Conversations for Change: NCWIT Summit: Negotiation for Change Leaders by Margaret “Maggie” Neale

[upbeat music]

MAGGIE NEALE: Well thank you for the opportunity to speak about one of my favorite topics, which is negotiation. A lot of laughter in the room. You know I may be one of the few people who thinks that negotiation is actually the way to change the world. So let me talk a little bit about the title. Negotiation for Change Leaders. And I’ve got a more specific title which is The Virtuous Cycle of Negotiation is Problem Solving. And so, I want you to sort of think about this notion of virtuous as something that really is the catalyst to help us do more good. And it’s interesting that a lot of folks wouldn’t put a virtuous cycle next to the term negotiation because for most of us, we see negotiation as a competitive adversarial process. It’s often been equated to either a battle or going to the dentist. Neither one of which are particularly positive. But what happens of course is that we rely on this sort of negative frame, which is either emotionally negative or sort of real competitive perspective and what happens then is, it creates a filter through which we evaluate our counterpart’s behaviors and it escalates the conflict that might not even have existed had we not first had the filter which says we expect competition, we expect battles, we expect adversarial behavior and therefore that’s what we get. And it limits the opportunities that we see as possibilities for negotiation. So while some negotiations may be adversarial, I don’t want you to walk out of here thinking it’s all going to be sweetness and light. And it’s a big Kumbaya kind of event. It’s not. But there are a lot of opportunities to negotiate where they aren’t necessarily adversarial. Where in fact, negotiations can make us both better off. And that’s really the perspective that I want to take today. Some negotiations are about dollars. But it turns out that there are so many other things that we can negotiate. We often times view negotiations in this sort of dollar kind of perspective, but there is so many other things that we want more of, that we can get, if we understand how to be effective when we negotiate. So, what I want you to do is first to reorient what you think of as negotiation. Move it out of that sort of battle mentality where you have to armor yourself up in order to rest from the other side whatever it is you want and resist their attempts to take from you. But rather what I’d like you to do is to think about negotiation as a process where two or more people decide what each will give and hope to get in their interaction. And through a process of mutual influence make proposals and agree on a common course of action. So you can look at this definition and you can see that even in this definition you could be in an adversarial interaction. If I’m going out to buy a car I’m going to be negotiating. But that’s not the only kind of interactions. Whenever I meet with my research team, it’s a negotiation. My research team is typically peopled by folks who are much less powerful than me. They’re doctoral students or junior faculty. And while the content of the meeting is about the research project and how we might push forward our ideas, the context is negotiation. Which of my scarce resources will I contribute to this engagement? And what of their scare resources will they contribute? And what we both hope to get out of this interaction. What that also means is is that you must also, not just reorient what you think is negotiation but what you think is negotiable. And think about it as collaborative problem solving. Now I’m going to highlight that term a couple of times because this I think is the way to make to sort of bring together negotiation and change. It’s about collaborative problem solving. So let’s expand what we think is negotiable. Go move away from only thinking about negotiation as what I call the big N negotiations. I just got a job offer. That’s a big N negotiation. Or I got a promotion another big N negotiation. Or I’ve just been asked to engage one of my vendors in a big contract. That’s a big N negotiation. What I want you to think about though is how many times during each day, do you have the opportunity for little n negotiations. For focusing on everyday kinds of problems and putting a problem solving focus on them. Let me give you an example from my own life. And this happens to me, this is the one that I use a lot of this example because it’s sort of a big example if you’re an academic. I was siting in my office one day trying to write the discussion section of a paper I was on, that I wasn’t having very much luck. And I noticed that some emails would come in, so I thought well as might as well look at them besides, let me just try to do something effective and so I looked at one of the emails, it was from my dean. And my dean writes a lot of emails. And so I’m kind of filtering a lot of emails that he sends me. Some of them are just immediate deletes. They usually start off with let me introduce and then I delete it because I’m not going to remember anyway. But this email had my name in the to section not just faculty all, but me Neale_Margaret. And so I thought, best read this one. And so, he basically said, the Provost the Chief Academic Officer of the University discovered that the amount of teaching credit that faculty in the business school we’re getting per hour of contact time, was different than the amount of teaching credit that faculty in the other professional schools medicine, law, engineering, we’re getting for their hour of contact time with the student. And he had decided that he needed to equate our amount of credit we got for the number of teaching hours that we did and therefore Maggie, you will be going from five courses a year to six. Bets wishes, the dean. I was not pleased by that. While I like to teach, I’m a lazy person. And so, I also knew that this extra teaching would come out of my disposable time. Not my research time. Not my other teaching time, but it would be the time I was spending doing other stuff. And so, I read the email very carefully and then thought about it for a minute. Okay maybe about half an hour. And then called up the dean and said, I’d like to set up a meeting. Now the reason that I set up that meeting, there were two things. One of the things was is that, when I saw that email it was pretty clear to me that the reason that my dean was doing this was because the Provos, his boss, had said this has to be done. And he was doing what the Provost had said and I was the means by which he was accomplishing that goal. But there was some information that I had both about Stanford and some unique information about me that I thought would be very instrumental in helping him realize that there was a better solution to the problem than the one he had just proposed. And that was, first I knew Stanford my dean does not sit up at night wondering how can I get Maggie to teach more. That’s just not. That’s just not how we work. They said this is how much we want you to teach. That’s great. The Provost said, we need her to teach more. He said, okay. The other thing I knew was is that I teach a course that’s primarily experiential which means although my course is scheduled from 3:15 to 6:15, sometimes it goes longer. In fact, most of the time it goes longer. It goes to three 6:30 to 6:45. And the students as you might expect at exactly 6:15, start doing this number. And when my teacher course evaluations come up, I’m often called a task for my keeping them longer. Now, they often suggest that perhaps I need to learn to tell time. And I understand that but the point is I have very important things for them to hear and so they need to sit and listen and besides they’ve already paid for the course. This is just extra. That’s not how they see it but, anyway so. I went to the dean and I said, let me make sure I understand. Why are we making this change? And he said, well basically because the Provost said we’re going to do it. I said great! I said I have an alternative. I said, one of the problems I continue to be faced with is that my classes systematically run longer, than the official three hour time. So what I would like to do is, I’d like to extend the official time of my class from three hours to three and a half hours. Would you be okay with that? And he said, sure. And I said, well then he put the three and a half hours into the metric that the Provost has put in that would bring me down to five classes. Are you okay with that? He said yeah. Sure that’s perfect, fine. I said, how is your daughter doing? We’re moving on okay? He had proposed a solution, he thought it was a decision, but he proposed a solution and basically I found a better one. One that made me better off. So one of the things I want you to think about is what do you want when you think about negotiations? What motivates you to engage in a negotiation. Maybe it’s winning the battle. And that’s that adversarial mindset. Maybe it’s to get along. To get an agreement. To get a yes. Maybe that’s what motivates you. But I want to suggest that those motivations are probably less important than the next two motivations which are creating value. And claiming some of that value. The creating claiming a value is really critical in negotiations because claiming value is about what do I walk away with. How much absolute value of whatever it is I want more of do I actually achieve? And creating value says, how can you and I be made better off through this interaction? And those are the two things I want to focus on because I think it’s really important when you think about negotiations to really think hard about what it is that you want more of. And it could be a lot of different things. Often times, we kind of default to dollars when we think about negotiation but when I went to talk to my dean I wasn’t even concerned about dollars. That never even came up. What was important to me was time. My disposable time. Maybe what I want when I negotiate is I want to change something. Maybe what I want when I want to negotiate is I want to have influence on an outcome. Maybe I want to have more control over my schedule. Maybe, all sorts of maybes. All sorts of things that we could want more of. But it’s really important for us to figure out what it is we are looking for in our negotiation. Because that is the critical first step in thinking about how to problem solve. So, the first thing I want to, the thing I really think is important for us to understand though is when we negotiate even when we problem solve it’s not any solution. The goal of the negotiation is not to get the other side to say yes, the goal of a negotiation is to get a good deal. And one of the things, that’s why it’s important for us to understand what it is we want more of, because we need to figure out what is the goal that we’re trying to achieve. What would be a good deal for us in the interaction? And as you think about what would be a good deal let me give you some parameters to consider. First I want to think about being able to propose solutions to my counterparts in a particular way. An outcome that makes me better off but because it is negotiation and negotiation is not about command and control. Negotiation is about the other side being willing to come with you in the direction you would like to go. What that means is I can’t force you to say yes. I need to understand how to frame and think about your interests in the solutions that I propose, because what I want to do is I want to create an outcome that makes me better off for example teaching five courses rather than six and makes my counterpart whole, keeps them whole, or perhaps makes them better off. And that’s the sweet spot. That’s what I’m looking for. So how do I know what a good deal is? Well I’m going to suggest there are four things that we should think about as you try to figure out what a good deal would be for you. And the first is, what happens to you if you don’t reach a deal? I clearly understood this when I went to talk to my dean. One possibility was he could say, you know Maggie, that’s great. I really appreciate your willingness to teach longer I wasn’t really asking to teach longer but that’s okay, he probably said let’s say that, but you’re going to teach six anyway because that’s what the Provost wants. And I could do the following, I put my hands on my hips and say, absolutely not. I will not put up with this. I am leaving. And try to go find another job. I could do that. That would just be stupid. I wouldn’t do that. Okay. Probably what I would do, okay I knew what I would do, I’d say, oh okay, just wanted to make sure you had all the information. Six it is then. Right? That was my alternative. I would have thought six. Your alternative is your safety net. It’s what happens if the proposals that you’re making don’t get accepted. What are you left with? And it’s a very powerful piece of information for you to have. That safety net. Because what it does is, it tells you what happens to you if you walk away. If there is no deal. And your biggest source of power in any interaction that is even basically framed as a negotiation is your ability to walk away, or convince the other side that you will. And what makes it easier for you to do, is having a good alternative. Now, the second thing you need to think about is your reservation prize. So you’ve got your safety net. Now, what happens in the negotiation? Because your safety net as you might realize is outside the negotiation. So what happens when you’re in the negotiation. What do you need to think about? And the first thing you need to think about is what is your reservation prize. What is that tipping point, where you are indifferent between taking the deal that’s being proposed or invoking your alternatives. And this gives you a sense of your bottom line in the negotiation. But if all you think about, are those two aspects of your negotiation. What happens if there were no deal? Or what is your tipping point? That point of indifference. You will systematically underperform in every negotiation that you do. Because of a very simple but powerful psychological process. Expectations drive behaviors. Your alternative is safety net. Your reservation prize is your point of indifference between no deal and a deal. So what you also have to do is you have to think about what your aspiration is. And this is something that actually surprisingly few people do. What is an optimistic assessment of what you could achieve in this negotiation? And it’s not that first offer that you throw out that you’re not really committed to. This is something that you have considered. Because literally you have to leverage up your expectations about what is possible. Because if we have low expectations our outcomes will be correspondingly low. And then the fourth point you need to think about is how does this look from my counterpart’s perspective? Because again there is no deal unless you both can say yes. So part of what makes a very skilled negotiator successful is the ability to understand and frame the proposals in a way that the counterpart says wow, this is exactly what I need. This solves my problems. So let me just give you a little push because a lot of us, you’re thinking okay maybe I can understand why other people should negotiate, but I’m not so sure I should be yet. Let me see if I can motivate you a little bit. Why we need to negotiate. A colleague of mine did a study. And what she did was she asked managers in a very large multi national organization to engage in a survey and the survey asked people, they were in one of two conditions, the managers were either asked to give raises to decide how much to give to a group of equally qualified and responsible men and women. And in the first condition they were told when you give these raises, there is no recourse. The people who get the raises will simply get the information but they cannot come back to you and negotiate. In the second condition, they were given exactly the same information except that when they gave the raises people could come back and have a discussion with them about the basis for their raise. They could negotiate. The result was pretty depressing. When there was no opportunity for voice, there were no differences between the raises that the managers gave to their male or female subordinates. But when there was an opportunity for voice, they gave the males two and a half times more raises than they gave the women. Why? Well, those who are not expected to challenge were taxed to help those folks who would challenge. If you’re not going to negotiate if I know I have a pretty good assessment that you may not come back and complain I’m going to give more money to the squeaky wheels who complain. And not everybody is going to complain. I give enough money some of them will just go away too. So, just think about this. Not only does not negotiating hurt us, it hurts everybody, who’s expected not to negotiate. So that’s why we need to negotiate. Let me tell you why we don’t negotiate. We don’t even consider it an option. There are so many situations where folks don’t even think about a negotiation as the possibility for resolving or solving this problem. In my example of my Provost edict, there were 35 people on that email. 35 Stanford professors in the business school. 34 of them said nothing. Now it could be the case, so I will admit, it could be the case that I am the only one who had unique information about my classes lasting longer. That’s possible. That’s possible. Maybe it was the case that everybody is not as lazy as I am. And they actually really relish the opportunity for teaching and additional course. That’s possible too. You guys are so cynical. But, in the faculty lounge, there was a lot of carping going on, about how can they do this to us blah blah blah. But nobody did anything about it. They just took it. Now you may say, wow that’s crazy. Why wouldn’t they? Well let me just ask you another, how many of you for example have ever had the opportunity to visit a store called Nordstroms? Anybody here ever shop at Nordstroms? A hand raise please. Let’s get some commitment here. Okay. How many of you have ever bought anything? How many of you negotiated for it? I got one, I got two, I got three, four, five. Five out of I’m just going to go for the big number, 700. Okay. What stops you? What stops you from negotiating at Nordstroms? The sticker. There is a sticker on it. It says there is a price. And If I don’t want to pay that price I can always wait for a sale right? What else? Go ahead open outcry I can repeat it. It’s not part of our social dimension, what does that mean? Convention. Oh convention yes. That is, if there is a fixed price we know the rule. The rule is you just pay it or you walk right? And what about that poor sales clerk? Does she have to power to do that, to negotiate with you? A lot of you think no. And then it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. You don’t think she has power so you don’t ask. Have you ever been in a situation where you’re about to purchase something and the person who is going to take your money says to you stop. You’re paying too much. Let’s negotiate. But I bet for a lot of you, why you don’t negotiate is because you think people will think you’re poor. You can’t afford it. Right? Yeah, you’re going to be embarrassed in front of a sales clerk. Let me suggest to you that the research has been done. What do you think the correlation is between socioeconomic status and willingness to negotiate. Is it a positive correlation? Higher socioeconomic status, more willingness to negotiate or lower socioeconomic status more willing to negotiate? Yeah. Rich people could pay if they wanted to, but they don’t. So they say what can you do for me? Right? So part of what happens here is that the reason that we don’t see these situations as opportunities for negotiation is because we have a motivated misperception. For the most part we are very uncomfortable with negotiation. We just assume not see the world as negotiable. And this is really I think the challenge that many of us face. Is that we don’t even think about it as an option. We never ask. And I’m going to sort of keep coming back to that asking thing too, because that’s important. So the collaborative problem solving is important. The notion of can you ask? And I suspect for the five people who’ve actually negotiated at Nordstroms, They did, the equivalent of this example. Wow can you help me? That’s a little pricey, is there anything you can do for me? Doesn’t take much more than that. So you now have your homework. It doesn’t have to Nordstroms, it can be anything, any store. Because I can guarantee you that even if you go to very fancy department stores and you try to negotiate you may not be successful, but if you are not successful, they do not take your picture and put it outside and say, she cannot come back in. You are vanished. Right? It doesn’t happen. And by the way, it’s really easy to negotiate there because you can always walk away. And they don’t know who you are yet because you haven’t given your credit card right? Alright. Even experts demure. This was, I was sitting at home one day reading the New York Times and I found that in 2006, the US Open Grand Slam tennis tournament composed arguably of the best male and female tennis players in the world, right? Offered players the opportunity for the first time to challenge the line calls of the referees. And it turned out that the challenges were upheld about a third of the time. But, it turns out, that there was a big difference between how many times the men challenged the calls and the women, even though they had exactly the same number of calls they could challenge. That’s a big number. That’s a big difference. And should you think that this was 2006 so we’ve gotten a whole lot better. In the latest U.S. Tennis Open the results were reconfirmed so. We’re still having this big gender problem. Now maybe it’s the case that men’s tennis is so much faster that the referees make more mistakes. Maybe that’s the case. Or maybe that the women’s tennis is more interesting so they watch the women closer. Maybe that’s it. Or maybe the women are not as willing to challenge as the men. Maybe. No sometimes, we know others negotiate. So this is something like the first situation. It’s the second situation. And we know other people negotiate but we choose not to. And the reason that we may be hesitant is because number one, this perceived adversarialness of negotiation or perhaps and probably more important for many of us we’re concerned about the negative reputation that we might get for being too greedy. Too demanding. Or not nice. So have the following words ever gone through your head as you contemplated a negotiation? Let’s say something. Let’s do a big N negotiation kind of like, somebody offers you a job or a promotion, you think, you know, I know other people negotiate their compensation or their resources here, but here is what I’m going to do. I’m going to do really good work. And they will see my good work. And they will reward me. How did it work out for ya? If you believe that they will reward you with your good works. I really hope that you in fact do believe in an afterlife. Because that’s where your good works today might be rewarded. But even if my dean really cares about me really thinks that wow she’s great. I’m really glad she’s on the faculty, I can tell you that after I do something that he really likes, the next sentence after thinking what a great resource Maggie is coma. I wonder if we’re paying her enough. It’s not going to come into his mindset okay? That’s just not how he’s thinking about the situation. If someone is going to have to be concerned abut that if someone is going to have to be concerned about negotiating, if somebody’s going to have to ask. It’s going to have to be me. And the other reason that people know others negotiate but they don’t is because they have low expectations. And as I said before, expectations drive our behavior and we can go back to some basic psychology. All the way back to the early sixties, when we discovered the Pygmalion effect on sixth grade students in a Boston public school system. We can fast forward to the 1990’s where Claude Steele and John Aronson did a work on what’s called the stereotype effect. The stereotype threat. And let me just tell you that this morning as I was driving in to get to the airport there was a discussion on NPR about the stereotype threat. I’m just going to use it as an example. But they said be careful, because they’ve just discovered that it’s not as consistently being founded. Nevermind. We’ll talk about that later. Okay. So what stereotype threat is concern that a person feels when about to confirm as positive as an example of their. As a negative stereotype about their own group. And when I have that concern about creating the self fulfilling prophecy about myself, what happens is is that I get anxious. And I lower my expectations and my performance suffers. And the example, we’ll let’s think about a stereotype among asian females. Right, they have this wonderful stereotype. For something that seems to be quite objective. Math performance. Their asian identity. Good in math. Their female identity. Bad in math. When we highlight their asian identity we take two groups of asian women. Randomly assign them to two groups. Then highlight the asian identity of one of the groups and their female identity of the other group what we find is that those who had their asian identity highlighted in fact, do better on the math performance. When they have their female identity highlighted they do significantly worse. What was on NPR today was they’re trying to do some replications of this, and they found one situation where it does and one situation where it doesn’t replicate, so I’m still going with it. Okay. But I just want to be fully open to you that there is some question, but here is what was interesting and a recent study, a subsequent study that was done, what they found was, this effect went away when women took the math test under somebody else’s name. It doesn’t matter if it’s a male or female you just aren’t, if you aren’t the one who is about to confirm as negative a stereotype about your group it goes away. So from now on, I’m taking all my math tests under the name of Serena. That’s my new math name okay? Turns out it didn’t affect men. But women, even if the name were female, female or male, it didn’t matter as log as it was not your own name. Your performance actually was the same as men, and equal to women who were not cued into their stereotype. So, kind of interesting. It also affects negotiations. We can create stereotype threat in the negotiations pretty simply. And a lot of folks do think that there are big differences between how men and women negotiate. And I’m here to tell you that the differences are not nearly as big because they are so malleable. So let me just give you what the researchers did. They actually created two situations that had males and females in one of two groups. And what they did was, they told one group, both males and females that negotiators who display the following behaviors tend to perform worse. And you can sort of see the negative male information. That label, negative male stereotype, they did no give that to the participants they just told them that the information underneath that and then they had anther group, both males and females, to whom they gave the negative female stereotype information. And they said, negotiators who display the following behaviors tend to perform worse. And then what they did is they asked folks to set their aspirations. Optimistic assessments of what they could achieve in the negotiation. And here is what they found. They found, that when you basically had the negative male stereotype information given to you, that the females set higher aspirations than their male counterparts. And when they had the negative female information the males set higher aspirations than their female counterparts did, right? I mean, look how malleable that is by just giving people a little information about who negotiates well. And then, well that’s just aspirations. Nobody is negotiated yet. So what happens when they actually negotiate it. Well what happens was is that you get this wonderful interaction. Look at this. When they got the negative female information the males outperformed their female counterparts. But when they got the negative male information the females outperformed their male counterparts. If it’s this malleable, it’s controllable. And so this is what I want you to think about. That in fact, negotiation we can all do it really well. And let’s think about that. And what I want you to think about that is as we think about we can all negotiate well, I want you to think about the choice to negotiate. And I want to sort of highlight some work that was done by a colleague of mine Linda Babcock, and what she did was, she was in the dean’s office and helped to develop a survey. She’s, her research often times involves a lot of things, but some of it is negotiation. So she added a few question to the typical survey. The exit survey that we do for MBA students. And what she found was that when she surveyed the exiting MBA students, there was a 7.6% differential between the exiting salaries of male MBA students and the exiting salaries of female MBA students. Now given all the talk about equal pay that’s happened recently you might be surprised at how low that is. That actually isn’t that big but, it’s still pretty distributing and discouraging. But she asked a second question, and the second question really kind of changed the course of her own life. Because it basically caused her to write a book which became quite well known called Women Don’t Ask. But here is the result. Only 7% of the women reported that they had actually initiated an attempt to negotiate the terms of their employment contract while 57% of the men did. And that there was no difference in success by gender. It was that they asked and those who ask ended up getting about seven a little over 7% increase in their salary. So while this one, this would not erase the 7.6% difference if everybody negotiated. It would certainly reduce it dramatically. But that’s a small difference, 7%. So there might be pushback. Some of you may even be thinking that wow, 7%. Okay let’s say for ease of math. 100%. $100,000. So I negotiate. I get $107,000. I don’t negotiate I get $100,000. Is that $7,000 premium worth the potential reputational damage that I might get? That I might incur from my colleagues for being too demanding? Too greedy? And not nice? No, that’s the wrong answer. Yes, is not the right answer. It’s no. Let me show you why. Thank you for being such a good audience. I love this. Alright. Whats’ the real cost. Is it $7,000. No. What’s the real cost? Let’s do a little thought experiment. How about a quick thought experiment? So, we got two people. Chris and Fraser. Two equally qualified applicants. Get offers from the same company. For $100,000 dollars a year. Now, Chris negotiates and gets, I don’t know a 7.6% increase. $107,600. Fraser accepts the 100,000 dollars. We’re going to make two heroic assumptions, so we can follow them and see what happens. Number one. Chris and Fraser stay at the same company, for the next 35 years. Number two. The company is blameless, the company treats Chris and Fraser identically. They give Chris and Fraser the same 5% raise every year for the next 35 years. When Chris turns 65 he retires. And now my question to you is how many more years does Fraser have to work for those of you who said yes, how many more years will Fraser have to work, til Fraser is as wealthy as Chris when Chris retires? Oh man. I’ve got, now I’ve made some people crazy. They’re saying like 28 years. The actual number is eight. But that’s a big number. Right? And it only gets worse. Because the company is not going to treat Chris and Fraser the same. Because what’s going to happen over those 35 years? The salary differential between Chris and Fraser is going to get bigger and bigger and bigger, to the point when Chris retires, that salary difference is more than a $100,000 difference. So how will the company conceptualize Chris’ contribution to the organization and Fraser’s when they’re paying Chris $100,000 more than Fraser? The same? They’re not going to give Chris and Fraser the same raise are they? Chris is going to get more. So what happens if Chris gets half a percent more? Let’s say over those 35 years Chris gets five and a half percent Fraser gets five. No how many more years? And if it’s 1%? 6%. 5%. Fraser can’t live lone enough. Right? Fraser just can’t live long enough. So, not negotiating. This big N negotiation. Somewhere between eight and 47 years of your life. Then I turn to my MBA students and I say how about that? Is that enough to make you want to negotiate. It might be. But if you don’t want to that’s okay. Right? But as long as you do the correct analysis if that’s your choice that’s good. And this is just the cost of one negotiation avoided. What about all the rest of them? What about all those opportunities, that aren’t big N but little n? This is one happens infrequently. Most of us don’t get jobs offers that often. And so, I’m focusing on the little n negotiations because they happen all the time. And we can aggregate the value that we can create, across multiple opportunities. Now, the question now is how can I negotiate for change? Well, I hope that I have convinced you or at least gotten you to think about the fact that you need to actually be more proactive in initiating negotiations and asking. But that’s not the only thing you need to do, you need to think how can I influence my counterparts in ways that help them come along with me on my journey of change. And the first thing that I want suggest to you is that you may want to think about how you can strategically leverage their desire for agreement. It turns out that we human beings have what at least some researchers have identified as a biased to agreement. What do I mean by that? We believe that agreement equals success in a negotiation. So we actually seek out agreement. We are attracted to agreement. To things that are termed agreement. Let me give you a study that some colleagues of mine have actually done. This has not been published yet so, do not take this as truth because they’ve not gone through a peer review yet but, it’s got some intriguing results which are going to seem pretty face valid I think. What I want you to do is I’m not going to tell you the whole long experimental process that went on through these four studies. But I want you to look at the relevant position of the blue line to the red line. The participants in this study were asked to make a choice between option A and option B, and we’re talking about the blue line right now. Option A was not particularly good for them. But some folks chose it anyway and you can sort of see depending upon the experiment that that number ranged from a low of 4% to a high of about 32%. The experimenters then did nothing else but changed the label of option A and option B to agreement option and impasse option. Nothing else. And look how many more people decided to say yes, to this arguably bad outcome. Because it was labeled agreement. So my suggestion to you is, as you’re trying to get folks to move in a direction that is to achieve the solution that you’re looking for, one of the things you want to frame it as is as an agreement. As a way for us to move together forward. Then, figure out what motivates them. What I find really interesting is that how many people basically continued to spend their time thinking that all I do in a negotiation is think about what I want, what I need to understand and what is really helpful for me when I negotiate is understanding what the other side wants. So much like I just said to you early on, figure out what you want we also need to figure out what they want. And use it to help frame your arguments. Frame your proposals. And then emphasize their alternatives. What happens if we don’t reach a deal? What happens then? And one of the things I want to highlight is that framing their alternative, their safety nets. Will make your solution typically look much better. And it turns out that there has been a series of studies that suggest that if we frame, that people who actually frame things in terms of their alternatives that is their safety net, rather than their aspirations actually feel really good about the outcome. This is sort of the paradox. I want to highlight the blue bar is how much value those folks were able to create. And what you see is that when you highlight your aspirations or you emphasize your aspirations you actually get more value then when you highlight your alternatives. But, the question was asked and how satisfied are you with that outcome and you’ll notice that people here got a lot less and they’ve got more satisfaction because what the comparison is what was I hoping my safety net, I typically exceed my safety net. I feel good about that. If you focus on our aspirations you’ll get more but you’ll feel worse. So what I’m trying to frame to my counterparts, why they should say, yes to my proposals. I’m going to highlight as best I can in a very subtle and nuanced way their alternatives. What happens to them, if this doesn’t work. And then I want to enlist my counterparts in my quest and it turns out that that’s a lot simpler than we often times try to make it and the first is there is this wonderful phenomenon called reciprocity. So I’m going to give you a secret phrase. It’s not that secret but it’s surprising how we don’t think it works but this is sort of like a it’s a set of secret words. And here is the secret phrase. Can you help me? It’s surprising how often people will say yes to you. It’s surprising how good they will feel when they can help you. So think about that. It’s just like going into Nordstroms and looking at that clerk in the eye and saying can you help me? I really like these shoes, but they’re just too expensive. Can you help me? And ask differently. Pair your ask with a communal concern for the needs and challenges of your counterparts. This is the critical part, this is the problem solving orientation. How can you be perceived as greedy demanding a not nice when you’re solving somebody else’s problems. It’s really hard to do. And many of us, in this room, are consummate problem solvers. So may I suggest you use that frame when you negotiate. Why do we settle for less? Well because we also get bound up in that notion of let’s get a deal. Let’s get a yes. And sometimes we focus on our alternatives rather than our aspirations. And sometimes we ignore our options. We aren’t thinking creatively about what’s out there. What’s possible. We get so focused on a particular outcome that everything else fades to insignificance. And sometimes that means we take deals worse that makes us worse off. So, I want to suggest a four stage process. I’m going to go through this pretty quickly. It’s going to be available to you but what I want you to think about is sensing the situation. You’ve got a challenge. Assess it. Is there an opportunity to problem solve here in a way that makes me better off? Makes my counterparts at least whole? Then I need to prepare for that. And then I need to initiate the conversation. I need to ask. I need to make a proposal. And when I propose I would like you to consider keeping the proposal in what I call a package. That there are multiple issues in that because it makes it a whole lot easier to move away from that adversarial perspective if we’re negotiating over a package then if we’re negotiating issue by issue. And, I want to highlight one other thing. And that is, negotiations are interdependent. Every bad deal to which you have agreed you have agreed. Every bad deal you’ve gotten you said yes to. One of the things that is pretty clear is that if you say yes to a a bad deal you know exactly that you’re going to get. But if you can walk away while leaving the door open for future discussions you may motivate your counterpart to come back to the table with solutions that can make you better off. Your counterpart is likely to be affected by that agreement equals success equation. And who knows, maybe their alternatives are really much worse than the proposals that you are offering. But you have to motivate them. So, let me sort of wrap up. By the power of the ask. If you don’t ask, how will others know what you want? And I think this is a really important statement. We have got to ask for what we want. And secondly, if you don’t ask, who will? And some folks by the way are better at asking for others, than asking for themselves. And as part of a change agent that’s what we need. Folks who are willing to ask for others. And let me just highlight a study that was done by some colleagues of mine at Harvard. And what they found is, while women typically get less for themselves they get more for others compared to men when they negotiate. Let me just give you the result. It’s a big difference. Wow. So let me just tell you the guys in the room have a bigger challenge. It’s harder for them to get more for other people but it’s easier for women to. So now, the gauntlet has been thrown. And, now I’m going to ask you for whom do you wish to negotiate? For whom will you ask? For your team? For your organization? For those who come after you? Who will you ask for? Who will you represent? How will you change the world? And, I’ve got some references just in case you want them. Thank you very much. And now we have about five minutes for questions and we have these runners here who’ve been waiting all afternoon, to get their exercise. So raise your hand and if you have a question we will be glad to answer them. I will be glad to answer them. Here is one right here in the front row. Second row. We’ve got some more.


MAGGIE NEALE: No, you have to actually talk.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Would you quickly please go over the the stuff that you heard on NPR.

MAGGIE NEALE: The stuff that I heard, oh. What it said was, is that there have been subsequent studies done because there’s been a lot of challenge in the psychology literature. Some of the studies have not been replicated and they have actually found, one situation it happened in Berkeley if you happen to be an asian woman in Berkeley you’re free from this because it turns out that identifying the age, in Berkeley when they divided women into two groups asian women, identified their asian identity or their female identity, they found no difference, but it still worked in the Midwest. So they don’t know the answer yet, but it’s still good enough they were going to keep going with it.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Do you think that these studies that are in a sense like confirming a status quo are they contributing to stereotyping like when we like hear some of these studies that’s sort of showing how things are right now. Does it then contribute to like more, are we contributing to the restrictive stereotypes than by like making this more science as opposed to pop culture?

MAGGIE NEALE: Well I think one of the things that is, unless we know these effects we don’t have anything to push against. And so one of the things I think is interesting and one of the reasons I use these studies is to show that this is what stereotypes do. Rather than this is what the world is like. And that if we can change our perspective. if something as simple as changing my name like put a fake name on the test, which of course I know has some other issues but it changes the stereotype. Then there’s got to be ways we can change, what I’m really trying to focus on and I think these studies do is they say that basically these stereotypes are not destiny. We have a choice. In the back there. You guys can run around. I don’t really need to point people out.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: I think it’s me.

MAGGIE NEALE: Yeah okay.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Way in the back here.

MAGGIE NEALE: Alright hi.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Is it better to be liked or respected if you’re trying to negotiate?

MAGGIE NEALE: It’s a challenge that women face is the paradox between being liked and being respected. It turns out that may I suggest that this collaborative problem solving perspective mitigates the not liking you problem when you negotiate because what is the challenge that women face is we are seeing too demanding, gritty or not nice it make people uncomfortable. When I solve them their problems it makes them happy. Because I’m helping them solve their problems. So what it means is I need to be more strategic. But yes it is by the way, we inculcate those norms. And so let me suggest to you is you can consider as you move up in the organizations whatever organization you’re in if you want to be liked as you move up through the organization I have the perfect solution for you. Get a dog. Because if you are a successful leader there will be people who will not like you, because you will be stepping on their toes. That’s the nature of good leadership. And so if you really want to be liked truly my dogs love me more than almost anything and anybody and I’ve been married to the same guy for 34 years. Okay Thank you uhm.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: his has been great by the way, thank you so much. I’d like a little bit of your thoughts. I mentor a lot of young women specifically in the area of negotiation and you’ve got a lot of really good tid bits I’m going to use. But one area that I always find difficult is when a young woman is faced in a negotiation with a particularly difficult person who’s just one of those people that is all about winning and when a woman takes that difficult negotiation too personally. And I just want to know what your advice and counsel is that you give to folks in those types of situations.

MAGGIE NEALE: One of the things I tell the people is that if my counterpart really really wants to win I will have done my homework enough, that I can give them the sense that they’ve won, when in fact I’ve walked away with more value. So what that means is is that I need to understand what motivates them and frame my proposal in how they’re going to win. I need to help move them in a direction that lets them think they’ve won when in fact I’ve walked away with more of the value. And I think there are a lot of opportunities for that. What you shouldn’t do and I don’t think anybody should, it’s not just young women nobody should. Let’s do a battle now. We’re going to bump bellies and see who is going to win. Let me tell you though. What happens there is that both parties do worse. Where you get the most value creation is when a high power player negotiates with a lower power player. There you get coordination in value creation. And the low power player who gets less than the high power player who can admit that, gets more than if they were a high power player against a high power player. Or a low power player against a low power player. So it turns out that being in the low power position has some benefit. Because it makes you motivated to create value. And I’m now getting pulled off the stage.

BOBBY SCHNABEL: Not quite, stay here.

MAGGIE NEALE: Thank you very much.

BOBBY SCHNABEL: So, in spite of my day job being a dean, I think that was a wonderful talk, and we got a really good deal from Nordstroms.

MAGGIE NEALE: Thank you, thank you.

BOBBY SCHNABEL: And now it’s my pleasure to welcome up here the co-founder and CEO of NCWIT, Lucy Sanders.

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