#ExceptionalCareers Series: What You Shouldn’t Be Afraid to Do in Negotiations

March 18, 2015

We found this interesting article in The Huffington Post. It was written by Sanyin Siang, Executive Director, Coach K Leadership & Ethics Center (COLE) at Duke University Fuqua School of Business and co-authored with Isabel Dover.


The conclusions and statements in the article were drawn from the seminar on “Women and Negotiations”, a women’s mentorship and leadership program at Duke University. This time we do not want to focus on the underlying academic approach but on the conclusions drawn by the participants. We do have the feeling that those statements may help our community members to recognize patterns and improve perceptions.


The article starts with „negotiations can be hard if we approach them based on what we’ve seen in movies. They are often portrayed as hostile win-lose confrontations or as situations in which both sides are unhappy because of comprises that need to be made.“


Duke sophomore Roma Sonik is the first in the post to share some experiences she had when she was offered a great summer internship with a strict 2 day deadline for response. However, she had to explain to the potential employer that she could not reach a decision in 48 hours, and explained concerns around security:


"When I shared the reasoning behind my ask, my employer contacted institutions in region to make sure that my living conditions would be extremely secure. She (my future boss) later complimented me for making my concerns and values clear. That I was able to communicate with her about what I found important turned out to be a positive point rather than a burden–she was glad that I trusted the relationship enough to make it productive."


Another comment shared is from Roopa Foley, Managing Director at Barclays, who had her first child and was examining how to best integrate family and work.


"At that time I realized I could actually control the outcome of this. If I could let other people know what I needed, then I could actually work, enjoy my life and in the process, be even better at my job. So I came back to work and told my manager that while I could come into the office as early as necessary, I wanted to leave at 5:00 pm on most days so I could spend the valuable evening hours with my young family

I told her that I would log back in at night and over the weekend , in order to complete any incomplete tasks as a compromise. I suggested that we give it a three month trial to see whether the arrangement worked or not. She just said yes. I was shocked. I was terrified to ask, because I thought that they were never going to say yes, but they did."


The article finally closes with the conclusion that „negotiations begin with self-awareness – knowing yourself, what drives you, what makes you perform at your best.“


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