Tuesday, August 6, 2013

How Grown-Ups Act When Negotiating

Negotiation is one of those skills it's wise to get good at. And not just if your chosen profession involves high end deal making.

We all negotiate. Every day. With someone about something. 

I negotiate with my mother trying to get her to remember to drink more water, with myself over how many times this week I want to exercise, with my friend over where we will have dinner and whether we are drinking white or red tonight. Negotiation is not limited to striking a deal over money.

I've offered negotiation tips here before. I'm not alone. If you Google Negotiation Skills there are 11,700,000 results. Negotiation Strategies - 6,070,000. Negotiation Tactics - 6,210,00. A virtual wealth of information - for free.

Not everyone takes advantage of free. Not everyone looks to improve their negotiation skills. Congress reminds us every day of that. And now we have as David Carr in The New York Times so aptly put it "the self serving war of words by 2 giants in television." That would be CBS and Time Warner Cable.

So what happens when companies become too big to remember how to negotiate ?  

They forget to act like grown-ups.

1- Grown-ups don't go stomping their feet, slamming the door in your face and then refuse to sit at the same table and work things out.
2- Grown-ups don't try to enlist other people to come to their rescue by running accusatory ads about each other and begging customers to make phone calls on their behalf. 
3- Grown-ups don't underestimate the intelligence of the public. They know no one is going to feel more sorry for the company who reported $476 million in second quarter earnings than the one who reported $481 million.
4- Grown-ups know no matter how popular a show is, it no longer constitutes the leverage it used to. Nor ever will again. Those days are long behind us. They wouldn't run ridiculous ads implying our lives might end if we have to do without.  (So I missed Ray Donovan last night. I'll marathon watch when these two settle their school yard fight.)
5- Grown-ups don't pretend to be doing something for the greater good of the consumer and then go so low as to detect my ISP connection and block me so I can't watch on my iPad either. 
6-Grown-ups know the world is in disruption. They work on improving and building today's already fickle customer relationships. They don't consciously and deliberately add more smear to the ones already tarnished. They know there are other options - other shows to watch on other networks and other providers to get their connections through. And there is more on the way.
7- Grown-ups know everyone is on to the high drama. We've seen this act before. Eventually they will come to some sort of resolution. They need each other as much as they need the customer.
8-Grown-ups know when they are acting like a bunch of children.  And they get over it - fast - no matter how big their paycheck is or how much power they think they wield. 

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