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Can't Negotiate Everything!

Brian Buck
© Scotwork NA

Almost ⅓ of the population watched the Super Bowl. Did you see when Bill Belichick negotiated with the referee? Or when Julian Edelman negotiated with the safeties to get more yards? Or Sean McVay negotiating with Commissioner Goodell to give him the Lombardi trophy instead of Belichick? Of course not! Why? Because you can’t negotiate everything! When should you negotiate?

In my opinion, there are certain elements that need to exist in order for a true negotiation to take place. These elements are:

  • Motivation
  • Value
  • Authority

Motivation. While you might be motivated, the other party needs to be motivated as well. If the motivation to negotiate doesn’t exist on both sides, then a successful negotiation is highly unlikely. In many situations, you may have to entice the other party to negotiate but unless you understand their motivation, it won’t happen.

Value. Negotiation is a trading process not a taking process. Therefore, you need to have something the other party values that you would be willing to trade for something you value that they have. Without that basic equation, there’s really nothing more to discuss.

Authority. So, both sides are motivated. Both sides have something of value to the other to trade. But one or both sides doesn’t have the authority to negotiate - then no negotiation can happen. This one can be tricky because people don’t always disclose whether they have the authority or not. It’s always good to figure that one early on or you’re going to waste a lot of time.

If all of the above exist, then a negotiation can happen. Test for all of these before you attempt to negotiate. Without them, you’ll waste time, probably get frustrated, and almost definitely not get what you want.

While McVay and the Rams would have liked to have negotiated a better outcome, the right environment didn’t exist. I guess they’ll just have to play better next time (easy for me to say!).

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