Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Negotiating Styles

I'm a lawyer. When I negotiate, I tell the other side what I want up front. I push the envelope some, and what I want does not always mesh with what I believe I can ultimately get. But I don't play games. Realistically I couldn't pull off the gameplaying with panache. Idealistically I want to be myself and use the system for the good of my client, not the other way around. If I do play a game, it is the game of refusing to play a game.

When I started in the law 19 years ago, the other side often thought I was bluffing. I had envelopes pushed back at me. At times I got less than what was fair, and wondered if my style got in the way. Over time though, I have trained lawyers to know that when I tell them what I want, I mean it. This is my bottom line and I will fight to the end if there is no proper compromise.

I still have to train new opponents. I still have to know my stuff so I can follow through with the "or else" part. But I get to do my job authentically. And these days, I get answers faster. In the long run, my way is both more honorable and easier. Any parent would agree that having clear boundaries is key. So I love Obama's negotating style. It suits me. I think it will work in the long run. I do wonder, though, about other Obama fans whose negotiating styles are different. How are they going to tolerate him for the (hopefully) next eight years?

No comments: