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Slide Notes

Think Your Colleague is Prickly? Imagine Negotiating with Donald Trump

Published at Jan 25, 2017

Former Ambassador to the United States Derek Burney Offers Key Insights on Working with Difficult People. By Michael Labun, Freelance Workshop Facilitator. Find him at www.bebetteratwork.com

PRESENTATION OUTLINE

Think Your Colleague is Prickly?

    Photo by Michael Vadon

    Former Ambassador to the United States Derek Burney Offers Five Key Insights on Working with Difficult People

    In many ways, Justin Trudeau and Donald Trump are opposites 

    ..on issues like:

    • Immigration
    • Gender
    • Diversity
    • Immigration Gender Diversity
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    Untitled Slide

    • More importnating
    • More pressing is the fact that the new president of the US wants to re-negotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement ASAP.

    If you're Trudeau, you lead a country that has 65% of its foreign trade with the United States, so this is an important deal.

    • If you're Trudeau, you lead a country that has 65% of its foreign trade with the United States, so this is an important deal.
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    To a greater or lesser degree, each of us has a Donald Trump in our lives: a tough, prickly, sometimes even immoral person we wish didn't have to deal with.

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    How do you negotiate with such people?

    In a recent interview, former ambassador to the United States Derek Burney had some advice for the new Trudeau/Freeland team.

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    As a conflict resolution coach, I was struck by how universally applicable Burney's techniques were:

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    Burney's Negotiation Advice

    • Your relationship matters - a lot
    • Note the bark but focus on the bite
    • Be both relaxed and circumspect
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    I'll deal with each of these, one at a time

    I'll also provide a four-step model for dealing with difficult people
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    1. Your relationship matters

    • Burney told his audience.
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    Therefore beware of the tendency...

    ...to focus on differences 
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    If Trudeau were to talk with Trump about sexism or racism, it is unlikely they settle their differences.

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    "It's much more constructive... to stake out areas of common ground and try to find agreement..."

    He raised his voice and spoke with passion, ".... find areas of common ground, that's the best way to get attention..."

    Even unrelated similarities can help lubricate interactions.

    "Personal relations are the most critical item in the diplomatic tool bag," he asserted.

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    For example, Trump and Trudeau are both dealmakers who know how to work the media.

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    When Jimmy Carter negotiated the Camp David Accords

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    Even though he and Menachem Begin didn't get along as well,

    Carter broke the ice when he made an emotional connection with the Israeli Prime Minister

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    He met with him and said, "You know, this is not just for us. This is for our grandchildren."

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    Carter gave Begin gifts for each of his grandchildren, with their names already on the gifts.

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    Begin was deeply moved. The Camp David Accord was signed later that day.

    Personal connection in a negotiation has changed and can change the world.

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    2. Note the bark

    ...but focus on the bite 
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    Burney pointed out that what a public figure says to the media can be different from what they negotiate behind closed doors.

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    Tellingly, on Trump's own website, the dialogue on NAFTA does not even mention Canada, just Mexico.

    While we should always be prepared that people might make good on their threats, it's also important to make it easy for the person to back down without trapping them in their words.

    will soften in a negotiation:

    So to increase the chances that your prickly person 
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    Softening Your Prickly Person

    • Prepare by guessing what they want
    • Begin by making a relational connection
    • Get them talking about their needs (find out what they really want)
    • When it's your turn:
    • A. Arrive with a sense of they really want but do not hold them to it
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    When it's your turn

    • Happily point out areas of agreement
    • Before discussing your bottom line, give reasons for your bottom line
    • i. Set a positive tone: Happily point out areas of agreement.

    When possible, act as though they would have a different opinion if they had the complete information about where you're coming from

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    Bear in mind that the reasons for your position need to be addressed, more than your position

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    I have had many negotiations where I never staked out exactly what I wanted; just named the reasons I wanted to keep talking.

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    I have had many negotiations where I never staked out exactly what I wanted; just named the reasons I wanted to keep talking.

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    When I do that, I find I often get MORE of what I want.

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    When it's your turn, continued

    • Happily point out areas of agreement
    • Before discussing your bottom line, give reasons for your bottom line
    • Name the disagreement succinctly, as a joint problem to be solved
    • i. Set a positive tone: Happily point out areas of agreement.
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    Do this in two steps

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    First, ask the other party, "What's your goal here today?" Get them to re-state their purpose. Usually they are there to negotiate.

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    Second, summarize both parties' needs by describing the problem in one sentence:

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    "So our purpose today is to negotiate an agreement so that you get as much of _______ as possible and we get as much of _______ as possible...

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    "Let's roll up our sleeves and figure out how we can best get that for our people."

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    3. Be both relaxed and circumspect

    Burney summed up his thoughts:

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    "I don't think we should be complacent but I don't think we should set our hair on fire, either.

    "I think we should keep our cool, be vigilant, and engage with the administration."

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    Burney's advice is good for all of us.

    Photo by JD Hancock

    Burney's Negotiation Advice

    • Your relationship matters - a lot
    • Note the bark but focus on the bite
    • Be both relaxed and circumspect
    Photo by Vandy CFT

    Softening Your Prickly Person

    • Prepare by guessing what they want
    • Begin by making a relational connection
    • Get them talking about their needs (find out what they really want)
    • When it's your turn:
    • A. Arrive with a sense of they really want but do not hold them to it
    Photo by jessicafm

    When it's your turn

    • Happily point out areas of agreement
    • Before or instead of discussing your bottom line, give the reasons for your bottom line
    • Name the disagreement succinctly, as a joint problem to be solved
    Photo by Bogdan Suditu

    For 20 years Michael Labun has been a mediator, conflict resolution coach and workshop facilitator. He has worked across Canada with Government, Businesses and Not-For-Profit agencies, helping them resolve conflict. You can find him at www. bebetteratwork .com