Monday, September 27, 2010

The New Rules of International Negotiation

Negotiating is an integral part of everyday interactions in businesses and organizations. Negotiating to Yes offers the opportunity to prepare and plan content and strategies for a successful negotiation—international and at home. That’s the easy part. We often plan what to say and seldom plan the questions to ask. Are you and your team practicing the behaviors that lead to success in negotiations?
  • Do you wonder if you often give in too soon? Or too much?
  • What can I do? They have all the power…do they?
  • Have you been able to influence the other side to accept your idea?
  • What can I do with a ‘cement head’, his only response is ‘No, can’t do it.’
  • How do you get the resources needed for your project? Or to get your job done?
  • How much should I ask for? It’s my career on the line.
  • The deal is big, yet the talk is small. How can I move it forward?
  • How can I build trust with someone who is not trustworthy?
  • Did I ask too little? Or, did they respond too soon?
“Shoot the messenger” does apply to negotiations. The results of any negotiation depend on who you send—what they say and how they say it. Yes, it is the messenger! CDL makes behaviors quantifiable and measurable. The concrete labels of behaviors make it easy to pick one up to use over one that is less effective.

As a global leader, you work with complexity every day. Taking a breath and breaking down the components of negotiations by practicing the action steps below in your local and international negotiations will dramatically improve your effectiveness.
  • Effectively preparing and planning the content and strategies for a negotiation.
  • Managing behaviors to create a collaborative environment
  • Conducting a negotiation to an acceptable agreement
  • Using appropriate behaviors for a diversity of cultures
So what are you waiting for? It’s not too late to start negotiating better.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Building and Rebuilding Trust

The platform for sustained performance in leadership is TRUST—a work environment that supports open-mindedness, respects individual integrity, and promotes empathy that builds relationships and earns trust. Stop for a moment and ask yourself – do you conduct business with people you absolutely mistrust? Unless we are in monopolistic markets or in a position where we believe we have no choice, I suspect that you answer is always an emphatic “no”. Why then do we think we can run a business or organization or get customers to buy from us when there is little or no trust?

There is a lack of confidence in today’s marketplace. Uncertainty is the norm but it does not have to breed hesitancy for action and even partnership. Doing more with less requires being able to delegate and motivate others to confidently help. No progress can be made without this fundamental value of building trust. Today fear is a constant in most environments. Fear affronts trust and creative risk taking. To be efficient, timely and productive the work environment has to be inclusive and trustworthy/ non-threatening. Trust frees a staff of time- consuming guardedness and allows the focus to be on the work at hand and on the solutions for quality and high performance.

The ability to map and understand the value created and destroyed by a lack of trust is within employee networks. Leaders reorient the networks toward revenue and productivity with shared values and trust. They also identify the places in the network where collaborative breakdowns inhibit progress. Where does it make sense to invest in training, tools and team building efforts? Start with where your business or organization is failing to perform or meet its goals.

Employees will easily accommodate change if they work in an environment of trust. The trust will breed a resiliency to lead ahead of change. Resiliency can be developed and reinforced through a consistency of response, through planning and through an understanding of behaviors. Dealing with behaviors—making them concrete and measurable is more difficult than ‘restructuring’. It also takes longer, yet the impact on the top and bottom line is powerful.

Since the market is now global, the workforce is now diverse, and technology evolves daily, a corporate culture has to respond in a timely way to the needs of these changes. Corporate culture starts with changing one person at a time, behavior by behavior. Collaborating effectively across business and national cultures is common for doing business today. The contemporary workforce and customer base profiles a diversity of background and nationality. A global leader must communicate and facilitate well the interactions of these distinct communities.

How do the institutions teach trust – in a practical, impactful way? Do they teach behaviors in business colleges versus the psychology department? If not, it should be presented with a focus on the values of cultural diversity. For a generation that expects special treatment, students should be reintroduced to the strategic virtues – Acceptance, Openness, Respect and Empathy. This is critical to their academic development if they are going to lead with Trust.

Structure and processes support management of an organization, BUT it is the behaviors that support or detract in the act of leadership. Clear, current communication of processes and the ever-evolving business plan are a valued resource to support staff, with little cost. When verbal behaviors are identified and quantified they become a guideline for ‘how to’ influence and ultimately build trust. It is an actual behavioral plan for leadership—meeting, presenting and negotiating. Building trust replaces uncertainty with confidence, and half-truths with transparency.

The global marketplace suffered together—now together we can grow and succeed. This is a time for fostering global leadership—a time to build relationships that transcend exclusivity and invite diversity. There has never been a better time to build trust.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Navigating The World With Cultural Intelligence

Cultural intelligence is still a term in its infancy. It refers to being able to navigate businesses and organizations in alignment with cultural factors in a given situation to achieve results. It is more comprehensive than just doing what is acceptable in a cultural context. Rather, how can businesses and organizations achieve results in a way that is respectful of how business is conducted in that particular culture, or empower employees in a way that is effective for a particular culture and/or geography?

Today’s organizations and leaders operate in a global environment, while simultaneously needing to meet distinct local needs. The contemporary workforce and customer base profiles a diversity of backgrounds and nationalities. Yet, the gap between theory and practice of global leadership remains very large as we look at different ways to lead people in this globally complex world.

The most common aspect of training on cultural intelligence is knowledge of cultures, i.e. information specific to country and regions, and general knowledge about how cultures work when we are in the midst of multiple cultures at the same time. This gives some frameworks and builds confidence in interactions. Then there are specific skills or competencies such as curiosity, open-mindedness, humility and cross-cultural communication that are demonstrated in specific, reliable behaviors that create ease and build trust.

Through both deep observation and practice at CDL, we believe the critical basis of cultural intelligence is mindfulness or paying attention. Again, if we bring it back to ourselves, we prefer to spend time with people we respect and trust. The capacity to be aware of our own behaviors and continuously learn from their impacts is the cornerstone of cultural intelligence. People with high cultural intelligence also have high emotional intelligence. They practice consistent behaviors for different situations, and act with integrity even while adapting and growing. With mindfulness, leaders grow the ability to be themselves, while allowing the space and respect for others to be themselves.

The challenge to facilitate the varied priorities of different cultures requires an understanding of how each prefers to do business. Learning every custom or tradition of a culture is advantageous, yet the relationship will evolve from mutual respect. Have you thought about the points below in your leadership?

• Understanding Business Cultures
• Identifying the Business Values – the “How” you do business.
• Distinguishing Individual Cultures
• Finding the Values in Each Culture

Each individual and the relationships between individuals are complex. Global leadership, at its best, makes room for each person to manage complexity effectively. Yet the premise of the values and behaviors in each organization either surfaces these attributes, or hampers them. What behaviors are you choosing to surface in your organizations?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Leadership is in the Action

Our current economic environment has created a sub-culture of fear. Individually there is a fear of loss of position, of not finding a job, of loss of benefits, and of taking a risk. Organizationally there is a fear of loss of competitiveness, of loss of customer base, and loss of revenue. It is in this climate that we have to lead the economic recovery.

Today, expectations for growing revenue, new clients and global expansion are the norm for businesses and organizations. Cross-border mergers and acquisitions now represent 40% of global activity. Companies in emerging markets are among the fastest growing and continue to establish themselves as both buyers and sellers. Juxtapose that against an environment that is underpinned by uncertainty and doing more with less – it’s a wonder that leaders sleep at night with the decisions you have to make.

How do you build an organization or team that is nimble when uncertainty is the norm, not the exception? While many may answer “with your people’, the gap between this belief and acting on those beliefs are miles apart. “The winners will be those that enable their thinking-intensive employees to create more profits by putting their collective mind power to better use.” Research has shown that even a few good choices can paralyze individuals and prevent them from making a decision, let alone a company or organization.

In any leadership role, the critical questions are why, what and how we do something. Yet, even the most carefully thought through decisions and actions often fail. In todays climate, discretionary spending, talent and the ability to focus are the scarce resources. We believe that the underlying WHO – both leaders and employees who take actions and deliver results – often determine the outcome of any situation. If you pause for a moment and ask yourself why you follow or believe a person, situation, organization or brand, the deep answer always lies in congruence of ACTIONS. Do you and your people ask that same questions of yourselves? Processes are necessary and give a defined structure and map for reaching objectives and they are one of many tools for effective management. However, true leadership is experienced and observed through behaviors and both emotional and cultural intelligence are required in global and local business. Leadership IS in the action and built in each interaction.

So why is investment in people, including yourself, and perceived intangibles the first to be cut in any economic downturn? At CDL, we often come across the flawed belief that investment in talent cannot be measured. For over 12 years CDL has researched and quantified and taught verbal behaviors to help businesses and organizations achieve results. This has further verified our belief that leadership starts with every action and behavior we choose.

Effective collaboration is more critical than ever in our interconnected world, within organizations, between organizations, within networks and across cultures. Through the measurement of behaviors, we can and have quantified the benefits and costs of collaboration. Leadership starts with individual behavior, which leads to team behavior culminating into organizational behavior. These are the actions that lead to the positive outcomes we all want to achieve in business and organizations. We hope you will stay tuned for further discussions on global leadership and join our discussion.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Negotiable Family Wedding

Time out to enjoy and celebrate--these times allow more energy for work and business later!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

March 2008 Crain's Chicago Business