Did President Obama Negotiate Badly

When President Obama took office, he had a very long list of items he wanted to accomplish. Those on the far right said he was being too aggressive with his agenda. Those on the far left said he was not being aggressive enough. The president’s number one mistake was, he allowed those that supported his campaign to think they’d get everything he promised during the campaign. He did not manage their expectations.

When you negotiate, do you manage expectations and set priorities for the outcome you seek from the negotiation? If so, do you also focus on what matters to the other negotiator. By focusing on the other negotiator’s needs, you subliminally send a message that you’re seriously trying to ‘solve’ her problem, which should in turn solicit her support for your position. At the junctions of those intersections will lay the point from which you can begin to negotiate. The following are additional thoughts you can incorporate when managing expectations and setting priorities during your negotiations.

  1. Vilification: Assess the need to vilify the position of the other negotiator when you negotiate. If you seek cooperation, vilification will only serve as an additional obstacle to overcome.
  2. Agenda: Be cautious of taking on too much when negotiating. The more options you incorporate into a negotiation agenda, the greater the potential for failure.
  3. Balance: Be careful not to appear too weak, or too aggressive.  In any negotiation, one has to strike a fine balance between being perceived as too strong and appearing to be too weak. One can bridge that balance without being pervasive. Observe the interpretations of your actions by the other negotiator, for insight into whether you’re being perceived as too weak or too aggressive.
  4. Reality: Perception is reality. The way you depict a situation, is reality to you. To the degree you ‘shape’ the perception of the other negotiator, you shape his reality. Seek to shape the opinion of an outcome, in order to have the opinion valued from your perspective. If you don’t, the other negotiator will apply his perception to the position and if it drastically differs from yours, you’ll initially have to negotiate from his perspective.
  5. Likability: Are you likable? When negotiating, likability can be a benefit. It can also be an albatross. President Obama is very likable. His poll numbers bear out this fact. Some of the members of the president’s party have stated that he needs to become ‘tougher’. By appearing tough, you, at a minimum, allow the other negotiator to ‘see’ by your actions that you’re willing to ‘draw a line in the sand’, from which you will not retreat. Make sure you assess ‘balance’ in your ‘tough’ appearance.

By being attentive to the variables, narrative, and makeup of your negotiation and addressing them succinctly, you improve your negotiation position and the probability of reaching the outcome you seek. In so doing, your negotiation efforts should sail without being assailed … and everything will be right with the world.

The Negotiation Tips Are …

  • Manage expectations. If time is a consideration that’s needed to influence the outcome of a position, inform the other negotiator of the consideration. By doing so, you’ll subliminally address the fact that the situation will not be corrected ‘overnight’ and you’ll ‘buy’ more time and understanding, as a position from which to negotiate.
  • Never be afraid to adapt to a position when you negotiate. You can be adaptive without losing the personality you possess. President Obama is having a difficult time adapting, because he doesn’t want to have his ‘likable’ personality altered. Don’t be trapped by being immobile.
  • When negotiating, be aware of a general consent from those who are discontent. In essence, pay attention to the mode of the negotiation. The mode will give you a sense for the direction in which the negotiation is moving.

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