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How do you get ready for an important negotiation? There’s the usual stuff – thinking about your goals and how to achieve them – but what about your mindset? In October we’ll offer input on exactly that.

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Grown-up Lego (a.k.a. Relationship Management)

Relationships, whether at work or at home, are built action by interaction, in much the way kids build structures out of Lego. Yet many of us treat those interactions as transactions…as finite moments or happenings that have no bearing on what comes next and nothing at all to do with the whole structure of the relationship.

The excuses are familiar and self-serving, i.e. “I’m pressed for time …so it’s okay for me to hurry this process.” “I’m under a lot of pressure to produce here …so to heck with their needs.” “I’m higher on the pay scale/have more experience than them …so I can afford to be brusque or ignore the niceties.” Add in misnomers (‘It’s just business’ or ‘business is business’), and the right to treat others cavalierly or as a means to an end is justified.

The lack of relationship management is particularly noticeable during negotiations, whether between countries, multi-nationals, teams at work, or between two individuals who are divvying-up household chores. The setting barely matters; the fall-out is the same: loss of respect and/or trust for the other person, resentment, grudges, or avoidance.

The shame is, if we don’t take a proactive approach to our relationships, we not only miss out on the richness of well-managed interactions and superior outcomes, we also damage our reputations.

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