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AMACOM, How to Negotiate Like a Child - Unleash the Little Monster Within to Get Everything You W

AMACOM, How to Negotiate Like a Child - Unleash the Little Monster Within to Get Everything You W

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Published by tano caridi

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Published by: tano caridi on Dec 20, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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The next thing you need to know are the people you depend on
and who depend on you: your own team. Children learn quickly
that they can often accomplish more faster if they work together.
Even brothers and sisters will form alliances (albeit temporary ones)
when it suits their interests. Alliances not only let individuals coop-
erate, they also mean that you’re not working at odds with people—
you don’t have to divert your intellectual resources from your
primary objective. But you can only form an alliance when you
know what your partners want. So get to know them.
If you’re a kid, that means knowing who’s on your side. It may
be the kids you play soccer or baseball with, or whatever sport you
prefer. It could be your classmates. Or it could be just the group of
kids you hang out with. For an adult, it’s your colleagues, the peo-
ple at your company. It may not be the whole enchilada; lots of
times there’s some group of people within your own company that
you’ll view as the competition you’re up against: You’re competing
for office space, budget, choice assignment, or promotions. I leave
it up to you to define who you will regard as ‘‘us’’ and ‘‘them.’’


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Once you’ve decided who your teammates are and who’s on
the opposing side, you have to know your people and their
strengths and their weaknesses. (I’ll be talking a lot more later about
various ways to scope out your opposition.) You get to know them
just as you did your pals on the playground, by actually playing
with them. That is, you want to do more than just work with them.
You want to relax with them. Get your families to know their fami-
lies. Find out what you have in common, and find out also the
things that you don’t have in common. Then you’ll be able to
appreciate the diversity and find the qualities and resources that
others may have that you lack.
This isn’t exactly unpleasant work, either. It means that you’ll
go out together for drinks after work, have parties either at work or
on weekends (why not both?), and observe each other’s birthdays
and milestones. No, I don’t mean with funny hats, cupcakes, and
birthday presents, like you did for each birthday child when you
were in kindergarten. It is important to keep these things low-key
and to avoid the sense that it’s compulsory to celebrate each passing
year with a lot of whoop-de-do (regardless of how the birthday boy
or girl feels about it). I’m merely arguing here against the opposite:
the rigid separation of home-life and work-life that all too often
becomes institutionalized in large corporations where lots of strang-
ers are thrown together from nine to five. It’s so much easier to
achieve a stated end when you have developed a sense of comrade-
ship with the people you’re working with.
That’s not to say that you must become close friends with the
people on your team. There may be personality clashes; there may
be many differences of opinion. But you do need to develop respect
and tolerance for each other, and find ways to appreciate the differ-
ences you have. Young children aren’t equipped to do this. Team-
work skills generally don’t develop until the middle of childhood,
seldom earlier than age nine or ten. They tend to develop earlier


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among boys than among girls. (Perhaps that’s a relic of the past,
when girls were less likely to play on teams than boys were. But
these days, with the enormous popularity of girls’ soccer teams, that
may no longer be the case, as it surely was when I was growing up.)
Though your friendship with your work teammates will seldom
be as deep and as lasting as your friendships from school or from
shared interests, that’s not to say it’s impossible for them to be.
Business friendships that arise under very stressful conditions, such
as during tense and extremely high-risk negotiations, have some-
thing of the Stockholm Syndrome about them. (That’s the name
given to the strange sympathy and closeness that’s been known to
develop between hostage takers and their hostages. It is a relation-
ship created out of a forced proximity and shared interest in an
outcome. Both the prisoners and the captors may be afraid of being
killed in a police raid, for instance; both the prisoners and the cap-
tors have to share the same food, cramped conditions, lack of facili-
ties, and so on.) In the workplace, it doesn’t really matter too much
if you don’t develop friendships that go to a deeper level. So what
if there’s not much going on beyond the surface. If someone on
your team left the team tomorrow, would you still go out of your
way to see that person? Maybe not, but that doesn’t mean that you
can’t get all the support you need from each other while you’re on
the same team.

That’s usually good enough for kids. They play with one team
in the summer when the sport is baseball, and they get to know
each other well enough to work happily enough together. And then,
when it’s basketball season, they go on to become part of another
team of kids and get to know those kids well, and maybe that group
operates with quite a different group dynamic. But kids adapt to
the different team styles and learn to fit right in. When it’s time for
soccer, it’s another group yet again, and new adjustments need to
be made.


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Not everyone can slide so easily in and out of different groups.
Some kids never feel comfortable with the idea of team play; they’re
better at solo or one-on-one sports. That doesn’t mean they won’t
be good team players in the business world. It’s easy to draw analo-
gies between the type of team play we learn as kids and the way
colleagues at work learn to function as a team—just as I’ve done
here—but let’s not get too literal-minded. Here I speak as one of
those boys who was always picked last for team sports. Let me add
that I never let my klutzy sports past handicap me when it came to
my adult business dealings (and neither should you).


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