25 June 2011

Lesson #3: The Worth of Negotiations

I'm not a fan of the word.
It sounds like someone loses...or gives up... or decides to give in.

I prefer to negotiate.

But not the ruthless, take no prisoners, my way or the highway, whose most intimidating type of negotiations...let me enlighten you on a better way to negotiate.

Whenever two or more people come in contact there will be reasons to negotiate. Whether it is the universal question of what's for dinner, or more important things like where to raise a family. Learning to negotiate isn't about giving up or deciding who is right. It is a process by which you help or allow each other to proceed toward your goals. The purpose is to reach a mutually agreeable solution.

When we negotiate we should abide by the following guidelines:
Listen and seek to understand.
Keep the relationship the priority, be respectful.
Strive to satisfy the interests of both sides.

You'll notice I didn't say that we need to make sure things are fair or distributed evenly.

Common marital negotiations include many of the following issues: money, time, work, sex, kids, family, in-laws, vacations, etc., etc., ___(you fill in the blank) ___. In an Entrepreneurial Marriage those dynamics are tripled because of the additional partner in the marriage- the business venture. So in addition to the basics, you are also dealing with: money for the company,  time for the company, not to mention your relationship with the company,  your Entrepreneur's relationship with the company, your relationship with your Entrepreneur's relationship with the company...you get the picture.
    Negotiations happen every day and there are thousands and thousands of articles, blogs and tips about how to become an effective negotiator most of which involve being persuasive. It's a good point to look in to. However, you will recall that the title of this post was the worth of negotiations, so rather then list a bunch of tips and advice here, I'd rather focus on why negotiations are important in regards to being married to a Entrepreneur.

    Working to achieve a mutually agreeable solution isn't always easy. It requires give and take. Sometimes you'll give up more than your Entrepreneur, sometimes your Entrepreneur will give up more than you.  It's not always even or equal or fair, but it has worth because it will help you to protect what you value while allowing your Entrepreneur to seek after what they value too. It has worth because it strengths the unity within your marriage when you make decisions you can both agree with. It has worth because it provides an opportunity for you to share and understand and grow.

    I have come to a place where finding a mutually agreeable solution is something I desire to do for my Entrepreneur (whether that investment is emotionally or financially) and you know what...negotiating isn't so intimidating anymore.