Podcast Ep. 13: Foundational Elements of Ethical Negotiating with Mike Cooper

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Episode Description:

Dan Neumann is excited to bring you another fantastic colleague of his on today’s show — Mike Cooper! Mike has an extensive background in negotiation and experience with restructuring bank deals, brokerages, negotiating property sales, and managing a bunch of sales folks. After a long and successful career leading software organizations, Mike now focuses entirely on technology consulting and is a Senior Cloud Technical Architect at AgileThought.

In this episode, Mike takes Dan through the foundational elements to ethical negotiating and gives his tips and techniques on how to generate positive, win/win outcomes. He explains what ethical negotiating is and how it is different from the regular, political negotiating, as well as general problems that may arise during ethical negotiation.


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Key Takeaways

  • What is ethical negotiating?
    • Based upon the concept that if an organization is going to do a deal, it’s going to be a win/win deal or there’s going to be no deal at all
    • Structured around mutual problem solving and long-term relationship building
    • Meant to solve problems when there’s a conflict and often is fun and involves a lot of creativity
  • Foundational elements to successful ethical negotiating:
    • Start by focusing on the people; not the problem
    • You want to work together; on the same side of the table with your “adversary”
    • Slow down and spend time talking and understanding the people
    • Remove the time pressure and think of things in the long-term
    • Generate a lot of options (usually the first option is not the best)
    • True collaboration leads to a win/win solution for the shared problem
    • Reschedule and take personal time if you feel you are freezing under pressure
    • Walk away from a deal where you’re not set up for a win/win
    • Plan before your negotiation session, do your homework, and bring some options to the table initially
  • Problems that can arise in negotiating:
    • If you feel rushed you may skip generating a lot of options
    • Freezing under pressure from conflict or time strains
    • You can’t feel like a winner unless you’ve put your issues on the table, too
    • You will get pushed around if you keep caving in negotiating (which also leads to a poor long-term relationship, too)



Mentioned in this Episode:


Mike Cooper’s Book Picks:


Like what you heard? Check out our podcast page for more episodes full of interesting discussions, agile insights, and helpful resources.



Intro: [00:03] Welcome to Agile Coaches’ Corner by AgileThought, the podcast for practitioners and leaders seeking advice to refine the way they work and pave the path to better outcomes. Now here’s your host, coach and agile expert, Dan Neumann.

Dan Neumann: [00:16]  Welcome to this episode of Agile Coaches’ Corner. I am your host Dan Neumann. Our goal here is to bring you agile topics in an approachable way. If you have a topic you’d like to hear discussed, you can email it to us at podcast@AgileThought.com or you can tweet it to us with a #AgileThoughtPodcast. I’m excited today to have a colleague of mine, Mike Cooper, who has an extensive background in negotiation. That’s not his particular focus for a lot of what he does at AgileThought right now, but he has an experience with restructuring a whole bunch of bank deals and brokerages, negotiating property sales under the guidance of a Wall Street trader and banker and managing a bunch of sales folks. And so it’s also interesting that we’re coming out of this shortly after the government shut down. And this is not a political podcast, but it’s interesting that at least supposedly it was a breakdown in negotiation that that got us there. So Michael, welcome and I’m curious what your thoughts are.

Mike Cooper: [01:19] Glad to be here. Well, I, I, I wonder whether or not that a political situation is actually more political posturing than it is my definition of what negotiating is.

Dan Neumann: [01:32]  How do you, how do you view of that? Yeah.

Mike Cooper: [01:35] I don’t know, I don’t necessarily think that they, most of the people in politics are following the principles of ethical negotiations. They’re more interested in making political points. And so, um, it, it, there are two different games going on right there.

Dan Neumann: [01:52]  Yeah. So how do you, when you use the term ethical negotiation, what, what’s the nuance behind that that differs from, let’s say, a political type of negotiating to win?

Mike Cooper: [02:03] Okay. Well, ethical negotiating is one form of negotiating and it’s the one that I recommend and actually teach within our organization. It’s, it’s a, it’s based upon the concept that if we’re going to do a deal, it’s going to be a win, win deal. And, or there’s going to be no deal at all. It’s oriented around long-term relationship building and it’s, and it’s, uh, and it’s structured around the concept of mutual problem solving. And that’s the way I really see negotiating. Negotiating is, is a, is a process and a series of methods and techniques to solve problems when there’s a conflict. So, uh, it’s, it’s a, if you take this sort of approach then, um, it’s actually fun and you can be very creative and um, at the net is you really want to achieve a long term, a strong trusting relationship with the other party. And that’s when it’s most important. If you’re doing a quick car deal or something like that where you really don’t care about the guy. Next time you don’t need to use the ethical negotiating strategies. You can use different techniques. But when you’re in relationships, like we are in consulting, uh, a long term client relationship is critical. And so, uh, there’s, there’s certain foundations that you would need to follow.

Dan Neumann: [03:22]  Yeah, I know what you described in the car dealership would be things like, you know, how do we get leverage? How do we win in that? And so what are some of those foundational elements to ethical negotiation that you’d mentioned? A couple of them. Hey, we’re in a relationship for the long term. We’re trying to establish a win/win foundation. So those seem like mental foundations for the rest of the negotiation.

Mike Cooper: [03:48] Yeah, I’m a part of the methodology that I, I, uh, like to follow is centered around a book written I think about 30 years ago, more called Getting to Yes by Ury and Fisher. It’s developed out of the negotiating labs at MIT and, and uh, they, they, they’ve developed a series of approaches that, that help one, develop that long term relationship. And you can imagine the thing you really want to start with is, um, focusing on the people, not the problem. So, uh, I don’t know how many people I’ve seen in negotiations. They, they, they, they want to sort of get right to the point. They want to go right to the, uh, the issues at hand. Uh, and they don’t want to spend a lot of time actually understanding who they’re dealing with, what’s driving this person and what their, what their background is. And so a slow approach and understanding that at the end of the day, we’re all people, um, helps us develop a relationship where, because essentially, what you want to do at some point is you want to sit on the same side of the table is the, as your quote adversary, you want to, you want to actually be on their side helping them look at the problem and say, Hey, together we will solve this problem. That’s one of the issues.

Dan Neumann: [05:01]  And that what you described as a mental model of being on the same side of the table. I’ve actually seen work really well when I work with agile teams and we have a problem to solve is we physically let’s get up and go to the whiteboard, put the problem up there. So now we have two people trying to solve a problem and we’re looking at the whiteboard, we’re not squared off against each other and, and, and physically opposed to each other.

Mike Cooper: [05:26] Yeah. And in fact, a technique that, uh, that you, you use, you’ve used in sessions I’m sure as you have typically an icebreaker and that icebreaker is really oriented around getting, you to learn a little bit about the other people. Tell them funny story about yourself telling a bit about your background in negotiating, you know, obviously you’re going to walk into a room sometime when you got people sitting on one side, people sitting on the other side, you don’t know who they are, you don’t know what their agendas are. A technique if again, you need that long-term relationship is to slow down and spend time talking and understanding the people. And, and certainly when you get into the heat of a, of the terms or issues that you want to, to um, you know, that might be driving you emotionally, uh, you, you need to be aware that in fact you’re dealing with other people and that you really want to separate the people from the problem. That’s, that’s a critical thing in, in good ethical negotiating is, is making sure that you, you separate out what’s driving them from the issues at hand.

Dan Neumann: [06:29]  And as you say that, now’s a good time to remind folks that we’ll put the show notes up on AgileThought.com/podcast and so as Michael, you and I are talking through some of these scenarios, we’ll, we’ll turn those into more of a bulleted list that people can have available. So yeah, so slowing down, spending some time, getting to know people that you’re going to be problem solving together with is super important. Yeah. So sometimes I feel like we get stuck with the time pressure, we have to do this now or we have 30 minutes, let’s sit down. And so removing that time pressure seems like a key to what you’re describing.

Mike Cooper: [07:08] Yeah. And realizing that if you’re in it for the long run, the problem that we’re dealing with today is going to be one of a long series of issues that we’re going to deal with. This conflict we’re here in today won’t be the last conflict we have. So thinking of things in the long-term, uh, and putting the people, uh, Eh, eh, ahead of the, the problem, uh, really sets you up for a long term trusting relationship. But what it also then gets to is the second point is, is that if you are rushed, you tend to skip the concept of generating a lot of options. And what I encourage people to do all the time is, okay, what’s the next option? No, no, we don’t have any time. We just got to got to do this. We gotta do this. The Push, push, push, say that, you know, here’s the answer. Usually the first notion out of the gate is not necessarily the best one. In fact, it rarely is the best one. It’s the one that has had the least creativity thrown in into it. The least discussion, the least debate. And so a critical, a critical step to take in good ethical negotiating is to generate a lot of options. Um, and for people in the technical and the agile world and problem solving world, this actually is where you get to be creative because it’s that time in, in the relationship. We can remember what we’ve done is we’ve, you know, we’ve got a conflict. I focused more on the person and getting to understand them. Really getting behind what, what’s that? What’s driving them and now they’ve agreed to let me sit in the same table and I said, hey, look what we have is my way or the doorway or you’re aware of the doorway. What other options can we come up with? And as you said, we can get up in the whiteboard, we can start generating more ideas and the more we can come up with more ideas, we have just, and of course what I’ve done as well as I spent time understanding what’s driving them. You say you need these 10 new features added and delivered within one week. What’s behind that? What’s behind that? Have you got a competitive pressure that you’re dealing with, have you got, have you got a boss? It’s suddenly coming down on you for whatever reason. Once we understand the true problem, then we can actually generate more options and we have more degrees of freedom as the Berlin’s office call it. And therefore we have more ways that we can solve the problem than we imagined, you know, an hour beforehand. So, so it’s really, um, as I say, people tend to freeze under conflict and creativity goes down. And so if, if we focus on the people and we say, Hey, we’re here, we’re here to get creative, you know, you can actually open, open the, uh, gateways of creativity and generate a lot of different options and options that are typically much, much better than the original positions that people might have taken.

Dan Neumann: [09:56]  What you were describing their Mick with generating a lot of options reminded me of the book crucial conversations where what characterizes those is high stakes opinions differ and emotions are really involved. And so that author describes as a fool’s choice when you have just the two options and it’s either option a or option B. And so putting a framework in place to generate a lot of options or at least a third option or a fourth option really adds value.

Mike Cooper: [10:24] Yeah. Yeah. And it’s hard for one party or the other not to feel that they’re on the lose end of a win lose agreement. If in fact I came in and said, you know, and at the end of the day we walk, we chose one of the options my way or your way. Um, many, many people in technology business see their, their role as to serve. And, and so what they do is they avoid the conflict. And, and when, and when faced with an aggressive client who’s, who’s demanding, they see the way to avoid the conflict is simply to cave in and agree, well that’s, I have a hard time stretching to label that as negotiating, but in fact it is, it’s just a bad negotiation. Uh, one of the lines from the Ury and Fisher book is whether or not you think you’re negotiating, you are. And, and so, uh, the, the, the, it’s, it’s important for that to not, you know, run for that corner of, of, Oh, the client really wants that. Oh, I’m here to serve them. Yes, you can’t feel like a winner. And you’re, and, and if it’s, and if you haven’t put your issues on the table, if you haven’t said, this is what’s important to me and the, the client will never know. And so what are you training the client to do? What do you, what are you telling the client? You’re saying to the client in that case, in this scenario, uh, yeah, go ahead and step on me. Go ahead and push me around. So if they’re saying, hey, I want 40 points of stories in the next sprint, and when you think your capacity is 30 and you agree to it, you cave, they’re thinking, what are you thinking? Next time they’re thinking 45. This does not build a long term good relationship because now you’re, you’re, you’re, you’re pushing your people really hard. You’re producing product that maybe isn’t the quality because you’re trying to, your skin, you have to skip something and you’re going to skip, you’re just going to take out the quality steps so failing to negotiate is, is a very, very bad choice failing to generate a single options, a very, very bad choice. And the net of it all is that doesn’t lead to a long good, longterm relationship.

Dan Neumann: [12:29]  I like what you described, you know, people oftentimes want to serve and you’re not serving your customer, your, your partner. If you don’t share the ideas that you have, if you don’t bring your expertise and your skill and your, your passion and thoughts to the problem that purportedly you’re supposed to be trying to solve together. So that’s not service. That’s a very dysfunctional relationship.

Mike Cooper: [12:52] Exactly. Very, very dysfunctional. And, and at the end of the day, uh, those, those engagements that you have, if you’re in a consulting business like we are, those engagements will finally decline. They, there’s no way that you can maintain a good relationship if you’ve agreed from the get go not to make it win, win. If you said, I’m going to lose. So the client will win. Well, at the end of the day, the client doesn’t get the best from your people. You haven’t put additional options on the table. You haven’t, you haven’t said, hey, here are things that mattered to me. And, and, and uh, so you’re going to cut corners. You’re going to do something that doesn’t work overall and you’re not going to produce what that client wants and it’s not going to lead to a good longterm, solid relationship at the end of the day. And then, uh, you require a certain degree of courage so that when the client comes in, and, and is maybe initially aggressive with you, which is not ethical negotiating by the way, that you have the courage to push back and say, hey, look, I understand where you’re coming from. Let’s, let’s spend a little more time understanding what’s motivating and what’s behind what you’re doing. But at the same time, here are the issues that I have to put on the table that are important to me. And if they don’t know that and you didn’t put that on the table, then you’re not being fair to the client and to your own team as well. So being able to have that courage and the skills, well at the end of the day lead to your goal, which is win, win relationships that are strong in the longterm.

Dan Neumann: [14:13]  It’s true collaboration. You’d alluded to freezing under pressure and I know personally I’ve experienced that where for some reason you know the adrenaline’s kind of going, maybe it has a car negotiation, maybe it’s some kind of a heated heated timely conversation where you actually do want a relationship but you leave and then you think, oh, I wish I would’ve shared this. I wish I would have thought of that. And so are there some ways to help alleviate that time pressure or lower the conflicts so that freezing is less likely?

Mike Cooper: [14:45] Well it, you, you raised a good point is that if I’m following a less ethical negotiating strategy, I do want the other side to freeze. And I do because I basically do want to push the other side around. And I do want to, I do want to, uh, eliminate their ability to react to the actions that I’m taking. Um, so I think you just answered your own question though, is that if you feel that you are getting into a time, uh, you know, you’re, you’re, you’re freezing. Take, take a moment, take time, reschedule it, breathe in, breathe out. There’s nothing that if you feel you aren’t being creative, you aren’t, you aren’t producing the options. Then ask for permission and negotiate a break and a and say, look, I think it’s in our best interests. If we take a break here for an hour, I’ve got to get some air, talk to some people, collect my thoughts and let’s come back and begin to solve the problem again. At the end of the day though, you may face the scenario where the, the, uh, the other party is really not willing to engage in the proposed relationship, not willing to be engaged in what I’m terming as an ethical, negotiated approach. It doesn’t really care whether or not we have a win win arrangement. Uh, their, their perspective might be, I’m just here to drive your price as low as possible into the ground and I’m just here to squeeze you in any way I can. Uh, and that’s in those and we are going to hit those, those types of situations. And so what we need to develop in that case is as Ury and Fisher called it our BATNA, or our best alternative to not agreeing, in other words, what, where are we going to, what could we put on the table? Should we not be able to get an agreement? What alternative is going to be good for us and probably good for the other side, but it’s suboptimal for us. But it’s something that we’d be willing to live with. Uh, clearly one of the, the alternative style of is simply to walk away simply to say, I don’t think there’s, there’s a winning in the relationship here for both of us and we’d be better to part ways. That’s the worst case scenario because that’s not meeting your goal of developing a long term relationship that day. But on the other hand, uh, under under reflection, if this person is, as they think about it, maybe they’ll, they’ll come back and say, maybe I was unfair to you or I didn’t listen to what your requirements were and I know the quality of your people and your work and I’m willing to come back to the table and talk again. So there’s nothing wrong with walking away. If you’ve exhausted and you’ve, you’ve demonstrated who you are, you’ve demonstrated your approach, you’ve just demonstrate your commitment to listening to them, the generating options, you know, it’s a separating the people from the problem and to end to be a good long term partner. You demonstrate that and you have alternatives that you can live with if you can’t get that. But I don’t think there’s anything with walking away. If you, if in fact you can’t get, you’ve exhausted everything.

Dan Neumann: [17:59]  Yeah. What you were referring to there reminds me of a scenario I ran into when I was looking prior to AgileThought to hang my own shingle out as an agile consultant. So I was, I was at a company and I was exploring going independent and I had somebody who was, um, I don’t want to say he was unethical, but the approach he was taking could appear to be unethical and it was a bargain basement price for agile coaching, which was just crazy. It was so far out of line with what the market was. It was crazy. And I was like, well I don’t think this is going to work for us, so thank you and we’ll part ways and gosh, not a month later he called about 11 o’clock on a Friday night and said, oh Geez, I had this person placed in the role and, and they backed out because they got, you know, another better offer. And I was like, well yeah, I mean that’s why we didn’t do this deal in the first place. And so it kind of reset the negotiation cause he was like, are you still interested in? The answer was yes, but not under the guidelines you were talking about. So walking away, doesn’t necessarily mean we’re never going to talk. It just means it’s a bogus deal for now. We’re not set up to win win. And who knows maybe that that pendulum will swing back in the future and there will be a better chance to set up a relationship.

Mike Cooper: [19:18] Yeah, you’ve shown your colors, right? You shoot you in that case, you showed your colors, you said, here’s who I am and it’s an honorable person who’s willing to help you. And uh, and I, I can’t think of a better shingle to make sure that people see even if they don’t do a deal with you that day because eventually if they need that sort of relationship, they know where to go. Now I want to just make a point that, as you were saying, it’s ethical or what’s the opposite of that? It’s not unethical. Negotiating the historical, uh, negotiating strategies and tactics, and I’ve taken courses on them, or typical typically called positional negotiating. Now in other words I’m taking, I’m going to take my position. You’re going to take yours, we’re going to dig long trenches and we’re going to have trench warfare against each other. And, and I’m going to try and I’m going to have all these techniques to make you feel, uh, remember the books from back in the sixties and seventies, ignorant, anxious or guilty. I’m going to try and emotionally manipulate you so that you feel small so that you cave into my needs. Uh, that is, uh, and there again, there are two types of positional negotiating. There’s the hardball negotiating, which is I was just describing. And there’s the cave. And of course, if you can get the perfect marriage, hey, somebody who’s a very aggressive pusher and somebody who just caves all the time. Positional negotiators, they do deals. Uh, it isn’t necessarily a good deal for either party in the long run. It certainly doesn’t bring you any creativity on the table. Didn’t put a lot of options. They’re not collaborating on problem solving. You just have somebody coming in and dropping it in an order and the other side saying, yes sir, whatever you want sir. And, and so it’s, it’s suboptimal. Um, and, and in a case, in a, in a, in the world we are in and consulting, we are professional problem solvers and, and so why don’t we apply our professional problem solving to areas where we have conflicts and, and uh, and that’s, that’s really what I’ve been trying to, um, promote throughout our organization with, with this approach.

Dan Neumann: [21:09]  What you referred to also brought to mind kind of levels of conflict. And one of the base levels of conflict is we just have a problem to solve together. It’s not, it’s not physical, you know, safety is in danger or, you know, we don’t want to work with each other, but that, that, that we have a problem to solve type of conflict and keeping that really creative and making sure both sides get their needs met is important.

Mike Cooper: [21:38] Yeah. I think, I think at the end of the day, if you’re thinking about what I was saying it, but training the client or training not, not the client but the other party in their, in the negotiation and the relationship. Whenever you have conflict, if, if on an ongoing basis in that relationship you have demonstrated a strong ethical non-positional, approach to solving the problem, you’ve put a lot of options on the table, you care deeply about them and, and you separate them from the problem. Uh, and, and you were constantly coming up with, with, uh, if you’re putting your issues on the table and you’re constantly coming up with good solutions over time, just think what that does when this is what you’re doing every week. And it’s month after month after month after month, you have, you have a very collaborative relationship and a very strong relationship. And I would say that the, the, um, uh, the comment that I’ve gotten from, from clients is, uh, in the, in the middle of a testy discussion where I’m saying now, that option you have on the table is not one that’s good for any of us. I don’t like it. Here’s the reason why. They’ll just look at them. They say, you know, I always, I say, if that’s the way you feel, I’ll have to trust you because I do trust you because I know you’re always looking out for our interests. So when you, once you have that point across, then you become truly a good trusted advisor. You have a strong relationship that that where they are, you know, where they’ve now realized that you are not trying to pull one on them. You’re not trying to do anything that’s incorrect or unethical that in fact you are always looking out for their best interest and you’re applying your skills to, and in a technique to generate a lot of really good solutions for them. I think it’s very, very enjoyable way of working with people.

Dan Neumann: [23:22]  It is. And I want to go back to a lot of times as an agile coach, we find ourselves in a role of actually training the clients. So we are training the client. Often it might be like the product owner with the development team or the product owner with their stakeholders. And we actually find ourselves in a facilitative role of trying to build the skills of the people that are participating in these negotiations. Sometimes they come to the table with the, the win lose or my way or the highway and we’re trying to help really build an understanding of there’s so many other ways to generate more outcomes.

Mike Cooper: [23:57] Yeah. Maybe we should be collaborating and building a, expanding your, your, uh, your educational curriculum there so that we can talk about typical, uh, conflicts that would occur between various players in an agile and agile project. You know, there’s always a certain type of conflict between the product owners and the technical team. There’s always a certain, uh, you know, we know what they are having been in, been in this business for so long and uh, and we can help people, help both sides actually approach that not as a point of pain but a point of creativity and a point of joy actually where you actually say, hey, it’s opening my eyes and I’m beginning to realize things I never had thought about before. Um, because I’m, I’m not looking at this as a my way or as you say, my way or the highway.

Dan Neumann: [24:47]  Absolutely. So, yes, and I totally agree. Continuing to build those skills is super valuable. How do you know if you’re being successful? Do you have a metric in mind for knowing the degree to which the relationship is positive?

Mike Cooper: [25:05] If you never plan a negotiation, you’ll have no goals, right. So many people who negotiate they show up for the negotiation and I’m, I remember sitting, I’ve been in meetings and many times where I’ll turn to one of our people who maybe who’s doing the negotiation that day, our chief negotiator. And I’ll say, what are our objectives today? And they said, well, I don’t know. And, uh, I can guarantee you a, and so I think you mentioned some of my background where I was negotiating. I had taken an entire organization’s entire book of contracts. We renegotiated every single one of them on a new, a new, uh, uh, approach. This is, uh, this is because technology had moved and we were charging based upon machines and we had needed to charge based upon client value. And what we had done in that scenario is I had a white board there and everybody knew my, uh, uh, approach. Each sales guy would come in to talk about an account that afternoon and we would write down a plan. We picked probably six different factors that were important to that client and us. And we started talking about, uh, the, the opening offers that we would make. We talk about what our BATNA was, we know what we would walk away from and, and strategies for, um, for moving from one place to another within the negotiation. So I can tell you that. How do I measure, how did I measure that? Well, did I negotiate all the contracts? Yes. Did we get, did we increase our revenues at the same time? Yes. Were the client’s happy. Yes. That’s the way I measured. If it was a win win for everybody and you were able to get the, um, the agreement’s going to completed, um, that, that to me was very positive. But had I not planned them, then I wouldn’t have had a scorecard. And, and, uh, so it’s after, after we do our initial, a little course internally, uh, negotiating here that we, that it’s the one thing I leave everybody with is now go ahead and plan your next negotiating session for, you know, go in with some options, uh, that you, so you don’t have to force yourself in 20 minutes or 30 minutes to come up with various options, spend some time up front figuring out what the options are, maybe do some homework initially finding out more about the people ot spend some time with them to understand more about them. So I think, I think, uh, the, to me the bottom line is, is the relationship strong? Is it win, win in the long run? Is it profitable for both parties?

Dan Neumann: [27:35]  Outstanding. Those are some good tips. Is there anything else you want to make sure people kind of take away about this concept of ethical negotiation?

Mike Cooper: [27:45] Well, when you go to people in the technology side, they often associate negotiating with selling and therefore they, that’s why many of them fall into the pattern of just being servants and just saying, well, we’re just here to serve the client. Whatever they want is okay. But negotiating is actually a creative problem solving approach. And, and there’s an, there’s an ethical way to do it. The one where are you focusing on the win win for both parties? So I would, I would strongly encourage everybody who’s in the consulting business. Everybody’s in the technology business. Even if you’re in internal technology, you’ll actually solve more problems for your firm. If you take, uh, a interested in an aggressive approach to being a creative problem solver, aka ethical negotiating.

Dan Neumann: [28:36]  That’s outstanding. Yes. Thank you for differentiating the negotiation and problem solving from selling because I think a lot of times if you can help somebody solve the problem, the selling becomes the easy part because you’ve demonstrated concern and care and there’s value and then it’s just a matter of some paperwork after that. Mike, one of the things we have at the end of the podcast is just an opportunity to explore what are you reading these days, whether it’s a blog or a book or, and maybe some of the, the value you’re receiving from that.

Mike Cooper: [29:10] I’m currently reading a couple of books on my kindle. Uh, one of them is The Laws of Human Nature by Robert Greene. Um, very interesting, uh, that he, that he places are, begins to help us understand that our cognitive ability, which we’re using in this type of negotiation are layered on top of millions of years of evolution on top of very emotional animals. And so part of the approach, and it helped me start to understand that part of the approach of actually understanding the people and getting to know them and remaining very positive and solution oriented is that a, is to make sure that you don’t accidentally trigger the animal within on the other side and turn them into a raging beast again, as opposed to a modern cognitive person. So it’s, it’s, uh, it’s actually very supportive in the thinking that I’ve learned through the negotiating background.

Dan Neumann: [30:07]  Well, and you touched on something interesting and we’re not cognitive creatures. I mean, we are, we are emotional creatures. Uh, you know, millions of years have helped humans get to the point where, you know, those emotions can serve us well, right? The fight or flight, if it’s a tiger chasing you in the bushes, right. Run. Um, but though that emotion gets in the way of what could be rational, clear thinking, and of course there’s all the cognitive biases of when we think we’re rational, but we’re actually not totally separate subject. Um, but, but yeah, yeah.

Mike Cooper: [30:41] You don’t want the other party in a negotiation just to the closed down and you know, as, as, as are saying that the position of negotiating when you’re at war, you’re not really, you know, into the, you know, sort of a cerebral problem solving approach. Your idea is to kill the other side and it’s, and then you get into a position of negotiating. That’s your view. You say, I’m here to win. I don’t care what the other side is. So you want to avoid that if you can. And, and, uh, and I guess in a way I’d sorta pose the ethical negotiating as a higher form of negotiating over the centuries long position of negotiating.

Dan Neumann: [31:14]  Well, thank you for adding Laws of Human Nature to my personal reading backlog. Well. Thank you Mike for sharing on the topic of ethical negotiation today, as well as the the book of Laws of Human Nature, and we’ll be sure to put the tips and the many good suggestions he had into the show notes and people can go find those on the AgileThought.com/podcast website. Thank you, Mike.

Mike Cooper: [31:38] Thank you. Pleasure.

Outro: [31:42] This has been the agile coaches corner podcast brought to you by AgileThought, get the show notes and other helpful tips from this episode and other episodes at agilethought.com/podcast.

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