people know I am a relationship coach they often ask what I consider to be warning signs that an intimate relationship is dying. These are the signs I frequently see. We only argue. When a relationship is in its death throes, arguing and fighting are very common. Often it will be over trivial things like “the car needs fuel”, “the lawn needs mowing”, “what have you done today?” and each person feels the other is grilling them all the time.  So rather than argue, you either agree with them (to keep them happy/quiet) or you just say nothing (no point in talking as I can’t do anything right). Facebook/footy scores/TV get more of my attention. The world of Facebook can be exciting and wanting to know the latest footy score can be very addictive. But when they take us away from spending time with our partner, we’re having an emotional affair. So, what is too much? Facebook/football is a problem if you cannot sit down for a meal, or spend at least one hour with your partner, with your phone or TV turned off. The only time your partner is affectionate is when they want sex. A common issue raised by women about their male partner: “The only time he talks, or helps around the house or brings me flowers or gives me a hug is when he wants sex”. Men – this sends the message, “I only want you for sex”. The longer you send this message, the harder it will be to prove that you want her for more than sex and the closer your relationship is to being over. You delay going home. Finding reasons to not go home at night is a sure sign that your relationship is dying and one of the common pathways to having an affair. Alternatively going to work early or before your partner wakes is another sign your relationship is dying. Work is important but when it is more inviting than your partner, that’s a sign of where your relationship is at. Alcohol is more inviting. If the only way you can sleep with your partner or tolerate their conversation is to have one or two drinks, alcohol is more inviting than your partner. Alcohol is your partner. You only get told what you’re doing wrong. A clear sign a relationship is close to death is when the only time your partner talks to you is to tell you what you are doing is wrong or no good. It also suggests they are not in a happy place and are unable to say anything nice about you. In abusive relationships, this is a very clear sign the relationship is... read more

How can I make June 30 Positive?

June 30 – End of financial year. Tax time. Tax return and half-way through the calendar year. So, David, how is this a positive as I rush around getting my invoices and dockets together and into the accountant to get my income tax done? In one sense, it isn’t, but as you rush around this can be a time to review the goals or plans you set at the start of the year. Looking at the goals you set at the beginning of this year, how far have you progressed? Overall, about half-way? If you’re ahead of that in your progress, congratulations! Keep up the good work! If not, don’t be too upset. You have at least checked your progress and you can adjust how much you are working on each goal. It may be best to prioritise and work on those goals which are more important. Above all, be honest. Be realistic in your self-assessment. There may be some very good reasons why you haven’t progressed as far as you anticipated. Extra work commitments, family issues or sickness are all good reasons why your progress may not be what you expect. But … think about what you have done that you weren’t expecting to do. That extra project at home, at work, helping a friend or family member, or an unexpected event. So, don’t be disheartened. Re-write your goals and keep them in a prominent place. Look at them each morning as a reminder of where you hope to be at the end of the year. To ensure your goal becomes reality, write it this way … “I will achieve xx by December 31 and to get there I will do xx in month 1, I will do yy in month 2” … and so on.  By doing this you will have a very clear pathway to achieve your goal. You may need to put some goals on hold and re-visit them next year. This will free you up to concentrate on the remaining goal or goals. Remember – life happens while you’re making other plans. Life is to be lived. One day at a time. Life is unpredictable and can change in a moment. Be flexible and adjust as necessary. There’s no point beating yourself up about an outcome which is totally outside your control. So … be kind to yourself. Happy New Financial Year! May it be successful in the area you choose to make a difference. Need help to set goals that work? Call me on 0407 585 497. “Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.”  —Jim... read more

Happy workers = safer workplace!

Do you know the true cost of injuries in your workplace? Do you know how much influence the happiness of workers can have on injuries? A recent study (Psychosocial safety climate, emotional exhaustion, and work injuries in healthcare workplaces) says preventing work injuries requires a clear understanding of how they occur, how they are recorded, and the accuracy of injury surveillance. Workers feeling down and with high levels of emotional exhaustion (experiencing stress, burnout, anxiety, depression), tend to have more injuries and are less likely to report those work-related injuries. If you do not record or keep track of psychologically-related injuries, then it is very hard to reduce or manage injuries coming from this area. High emotional exhaustion will manifest in reduced productivity, higher absenteeism, presentism (at work physically but not there emotionally or mentally), all of which lead to higher injuries sooner or later. The study found that 73% of workers reported a physical injury but only 35% reported a psychological injury such as an encounter with a violent client or depression from job stress. Having an awareness of your workplace’s psychosocial risk and creating a good safety culture will increase organisational productivity and reduce the likelihood of injuries occurring from emotional exhaustion. So – what are some of the things that a workplace can check, without spending mega dollars to reduce injuries coming from emotional exhaustion? How many employees have at least 6 weeks annual leave owing? (an indicator they haven’t had a holiday for over a year) How many employees don’t have annual leave or sick leave? (an indicator they are sick or things are not going well at home) Can all tasks be done within designated work hours? (overworked or stressed worker) No one eats their lunch at their workstation? (no time for a break) Everyone takes their breaks? WorkCover costs are going up? Employee turnover (an indicator of high stress or poor workplace culture) Socialising (celebrating birthdays, etc. is an indicator of morale and cohesion) Theft or equipment breakage (an indicator of morale or attitude) How many employees are casual or on short term contracts? (casual/short term contract employees can feel they do not have value and are not considered important) Employee Assistance Program (demonstrates a plan to help employees who are struggling) Bottom-line: by lowering emotional exhaustion, workers will be happier – and fewer injuries and time off work will result. ________________ Adapted from an article Workplace injury data: the tip of the iceberg? by Craig Donaldson OHS PROFESSIONAL June 2017 pp 8-9. Psychosocial safety climate, emotional exhaustion, and work injuries in healthcare workplaces.... read more

Don’t Win the Battle to Lose the War …

Is winning an argument worth it? In this article I will summarise some of the principles in Part Three – How to Win People to Your Way of Thinking – of Dale Carnegie’s book, “How to Win Friends & Influence People” *. Principle 1 – The best way to win an argument is to avoid it. Carnegie writes that winning an argument is pointless if it is only to prove to the other person that they are wrong and you are right. An argument generally ends with each person more firmly entrenched in the belief that they are right. Benjamin Franklin gives this wisdom: If you argue and rankle and contradict, you may achieve a victory sometimes; but it will be an empty victory because you will never get your opponent’s good will. The important point to ponder is, do I want to have this person’s good will, or do I just want to “win”? It is highly unlikely that one of you is 100% right and the other 100% wrong. Appreciate and listen to the other person; find common ground; be honest; and don’t get angry. Establish and maintain a good relationship. Principle 2 – Show respect for the other person’s opinions. Never say, “You’re wrong.” In this principle, Carnegie highlights the importance of considering the other person’s point of view. Putting ourselves in the other person’s position not only expands our understanding, it also causes the other person to become less rigid in their position. Principle 3 – If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically. How often do we make a mistake and refuse to admit it? A common example (unfortunately) of not following this principle is seen in politics. A politician says something or acts in a manner unbecoming of their position. They and/or their office deny the deed and cite many reasons why this is acceptable. Eventually the truth wins out and we wonder why they didn’t admit their mistake in the first place. We would have held them in higher esteem had they been honest and upfront. Let’s set a good example. Principle 4 – Begin in a friendly way. You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. We have all proved the truth of getting further with another person by being friendly rather than being adversarial. Make your opening remarks friendly, and you will reap the benefits. Principle 5 – Get the other person saying “yes, yes” immediately. Carnegie talks about getting “yes, yes” from a person rather than “no” using the method Socrates used in ancient times. Socrates framed questions in a way which caused the other person to agree. He continued on in this manner until he... read more

Be Interested in People for Them to Like You

Be interested in people! In this article, we will summarise the principles of Part Two – Six Ways to Make People Like You – of Dale Carnegie’s book, “How to Win Friends & Influence People” *. Have you started reading it yet? All of us like to be liked. Even one person not liking us, can affect how we view ourselves. Principle 1 – Be genuinely interested in other people. Carnegie talks about Tippy, the puppy his father bought him when he was five years old. Tippy loved him unconditionally, and came running to greet him each afternoon when he arrived home. Tippy was loyal, and had no agenda apart from wanting to be with Carnegie. The easiest way to be genuinely interested in other people is to show interest in them. Ask about them. Know what makes them tick; know what is important to them, and ask them about their interests. Carnegie quotes Alfred Adler who, in What Life Should Mean to You, wrote: It is the individual who is not interested in his fellow men who has the greatest difficulties in life and provides the greatest injury to others. It is from among such individuals that all human failures spring. This is a thought-provoking statement. As I think about people I know, I see its truth. Some who believe life owes them a living, do have the greatest difficulties and injure others greatly. Others who want to contribute, help others and are far happier than those who put themselves first, middle and last. If you want to be interesting, be interested in others. Something to think about. Principle 2 – Smile! How often do we love to be greeted with a smile? We instinctively smile in return. Should we consider our smile an item of clothing, as preparation for our day? I have read that it takes fewer facial muscles to smile than to frown. And frowns leave lines on our faces. What does a genuine smile say to another person? I’m glad to meet you. I’m happy to see you. I’m looking forward to spending time with you. Remember too that a smile is heard in the voice. A voice can be strictly business, condemning and cold … or it can be warm, lively and joyful. Many large businesses train and encourage their staff to speak on the phone “with a smile”. A sage once said, “A happy heart is good medicine and a joyful mind causes healing, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.” ** Carnegie cites a Chinese proverb – “A man without a smiling face must not open a shop.” In short, a smile and good attitude are excellent for our health. And our work... read more

How to Win Friends & Influence People

Most people know the classic written by Dale Carnegie, “How to Win Friends & Influence people” *. Have you read it? It’s a timeless book, designed for regular reading. Dale Carnegie conducted a great deal of research and interviewed many people before writing this book. This article is my summary of the principles in Part One of his book – “Fundamental Techniques in Handling People”. These principles are as important now as when Carnegie penned them. Principle 1 – Don’t criticise, condemn or complain. The underlying basis of the book–something to always remember–is that we are human. “We are dealing with creatures of emotion, creatures bristling with prejudices and motivated by pride and vanity.” (p.43) Although we may think otherwise, we can never put ourselves exactly in someone else’s position. How do I react when I am criticised? I am not influenced positively by someone who is critical of me or my actions. Rather I “get my back up” and “dig in my heels”. Carnegie rightly stresses that if we criticise, condemn or complain, not only do we upset people but we can also create the habit of making those and similar comments. Rather than criticise, condemn or complain, let’s seek to understand the other person. As Stephen Covey said, “Seek first to understand to be understood”. Great advice! Principle 2 – Give honest and sincere appreciation. We can never get enough appreciation from others for the things we do. As Bing Crosby sang, You’ve got to accentuate the positive Eliminate the negative Latch on to the affirmative Don’t mess with Mister In-Between You’ve got to spread joy up to the maximum Bring gloom down to the minimum Have faith or pandemonium Liable to walk upon the scene … Let’s make the time to observe the actions of those around us, then sincerely and honestly tell them (and anyone else who is there) what we specifically appreciate about them. Principle 3 – Look at the situation from the other person’s viewpoint. Taking the time to think about what the other person may want, will show you how to help them get what they want – as well as what you want. Henry Ford said, “If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from that person’s angle as well as from your own”. From these principles, we learn the importance of thinking of others before ourselves. Can I encourage you to put these principles into practice both at home and in the workplace? Please comment below on which principle is most helpful to you and why … ___________________ I invite you to my FREE workshop on... read more

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