When leaders use options strategically in negotiations, they increase the probability of reaching their goals.” -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert
People don’t realize they’re always negotiating.
Options enhance leaders’ negotiation skills, whether in the C-Suite, with subordinates, or in the boardroom. Leaders must know how to use options strategically to become more effective, secure the best deals, and align interests among all stakeholders.
To negotiate effectively, some people think you must be a born negotiator. That is not true! Everyone can improve their negotiation skills.
And leaders must do so if they want to lead better. The following gives insights into how leaders can achieve objectives faster by strategically generating and using the optimum number of options during negotiations.
The Importance And Value Of Options
As a leader, why do you think offering someone options is so important? I pose that question to allow you to consider your beliefs about options. I also want you to reflect on how you have presented options to those with whom you most recently interacted. That will become the foundation upon which you will improve this aspect of your leadership negotiation skills.
1. Options enhance a leader’s position by possibly preventing them from making unnecessary concessions. When leaders do not offer options, if recipients reject a proposal, the leader would become more insistent, rigid, and unable to insert flexibility into the request. Offering multiple options can avert that dilemma, allowing the recipient a more significant opportunity to buy into an offer.
2. While offering multiple options can induce a more cooperative approach and uncover hidden preferences of recipients, leaders need to be cautious when doing so. Leaders should not provide too many initial options; that can overwhelm a recipient and lead to paralysis by analysis.
By observing how recipients engage in the option selection process, leaders gain insight into the preferences of those evaluating options. Such insight allows the leader to gain a greater perspective into someone’s interests while offering a road map to maximize opportunities for all parties involved.
How Leaders Can Identify Effective Options
During negotiations, leaders must first know the goal of their objectives and why they want a particular outcome. They should also assess the value proposition they will extend to those they wish to adopt their proposal. To that end, leaders can:
1. Ask the recipient(s) for their options to address the leader’s request.
2. What outcome would they like to achieve from addressing different options?
3. What would they consider to be bad options?
4. Seek input from other stakeholders regarding what options to include. They may see things from a different perspective, which allows the leader a broader viewpoint from which to make offers.
5. Based on the leader’s objective, they may offer a few versus many options. For example, suppose the leader wants someone to select the leader’s best-case-scenario option – depending on the person, they might offer so many options that the person relinquishes control to the leader.
Contrast that against the person whom the leader wants to select an option. In that scenario, the leader would offer one, possibly two, and no more than three options. More than that, the leader risks overwhelming that person, which would counter the leader’s goal.
When engaging with others, leaders should first identify avenues to create options. That process will determine their success per their engagements and the sense of direction leaders set.
Getting Buy-In To Options
Getting buy-in is the payoff that allows options to become beneficial. Consider the following to achieve that goal.
1. Emphasize shared interests. Focus on the larger goals both parties have in common rather than areas of contention. Then, ask for options that might satisfy the other individual’s needs. When someone gives you their insights, once you adopt them, it becomes difficult for that person not to accept the option they offered.
2. Observe how competent leaders are creative when creating options while building trust amongst those they lead. This observation will enhance a leader’s negotiation skills because they will reap the benefits of seeing what has worked in the past and what they might tweak to improve. Such insights will be invaluable.
3. Shrewd option generation is just the beginning of effective negotiation. Leaders must present options persuasively, read body language reactions accurately, and close on satisfactory terms suitable to all parties. Options are the main ingredient that makes a leader a more skilled negotiator with more influence. They enable leaders to shape win-win solutions rather than focusing on one option.
A leader’s ability to present choices, collaborate, and adapt to changing circumstances demonstrates their competency as a leader – extending the perceived value of one that values the input and well-being of their team. Accordingly, increasing a leader’s effectiveness in using options as a negotiation skill enhancer will make winning the support and loyalty of those they lead easier.
As a leader, you will enhance your skills by incorporating options into your negotiation strategies. You will also bolster the perception of being a better leader while attracting more loyal followers.
Accordingly, to be a good leader, leaders must have followers and know how to use options to negotiate to the perceived benefit of those individuals. By doing so, leaders can get others to go deeper with more commitment to a goal.
Leaders can quickly reach a higher potential through motivating others and offering options succinctly and strategically. That becomes the key to unlocking that path to success. And everything will be right with the world.
Remember, you’re always negotiating!
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After reading this article, what are you thinking? I’d like to know. Reach me at Greg@TheMasterNegotiator.com
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