It’s one of the best pieces of advice ever. Stand in his shoes.
Those in favour :
- Sure, if I do that, I get to see things from his perspective. Doesn’t that mean I can better prepare my gameplan?
- If I empathise, I can understand where he’s coming from. I can perhaps give him what he needs. If I do that, perhaps it makes it easier for to me to be given what I need.
- It has to be win-win for this to work. No one wants to lose. If I see his view, I am better able to make that happen.
Those against :
- I need to fight tooth and nail for what I want. It’s not going to be handed to me so I best be focused on what I need to do to get there.
- What for? No, really, what for?
You simply cannot assume that everything can be boiled down to a black/white situation. There’s varying shades of grey most times. And yet, this is not to be confused with those issues with a clear moral or legal standpoint. This is about realising and understanding the implications that you do not have all the answers to the challenge you face. There are times that the other party may have solutions you simply cannot see. When you see things from the other person’s perspective, it gives you a chance to re-articulate why the things that matter to you, do so. It enables you to crystalise the reasons for what you chase.
The easiest and most dangerous thing to assume going into any negotiation is that this is almost a standoff. That ultimately, one party needs to win and the other to lose. If you spend the time to evaluate the deal and the people behind the deal, what their story is and where they want to go, you may indeed be surprised to see that sometimes, there are overlaps and synergies between the objectives you both seek.
It’s a balancing act, for sure. Too much and you tip over. That is why you should balance this perspective with your goals. Let the further insight be an aid, not a hindrance to the process.
Ultimately, you stand to lose nothing by considering the other’s perspective.
Next : Tip #9 Be Willing to Do the Dance