We’re often told by clients that they like to use Agile methodology. Some get confused or even cross when we ask them to describe what they mean by that. Some simply state that surely we know what Agile means, it’s so simple. Every time we encourage people to talk us through what they mean by Agile we get a different answer. Most people mention stand ups, some talk about poker, others mention tools like Trello.
Rather like someone telling you that they like a nice bottle of wine, it’s always worth checking what their definition of “nice” is before heading off to a wine merchant at Christmas, it’s always worth checking what people’s interpretation of Agile is before overlaying it with your assumptions or understanding. We’re not saying any of these answers is “wrong”, or even “right”, just that it’s reasonable to ask what people mean by Agile.
The good people at Deloitte have attempted to capture the current state of Agile, it doesn’t make for a pretty diagram. You may need a magnifying glass, and a comfy chair, to get through it.
Whilst we’re big fans of the “never say never” concept, this blast from the past from our 1980’s archives is a list of things you should never do in negotiations. There’s a nice idea in here about having an assistant, and a bit of advice not to drink alcohol during your negotiation if you plan to drive.
How many of the list do you think hold up today in the age of The Art of the Deal (or the Art of the Steal for the more artistically minded)?
Never Be Superior
Ensure that you stick to your objectives; evaluate your best/acceptable/bottom line deals. If the minimum is not possible to achieve it may be better to withdraw than to fight to get agreement to a poor unprofitable deal.
Never Assume Anything
Always Ask! That way, you will never get it wrong. If you ass/u/me something – you could make an ass out of you or me.
Never Send Your Assistant
If a Junior has to attend a negotiation meeting on your behalf – can they do so effectively? – Are they fully aware as to their limits of authority?
Never Be Late
If the negotiation is important – (can you think of any that would not be?) then to arrive late is an insult to your customer, it shows you possibly do not care or have respect for them and more importantly necessitate your opening with an apology – thus giving your customer the early initiatives.
Never Be Afraid To Take A Risk
Risk-taking (controlled) can provide power for you in any negotiation. The extent of how great that risk should be must be measured in the widest commercial terms. There are many risks that your customer will not take, i.e. risk the quality for a cheaper price, and the larger the organisation the safer and less risky they will become. Why not consider the extent of what risks you could take for a better deal.
Never Be Hurried
Irrespective of the timescale/deadline position, never let the customer hurry you along – TIME IS MONEY!! Try not to allow the customer to use time in order to put you under pressure so that you will concede something just to get out.
Relax; a quick deal invariably ends up with one party not getting a good deal. Remember, it is in the customer’s interest to rush you especially if he has intimated his intention to buy ‘apart from a couple of minor points’.
7. Never Sign Anything – Until You Have Read It
All the hidden extras, the extra hidden agenda of concessionary items will always be “in the small print”. These un-negotiated items are always the ‘surprise’ – you spot too late.
8. Never Be Afraid Of Your Competitor
If you think they’re so good – why are you not working for them? Rather than worrying about your competition, consider all the possible problems and difficulties your customer may experience in using their product or service.
Concentrate on their respective limitations of their ability to use your competitor’s product or service, i.e. can they deliver, meet the schedules etc, in other words USE YOUR POWER.
9. Never Let Them See Your Notes
Most people are able to read data upside down. They may read your next point or spot your tactics or gambits and then proceed to answer it before you are ready.
10. Never Accept Hospitality
At the conclusion of a negotiation AVOID the lunch/dinner/stop for a drink “invitation”; you are likely – and able! – to relax to such a degree that you may say something you might later regret. A customer may choose to get you “loosened” to re-open the negotiation and get you to concede something as it is “only… after all”.
If you do decide to accept the invitation – BE CAREFUL – engage brain before using mouth and if you are driving DO NOT DRINK!
11. Never Be Rude Or Unpleasant
If ever you consider that provocation will help – be sure you know what you are doing. Action always creates Re-Action. You are able to choose the behaviour to either help or hinder the transaction. In negotiation, behaviour breeds behaviour and bad temper from either party is BAD news.
12 Never Embarrass Anyone
If anyone makes a mistake whether on your side or the customer’s, drawing attention to their error causes mutual embarrassment. They will then take great delight in embarrassing you, should you make any.
13. Never Be Influenced By “The Doom and Gloom”
Don’t waste time constantly looking and listening for the “D&G” remarks about your product, service or company, or good remarks and compliments about your competitor. Spend the time looking and listening for the GOOD news about you and your company.
Being positive or negative in outlook is HABITUAL! Get the positive habit – we only see and hear what we’re looking for – good news or bad news. So look out and listen out for the good news and ignore the rest.
14. Never Ignore The Future
C F Kettering wrote “My interest is in the future, because that’s where I am spending the rest of my life”.
Consider the impact this negotiation will have on the future relationship, your future and the future of your customer. Ensure you protect your business relationship in the longer term. “Once and away” selling is OK in a fairground.
15. Never Say “IF ONLY”
Surely the saddest six letters, at the conclusion of a negotiation.
16. Never Forget – Your Rights
You can use tactics. You can use strategy. You can demonstrate your power. You can take time out to consider your position. You have the right to speak and express your point of view. You have the right to walk away from a negotiation if you have passed the point where the deal is no longer profitable.
Consider your rights before the negotiation begins to avoid accepting a deal or being pushed to accept a deal which is not profitable for you.
17. Never Dig Your Heels In Too Early
Be willing to move position, be flexible and above all maintain neutrality in the early stages and exchanges to avoid a stalemate. Somewhere between your objectives and their objectives is the common ground of agreement.
18. Never Give a Concession
If you are forced to concede, trade it – reluctantly and also raise the apparent COST to you. Any concession only has value and will be rated by your customer as a valuable concession won – if we raise its cost and loss of profit to us.
19. Never Let A Concession Go
Never release a concession, until your customer has agreed what they are prepared to do or agree to in return. Remember, “IF” not only the title of a famous poem by Rudyard Kipling, but the negotiator’s most important two-letter word. In trading concessions “If we were to agree to ……… would you agree to ……”
20. Never Say ‘Yes’ Too Early
Whenever you are ready to say ‘YES’ to the deal or to a concession – just get into the habit of saying ‘NO’ one more time and before you finally agree – consider if you could get away with conceding half the amount you were considering.
Dr Brené Brown speaks powerfully about blame. If you find yourself looking for someone to blame for the weather, your lunch being a bit boring, or a client being unhappy, then Brené understands your pain.
The RSA brings her thoughts alive with a little animation. It’s well worth a watch.
Avoiding blame, looking for solutions; avoiding sympathy, focusing on empathy; and setting sensible boundaries are all great leadership qualities that are often overlooked in favour of more combative traits. Balance matters.
You’ve probably seen a TED talk before. If you have you may have been inspired. This TED style talk may inspire you too, quite what you’ll be inspired to do we don’t know, but all the elements are there to engage and motivate you, all it’s missing is the point.
It is a masterclass in giving a, well, masterclass, in thought leading.
You may need to listen a couple of times to see past the brilliant delivery to the content.
The UK has voted to leave the EU, there’s not much you can do to change that today. Managers are often surprised by the amount of trust and respect that their employees have for them. Many will find themselves being pulled aside by employees over the coming days to be asked what “Brexit” will mean for the organisation, and for them as individuals.
It doesn’t matter how you voted, if you voted, or if you had the right to vote in this election, that’s not what your employee needs to know. Employees want to know if they’ll still have the right to live and work where they are, if their job is safe and whether any major movement of employees is scheduled.
You may have a clear set of guidelines from your organisation, that help you to frame the conversation. As a manager you likely won’t know the answers to all their questions, and that’s OK, it’s even OK to say it, but it’s important to do so in a way that’s reassuring and honest, rather than nervous and filled with speculation. Not knowing the answer isn’t a failure, but not acknowledging the concern will only make it grow.
The most honest answer for most questions for most people today is “we don’t know, and it will take some time for everything to work out, there will be opportunities and threats for our organisation, and we’ll work to ensure the best outcomes. In the meantime, carry on doing a great job.”
Brave conversations are an important part of the manager’s role.
The nice people at Licor Beirao spent good money on an advertising board at Wembley stadium, making the most of their home country Portugal playing England in a warm up for the Euro2016 tournament.
They got rather more exposure than they bargained for when Portugal’s Bruno Alves lost his head, almost taking England striker Harry Kane’s with him.
Their media team came up with this fun response to make the most of their moment in the spotlight …
When you want to review what’s happened – at a meeting, on a project, or in a conflict situation- speedy three step plan helps you to stay objective and focus on improvements. Give it a try.
- Agree FACTS
Standards – What should happen?
Performance – What did happen?
Difference – Any unacceptable gaps?
- Agree CAUSES
Open with open questions
Listen to the answers
Don’t jump to conclusions
- Agree ACTION
Focus on facts – What needs to be done, by whom and by when?
Set progress review date
Take agreed action