Unformatted Document Excerpt
Course Hero has millions of student submitted documents similar to the one
below including study guides, practice problems, reference materials, practice exams, textbook help and tutor support.
Course Hero has millions of student submitted documents similar to the one
below including study guides, practice problems, reference materials, practice exams, textbook help and tutor support.
Essentials: Management Fostering diversity Management Essentials: Negotiation Working with Individuals: Managing difficult Interactions Business Essentials: Managing for Creativity and Innovation a a a a q n The Managers Role What is Creativity and Innovation Key Misconceptions Fostering Creative Abrasion Enhancing the Psychological Environment Enriching the Physical Environment Divergent Thinking Techniques & Convergent Techniques Business Essentials: Solving Business Problems Read When Good People do Bad Things at Work (article link provided in Webcourses in the Class Resources section) Communication Skills: Persuading Others
What Is Diversity? As a manager, youve probably heard about diversity initiatives in your organization. But what is diversity? And why is it important? Diversity is another word for differences between people. In an organizational setting, a diverse workforce comprises employees of various:
Races Genders Ethnic backgrounds Ages Physical and cognitive abilities Sexual orientation Religious beliefs Learning and work styles Body type Work/life commitments
Why a diverse workforce?
Why build a diverse workforce? Many organizations encourage diversity because providing equal opportunity to everyone is the right thing to do. And in some countries, hiring and retaining a diverse workforce is also a matter of obeying antidiscrimination laws. But companies have discovered that a diverse workforce also gives them important competitive advantages. For example:
Talent recruitment and retention: When an organization builds a reputation for valuing differences, it often is better able to attract and keep talented employees. These individuals know that the company will appreciate and utilize the skills, backgrounds, and knowledge they bring to the table. Profitable innovation: Diverse workforces are rich seedbeds for new business ideas. For example, at one company, a disabilities task force thought of ways to make the firms products accessible to people with physical limitations. As a result, the company won numerous contracts from government agencies that had a mandate to make accessibility of products a criterion in vendor selection. Employee commitment and productivity: When employees use their differences to identify business opportunities and generate new ideas, they more fully express themselves at work. This leads to greater commitment and higher productivity.
The competitive edge that a diverse workforce provides has become more essential than ever owing to these key shifts in the business landscape:
Globalization: Many companies now operate in numerous regions and countries. To attract and motivate different employees from around the globe as well as win and keep customers in a multitude of environments, managers must understand and demonstrate respect for cultural differences. For instance, when a major American company set up a division in Spain, it initially provoked conflict with Spanish labor unions by expecting its Spanish employees to conform to American work schedules. Only after hiring Spanish managers for its new operation did the company regain workers trust. With their greater understanding of Spanish culture, the new managers were more successful in negotiating mutually agreeable schedules with the employees.
Changing labor pool: Populations in many countries have grown more diverse, and labor pools reflect that diversity. For example, in the United States, Hispanics and Asians are the fastest-growing populations. And in France and Great Britain, Arab populations are rising. Organizations hoping to acquire the human resources they need to function must hire and motivate a wider variety of employees than before. Intensifying competition: With change accelerating throughout the business world, companies are finding it increasingly difficult to stay ahead of the pack. By enabling employees to bring all of their unique qualities to workincluding their differences organizations stand a greater chance of maintaining an edge over rivals. To illustrate, in one consumer-products firm, a group of Mexican employees used their understanding of
Hispanic culture and tastes to propose a new snack food that appealed to a previously untapped Hispanic marketand became a $100 million product.
Diversity: Unique challenges
Though diversity offers major advantages, it can also present challenges. In particular, as people with very different beliefs, values, and priorities interact in the workplace, conflicts can arise. Consider this example of how differences in work and nonwork commitments can create tension: Paolo and Tamara are senior accountants who report to Stavros. Paolo recently negotiated an arrangement with Stavros to leave the office early on Fridays so he could spend more time with his children. Tamara, a dedicated churchgoer, asks Stavros if she, too, can leave early once a week to attend a bible study class thats offered only on Friday afternoons. When Stavros says, Sorry, no, Tamara concludes that he views her priorities as less important than Paolos. Her resentment grows, and she begins to see company policies as unfair. Losing trust in Stavros and the company, she becomes reluctant to give her best on the job. Some diversity-related conflicts arise from peoples fear of being seen as prejudiced. For instance, a 25-year-old manager avoids giving needed constructive feedback to her 50-year-old subordinate, fearing accusations of age discrimination. The employee thus never receives the information he needs to improve his performance on the job. In these kinds of situations, its important for managers to determine whether theyre dealing with a performance problem or a diversity-related problem. When these sorts of diversity-related tensions and fears escalate, productivity and morale can sufferand organizations miss out on the advantages that diversity provides. See also Steps for Distinguishing Between Performance- and Diversity-Related Problems.
As youll see in the remaining Core Concepts, managers can surmount such challenges, if they:
Correct their misperceptions about difference Deal effectively with diversity-related conflicts Foster a workplace that embraces differences as much as similarities Tap diversitys value Recruit and retain a diverse workforce Improve their ability to communicate with peers, employees, customers, and vendors from different cultures
With these objectives in mind, the next Core Concept focuses on how to view differences through a new lens. Note: This online program is not intended as legal advice. If you encounter a diversity-related conflict that escalates in your team or department, consult your human resources group and/or legal counsel. They will be able to advise you on the specifics of your situation. Thinking Differently About Differences
Replacing misperceptions with facts
A diverse workforce gives any company important competitive advantages. For example, it enables the organization to attract and retain a variety of talented employees who generate creative ideas for new products and services. However, misperceptions about diversity can prevent companies from gaining these advantages by planting the seeds for conflict in the workplace. Consider the following misperceptions, their consequences, and ideas for thinking differently about differences.
Misperception #1: Members of a particular group are all alike.
Human beings tend to lump others under a label and assume that all members of a particular group or culture share the same characteristics. Such beliefs are stereotypesconventional, formulaic, and oversimplified conceptions, opinions, or images of particular groups. Examples may include:
Asians are smart and hardworking. Californians are laid-back when it comes to business. Women have trouble with math. Irish people love their drink. Americans are pushy negotiators.
When stereotypes are negative, they constitute prejudicedefined as an adverse judgment or opinion formed beforehand or without knowledge or examination of the facts. Assuming that all members of a particular group are the same can have damaging consequences in the workplace. Example: Sal, a manager at Marston Engineering, believes that women are less skilled at math than men. He decides not to promote Jessica, a talented employee, to a position requiring highlevel math skills, because he assumes shell have trouble in the new role. Jessica minored in math at college and has expressed interest in working with numbers. After not getting the promotion, Jessica concludes that she has little opportunity for advancement at Marston, and accepts a job offer from a competing organization. Fact: Members of a particular group do not all necessarily share the same characteristics. To get the most from subordinates, managers must assess each employees unique characteristics and strengths. To think differently about differences: Identify the prejudices you hold about people different from you. Be honest with yourself, and challenge your beliefs. For example, recall individuals you know who do not fit stereotypes about their ethnic group, age, gender, or some other defining characteristic. Consider ways in which you dont fit stereotypes about your group.
Misperception #2: We each have one identity.
Many people engage in either/or thinking about diversity. For example, perhaps you believe that people are either black or white, female or male, young or old, rich or poor, conservative or liberal, and so forth. Either/or thinking causes people to define themselves in opposition to others which can spawn conflict in the workplace.
Example: When Mahmoud, a high-achieving Muslim salesperson, is passed over for a promotion by David, his Jewish boss, he wonders if discrimination was involved. He becomes critical around David, and their working relationship sours. Fact: Every person has multiple identities. For instance, David is not just a Jew. He may also identify himself as a middle-aged man, a father, and an activist for liberal causes. He and Mahmoud may hold some of these identities in common. Perhaps, for instance, Mahmoud is also in his middle years, has children, and holds liberal views. By becoming aware of their shared identities, Mahmoud and David may feel less in opposition to each otherand therefore may forge a more positive, productive working relationship. To think differently about differences: Try this exercise: List your multiple identities, considering your home and personal life, as well as civic, professional, and other priorities. For example, Im a leader at my church, a marketing expert, and an animal rights activist. Now look for identities you share with other individuals at work. Likewise, encourage your subordinates to discover their similar identities and to learn about one anothers differences and similarities.
Misperception #3: Peoples identities dont change.
When managers assume that peoples identities dont change, they may neglect to offer their subordinates valuable developmental opportunities. Example: Tanya has long managed the benefits group in the human resources department of Harrington Associates, a firm based in London. Her subordinates include Barry, an Indian-born benefits specialist who has reported to Tanya for many years. A year ago, while lunching together in the cafeteria and conversing about identities, Barry said to Tanya, I see myself as a Hindu first, an HR professional second, and an Indian third. When the company decides to establish a satellite office in India, Tanya never considers whether Barry might be interested in taking an overseas assignment at the new office. After all, he himself had placed his Indian background in last place in his list of identities during that earlier lunchtime conversation. Tanya doesnt realize that, in the past year, Barrys interest in his Indian heritage and culture has intensified and that he would welcome an opportunity to take on an assignment in India. Moreover, his interest in and familiarity with Indian culture would enable him to make a valuable contribution at the new office. Barry and the company lose out. Fact: Peoples identities evolve as individuals acquire new experiences. To think differently about differences: Ask yourself how your identities might be changing as you acquire new personal and professional experiences. Similarly, be open to the possibility that individual employees may also see themselves in a different light as their life and work circumstances evolve. Avoid making assumptions about what each employees priorities, interests, and goals might be based on what you currently know about their identities. Take time during informal one-on-one conversations and performance reviews to find out how each employees view of him- or herself may be changing. Consider these changes implications for their work performance and career aspirations.
Misperception #4: Members of the majority are most likely to be prejudiced.
Many people assume that prejudice flows in one direction: from members of the numerical majority toward those in the minority or in positions of less power. However, prejudice can come from anyone and be directed toward anyone. Example: Herman, a 60-year-old manager at Poulin Enterprises, sometimes makes jokes about women during casual chats with colleagues at lunch. Martha, a 31-year-old employee in the same department, has overheard a few of these jokes and finds them highly offensive. One day, Martha and Bette, a colleague, hear Herman telling another male manager that hes getting divorced. Boy, Herman says, all women are the same. They take everything weve got when they leave us, dont they? Martha and Bette look at each other and roll their eyes. The stupid old fool, Martha snaps, its about time his wife left him! I cant believe you have to work with him on that task force, Bette says. Well, hes ancient, and a typical male, Martha replies, I dont take anything he says seriously. Fact: Prejudice doesnt only flow from members of the numerical majority toward those in the minority or in less powerful positions. To think differently about differences: If youre a member of a numerical minority, watch for any tendencies within yourself to judge or look down on someone else based on their age, gender, race, or some other defining characteristic. Being aware of and correcting your misperceptions about differences are important first steps to building an inclusive workplace. But its not enough. In addition, you need to handle diversityrelated conflicts effectively. The next Core Concept helps you address these situations. See also Worksheet for Understanding Interpersonal Bias. Handling Diversity-Related Conflict
The price of mishandling conflict
Diverse teams make better decisions than homogeneous ones, are more creative, and handle complex challenges more effectively. Yet when organizations manage diversity-related conflicts poorly, talented performers flee in search of more welcoming environments. The result? The companies theyve left fail to reap the benefits promised by diversity. One way to deal more productively with diversity-related tensions is to understand what it feels like to be differentto be a member of the numerical minority or in a position of relatively little power.
What it feels like to be different
In many companies, members of the numerical majority (for example, white managers in an organization that employs few blacks) hold prejudicial, deep-seated assumptions about members of that group. These assumptions create a demoralizing climate of tension and distrust for minority membersof which majority members remain unaware.
I feel like a token. Some black managers suspect that whites cant see past blacks skin color. For instance, at a management retreat, a newly hired African American VP of strategic planning meets key decision makers. They express no interest in her business expertise. Instead, they ask her to head up the companys new diversity committee. I feel marginalized. Racial minorities and women often feel relegated to the sidelines during important business discussions. For instance, during a strategy meeting, Manuela, a department head, offers a suggestion for implementing a new competitive strategy. The room is quiet until a white male manager echoes Manuelas idea. The CEO then expresses interest in the idea. Concluding that others arent willing to hear her thoughts, Manuela declines to contribute during future meetings. I feel I have to work harder to demonstrate my worth. Managers who are members of the numerical majority can define expectations for others that feel demeaning or unreasonably stringent. To illustrate, when the leader of a small team comprising employees with college degrees hires several qualified people who have only a high school education, her boss begins requesting progress reports from these new hires that hed never required before. The message? I expect your teams performance to drop because of the new staff with less education. Though the newly configured team performs well, the director feels worn out by the pressure to constantly defend her employees worth through meaningless reports. The following year, she accepts a position at a competing firm.
I dont fully trust you. Sometimes members of the numerical minority doubt that their majority-member colleagues will support them if they make a mistake. So they avoid taking risks. A case in point: After several drinks at a business dinner, Carla complains to Anton, her new colleague, that homosexuals are always advocating their agenda. Anton is gay but has not told Carla about his sexual orientation. He decides to keep his distance from Carlawhich hampers collaboration between their two departments.
Resolving diversity-related conflicts
When a diversity-related conflict arises, the person in the numerical minority may feel an intense need to be proven right about having experienced prejudicial treatment based on his or her minority status. Meanwhile, the individual in the numerical majority can experience an equally intense need to be innocent of committing an offense. With such polarized needs, the two stand little chance of moving beyond the conflict. The following steps can help you uncover whats fueling diversity-related tension and how you and the other person might interact more productively.
Step 1: Reflect. If someone accuses you of prejudice, or you feel certain someone has shown prejudice toward you, pause to consider the facts of the situation and your goals before responding. For example, when Sondras male law-firm colleagues joked that things were much more fun here before so many women joined the firm, she checked her anger. Then she thought about how the incident could help her achieve a goal that mattered more to her than being right. Sondras goal? Enabling women to advance more easily to partner at the firm.
Step 2: Connect. Ask questions to better understand the other persons behavior and attitudes. Then share your own perspective. To illustrate, Sondra set out to understand what experiences lay under her male colleagues disparaging humor about women. She asked them, What was it like for you when women joined the firm? What did you feel you lost? Gained? The men opened up, and Sondra explained the feelings that arose in her when well-meaning colleagues told unflattering jokes about women. The mutual openness diffused tensions and enabled the colleagues to focus once more on meeting important strategic goals. And in future meetings, Sondra was able to convince her colleagues that enabling women to advance more easily within the firm would benefit the entire organization.
Step 3: Question yourself. Ask yourself how your desire to be proven right about a perceived offenseor innocent of offending someone elsemight have distorted your view of the situation. For instance, Janice, a 39-year-old manager, succeeded 59-year-old Brian as CEO at a consultancy. Brian, who remained as an adviser, told Janet that her push to market more vigorously to women in their 30s was unwise. Though she initially took offense, Janet asked Brian to elaborate. He expressed concern that Janets strategy would narrow the firms market and alienate the current customer base of older men. Janet realized she needed to explain how her strategy would support the firms mission. When she articulated her reasoningand demonstrated her commitment to retaining current customersBrian saw the value in her strategy. The tension between them eased, and Janice was able to move forward with implementing her new direction.
Step 4: Shift your mind-set. Ask yourself what changes you could make to improve your workplace relationships. For example, Richard, a French executive at a Paris-based consultancy, was frustrated with Suha, his Egyptian business partner. Richard saw Suha as controlling and critical when they took on major new consulting engagements. Rather than trying to persuade Suha to alter his behavior, Richard realized that the only thing he could change was himself. He initiated a conversation with Suha to learn more about his concerns. When Richard discovered that Suhas behavior stemmed from his worry about the firms increasing workload, he agreed to shoulder more of the load. Their working relationship moved from prickly to positive.
To maximize the value of a diverse team, you need to do more than deftly handle diversityrelated conflicts and tensions. You can also take steps to foster an inclusive environment. The next Core Concept explores this notion. See also Steps for Resolving Diversity-Related Conflicts and the Online Article Rethinking Political Correctness. Fostering an Inclusive Environment
How might your organization reap the benefits promised by diverse workforces and teams including increased access to new and existing markets, higher morale, and greater productivity? One powerful practice is to foster an inclusive environment. In an inclusive environment, managers welcome the many differences that distinguish their employees, and they leverage those differences to define new goals, improve processes, and boost team productivity. Companies that cultivate an inclusive environment thus promote equal opportunitywhile also valuing differences as much as they do similarities. As employees in inclusive organizations see their unique characteristics generating positive business results, they feel valued precisely for what makes them special. As a result, their commitment to their jobsand the companygrows. Fostering an inclusive environment isnt easy, owing to two existing diversity approaches that get in the way. Think of these approaches as assimilation and differentiation.
In organizations that approach diversity through assimilation, people stress the fact that were all the same. Assimilation promotes fair hiring, as managers strive to recruit diverse employees. But this approach also has a major disadvantage: it encourages everyone to adhere to the corporate culture and codes of conduct defining how to look, act, and get ahead. This expectation of uniform behavior puts pressure on employees to downplay differences among themselves which can carry a high price for their company. Heres an example: Wu, a Chinese man who works in FreiCos advertising department, believes that FreiCos advertising strategy isnt appropriate for the Chinese marketplace. But he hesitates to cite his personal knowledge of Chinese culture in order to defend his opinion. Why? He fears that others will see him as importing inappropriate attitudes into an organization that prides itself on sameness and blindness to cultural differences. As a result, FreiCo never hearsor profits fromWus well-informed ideas.
In organizations that take a differentiation approach to diversity, people stress the fact that we celebrate differences. Differentiation enables companies to expand into new and existing markets by matching diverse employees to niche customer segments distinguished by gender, race, age, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and other defining characteristics. However, differentiation also has an important downside: employees can feel theyre being pigeonholed or exploited as tokens. They may also feel excluded from opportunities lying beyond the niche into which theyve been slotted. Equally problematic, their ideas dont always get integrated into their companys mainstream work. Consider this illustration: BestBank, a U.S. investment services company, aggressively expands into several Asian countries. To ensure that managers in the new offices have credibility with local customers and knowledge of local markets, BestBank hires Asians who live locally to manage its foreign offices. The new businesses prosper. Yet BestBank as a whole never profits as much as it should have from this approach. Why? The banks country teams all operate as spin-off companies. so no one in the home office can discern
what makes the teams so successful. For instance, which investment banking practices would prove profitable only in particular cultures? Because it followed a differentiated diversity strategy, BestBank wont learn from the country teams best practicesand cant put these practices to use in the larger organization. Moreover, BestBank has made itself vulnerable: if numerous managers from the Chinese team, for example, were to leave the company, BestBank would not know which skills to seek in successor managers. Thus the company might have difficulty re-creating its previous performance in that office.
Inclusion: A third way
Because both assimilation and differentiation contain serious drawbacks, companies would do better to adopt a third approach that transcends the two existing ways. Many diversity experts think of this approach as inclusion. In a company that fosters inclusion, employees diverse perspectives are incorporated into the way business is conductedchanging things for the better. Heres one illustration: Harmon & Hays, a small public-interest law firm based in Los Angeles, had an all-white legal staff that served an exclusively white female clientele. In light of the firms mandate to advocate on behalf of all women, the attorneys were troubled by this homogeneity. To correct the situation, the firm hired Soledad, a Hispanic attorney. Soledad brought in clients from her own community, demonstrating Harmon & Hayss commitment to serving all women. But even more valuable, she offered new ideas about which kinds of cases the firm should take on. For example, she suggested pursuing precedent-setting litigation that challenges English-speaking-only policies. The firm had previously ignored such policies because they didnt fall under the purview of their traditional affirmative-action work. Soledad helped her colleagues see the link between Englishonly policies and employment issues for large groups of womensuch as recent immigrants clients the company had earlier ignored. Soledad thus expanded notions of what constituted relevant issues for the firm. She enhanced not only the quality of Harmon & Hayss work but its ability to achieve its mission.
Crafting a culture of inclusion
How to craft a culture of inclusion in your organization? Consider these practices:
Foster open discussion of cultural backgrounds. For instance, a food companys chemistry department has employees from numerous different cultures. The department manager routinely expresses interest in the background of individual employees and engages them in conversation about their experiences. Chin, a Taiwanese chemist, is inspired to draw on his familiarity with Chinese cookingnot his scientific expertiseto solve a soup-flavoring problem that has been frustrating the department. Demonstrate your belief that a good idea can come from anyone. For example, one manager launched a series of weekly planning breakfasts open to people from all hierarchical levels in his function. With this move, he sent the message to his subordinates that he valued their ideasregardless of their differences or position in the department.
Secure organizational trust. In inclusive, diverse workplaces, people share a broader range of ideas and feelings more frequently than they do in homogenous organizations. Not surprisingly, this variety can spark tensions, as people may put forth perspectives that clash. To ensure that employees continue to feel safe in expressing themselves, set a tone of honest discourse. How? Acknowledge tensions, and resolve them swiftly and sensitively. To illustrate, one manager handled a potentially explosive disagreement between two staffers by saying, LaNita and Hank, you really seem to disagree about the direction our ad campaign should take. Can you each say more about whats causing the intensity of your disagreement? And would you each describe your line of thinking in more detail, so we can agree on how to move forward?
Knowing how to create an inclusive environment is useful. But to extract the most value from your diverse workforce, you also need to tap diversitys value, including linking differences to important business goals. The next Core Concept sheds light on this key managerial activity. See also Tips for Creating an Inclusive Workplace Environment and Creating an Inclusive Environment Self-Assessment. Tapping Diversitys Value
Link diversity to business goals
To extract maximum value from your diverse team, you need to enable every employee to perform to his or her full potential. That may require you to clarify the link between diversity and business goals, expand your definition of diversity, and challenge damaging beliefs about differences. Start by reviewing your business goals. For instance, do you envision improving sales among existing customers? Expanding into new markets? Now determine how diversity can help your team achieve those goals. Articulate your thoughts to your group. At one financial services company, a product development manager told his employees, Our goals include serving soon-to-be-retired individuals and women-owned start-ups. I need you to draw on your personal experiences as representatives of these groups to generate ideas for services that may appeal to them. Dont assume that each employee knows how his or her unique talents can help bring about success. Ensure that your staff understand the organizations goals, and then discuss how each person can contribute to the achievement of those objectives. By calling attention to differences among your subordinates and showing how this diversity can help the company reach strategic goals, you send the message that you value each employees contributions. Equally important, you give every subordinate an opportunity to generate valuable business results.
Expand your diversity definition
Envision diversity initiatives as encompassing all employeesnot just members of minority groups. For example, suppose youre a manager working in the Northeast region of the United States. If your goal is to assemble a team representing a wide range of ethnicities, genders, ages,
and abilities, dont ignore 45-year-old white males. Omitting them from the team would be just as exclusionary as leaving out representatives from minority groups. Moreover, like any other demographic category, 45-year-old white males constitute a potentially profitable market. Indeed, before implementing any diversity effort, ask yourself a key question: Will this initiative contribute to everyones success in my team? Or, will it produce an advantage for only one or certain groups? The most valuable diversity initiatives benefit everyone. For instance, assembling a task force to explore ways for a minority ethnic group to advance more easily in your unit ultimately helps everyone. Why? Generally, the more diverse the units leadership ranks become, the more creative ideas they will generate for improving processes or better serving customers. The more creatively your unit operates, the more successful it becomes which can lead to rewards for everyone. See also Worksheet for Creating a Diversity Profile.
Expose and challenge exclusionary beliefs
Beliefs about the personal qualities required to get ahead in your company can unwittingly bar certain groups from opportunities to be hired and to give their best on the job. By exposing and challenging these beliefs, you remove those obstacles so that your company can extract more value from differences. To illustrate, at InfoTech, which employs mostly men, one manager cited ability to work with people and compassion as prerequisites for promotion to leadership positions. But then he admitted, Thats the official story. In truth, its aggressiveness that really gets people hired and promoted here. And most women just dont have that trait. At InfoTech, the belief that women cant be aggressive blocks qualified female employees from being hired and advancing to leadership positions. To hire and promote more womenand thereby gain the benefits that diversity offers managers at InfoTech would need to first reexamine their actual criteria for promotion, asking Do aggressive leaders truly get better results than compassionate ones? They would also benefit from challenging their beliefs about women, asking, Are most women really incapable of being aggressive when the need arises? In addition to the above suggestions, addressing the unique challenges of recruiting diverse employees can help you tap diversitys power. The next Core Concept shines the spotlight on recruitment. Recruiting a Diverse Team
Many managers encounter frustrating obstacles in trying to recruit a diverse team. For example:
Ive looked for diverse job candidates, but I just cant find many in this area. The HR department found diverse candidates for a position, but I wasnt confident that they were the best qualified for the job. I dont want to hire diverse team members just for the sake of diversity.
Though we have diversity in our hourly-paid workforce, theres little of it in the middle and senior management ranks. Qualified diverse candidates are shying away from our company because of this.
How to surmount these challenges? You may need to stretch beyond your usual recruiting tactics in order to find diverse, qualified candidates and persuade them to join your team. The following ideas can help.
Expanding your recruiting strategies
If youre having trouble recruiting additional diverse team members, consider using multicultural marketing approaches to identify the media through which people from different cultural groups get their information. Some examples of media outlets could be:
Ethnic radio and TV stations Community newspapers Trade journals The Internet
Once youve identified each groups preferred media, advertise job openings in those media for each group youre targeting. Also, join forces with organizations that service the social, civic, religious, and educational needs of the groups whose representation youre seeking to improve in your team. For instance, suppose you want to recruit additional people of color in your department. You discover that a local community center runs a weekend program for young people of color on how to plan their careers. You invite one of your direct reports to give a short presentation on career management to attendees at the program. The payoff? You get your companys name out to the local community, and you identify possible future hires for your department. See also Tips for Recruiting Diverse Employees and Steps for Creating a Diversity Recruitment Plan.
Seek assistance from within your company
Your companys current employees can also help. Individuals within your organization that represent groups youre interested in recruiting may know qualified individuals who fit your desired profile. Suggest that your organization create an employee referral bonus program, whereby employees would get rewarded for finding qualified diverse job candidates, if such a program does not already exist. Your organization may also benefit from the power of employee affinity groups. Suggest to your HR department or senior leadership that members of diverse groups throughout your organization form groups to sell your company to potential job candidates. For example, an indigenous peoples group could talk with candidates as well as community and educational groups about your organization, what its like to work there, and how theyve advanced in the company.
See also Tips for Maximizing the Value of Employee Affinity Groups.
Selling your company
Its not enough to locate potential diverse new hires; you also have to persuade qualified candidates to work for you. The following techniques can help:
Tout your companys progress in hiring for diversity. Even if the organization overall still has a way to go in its diversity efforts, point out to qualified candidates what youve achieved so far. For example, Weve increased the percentage of women in middle and upper management from 35 percent to 45 percent over the past two years. We know we need to do more, but weve made a good start and are working to correct things. Emphasize the advantages of working for your organization. If your department or company offers advantages over rival organizations, explain those advantages to diverse job candidates. For instance, perhaps you foster employees career development by offering them special stretch assignments that enable them to strengthen their skills. Or maybe youve defined job roles and work schedules in such a way that everyone in your department is able to balance his or her work and personal or family commitments.
Once youve recruited diverse employees, your work doesnt stop there. You also need to retain thema topic covered in the next Core Concept. See also Recruitment Interview Checklist. See also the Harvard ManageMentor topic Hiring. Retaining Diverse Employees
Dont stop with recruiting
Recruiting the diverse employees you need to help your company stay competitive isnt enough. You also have to keep them. Retention can be challenging. This is especially true if the diverse employees youve recruited dont feel welcome and appreciated. Recently recruited employees may also leave if theyve come from other countries and have difficulty understanding your companys cultural standards. To retain members of your diverse team, you may need to reexamine your human capital systems including incentives, work/life programs, professional development initiatives, performance appraisals, and mentoring mechanisms.
Start by taking a look at the incentivesfinancial and nonfinancialyou use to reward your team. Ask yourself: Do these incentives send the message that we value diversity in this group? Do they encourage people to learn about one anothers differences and use them to improve business processes and achieve important goals? Are they valued by all members of my staff? For example, a weekend getaway for two as a reward for good performance may be ideal for some members of your staff. But it wouldnt be as useful for an employee with several children
who may be reluctant to spend a weekend away from his kidsand who would have to take on the extra expense of hiring a babysitter. Based on your answers to the above questions, consider how you might change your incentive systems to better retain your diverse team. If money is tight, think about nonfinancial or low-cost rewardssuch as the opportunity to head up a major project, attend a conference, or participate in an in-house seminar of interest.
Tailoring work/life programs
Offer a range of policies to suit the diversity of your employees work/life needs. For instance, Lourdes, a manager at Prime Co., knew that a disproportionate number of her companys employees in their 40s and 50s shouldered responsibility for their immediate family and their extended family. To save these employees from burnout, Lourdes began offering flextime and telecommuting for subordinates who had job responsibilities that could be carried out at any time and from any location. In tailoring your work/life programs, make sure that one groups work/life needs dont overshadow anothers. For example, dont always depend on young, single employees to shoulder workloads of individuals who regularly leave early for family commitments. Also, make sure that your approach to work/life integration matches what you told candidates during job interviews. Too many managers tout their companys commitment to work/life balance in order to win talented new employeeswithout taking into account that this commitment varies across departments. A newly hired employee accepts the job offer and then learns that, owing to the nature of their assignments, people in his department work longer hours than employees in most other departments.
Developing employees professional skills
Help diverse subordinates use their unique experiences to hone their on-the-job skills and advance in their career. To illustrate, suppose you discover that Victor, a devout Catholic in your unit, volunteers for fund-raising at his neighborhood church and manages several youth groups in his off-hours. Through talking with him about these civic commitments, you realize that Victor has acquired some valuable skillsnamely, strategic planning, change management, negotiation, and financial savvy. These abilities are essential for an upcoming special project in your department. You encourage Victor to extract lessons from his community work and apply them in stretch assignments on the job. For example, you invite him to head up a task force charged with introducing a new customer service process to your team. This opportunity helps Victor further strengthen his change management skills. And it enables your department to improve its processes and enhance customer loyalty.
Customizing performance appraisals
Customize developmental goals introduced through performance appraisals to each employees unique circumstances. For example, during Victors next performance appraisal meeting, you invite him to sign up for an internal training course that helps new managers further strengthen their leadership skills.
Heres another example: suppose that Dianna, a new mother who works in your unit, has negotiated a reduced workweek (with corresponding reduction in pay) so she can spend more time with her infant son. When conducting your annual performance appraisal for Dianna, allow for her part-time status while evaluating her on-the-job results. That is, dont expect her to produce the same volume of work in a 32-hour week as a 40-hour-a-week employee in the same job would produce. Instead, focus the performance appraisal on how well she met the goals, deadlines, and quality requirements in her negotiated agreement.
Identify mentors who can provide diverse employees with instruction, coaching, and long-term, close developmental support as they progress through their careers. Mentors can come from within your department or from outside sources, such as other teams in the organization or external professional associations. Mentors from outside your functional area may be able to offer their protgs broader perspectives on the workings of the company. Some employees may benefit from mentors who are similar in age or who come from the same ethnic group. Others may prefer mentors with a different perspective or background. Both have benefits. For example:
Mentors with different backgrounds. A mentor who has a different background from his or her protg can often help that person understand what it is like to be a member of the mentors group. For instance, consider a white male who is a senior executive at a manufacturing plant. He is mentoring a female African American middle manager who is struggling in her management of an assembly line composed primarily of white males. As her mentor, he may be able to help her deal with employees resistance to her ideas by sharing some of his own experiences with leading change.
Mentors with similar backgrounds. Matching mentors with protgs from the same groups can offer unique benefits as well, such as enabling protgs to feel a greater sense of camaraderie and support. If its impossible to find the ideal match for a particular employee, try to identify mentors who understand and appreciate the unique career challenges faced by the particular employee in question, as well as his or her special contributions. To illustrate, perhaps Jon, a white employee in the marketing group, would make an excellent mentor for Taja, your Pakistani-born employee. Thats because Jons sister-inlaw, Mikela, was born to Pakistani immigrants. Over the years, Jon has watched as Mikela has encountered challenges but nevertheless advanced through her career as a product developer. Because Jon is familiar with Mikelas experiences, he can support Taja as she progresses along her professional path.
Changing human-capital systems to retain your diverse team can help you get the most value from the differences among your subordinates. Sharpening your understanding of the cultural diversity that characterizes todays globalized business world is also important. The following Core Concept explores this subject. See also the Harvard ManageMentor topic Retaining Valued Employees.
Cultures powerful influence
In todays age of global business, you probably hear the word culture used often. But what is culture, exactly? A persons culture determines his or her:
Beliefsabout how the world works and how people should interact Behaviorsincluding gestures, use of eye contact, facial expressions, and rituals for greeting Valueswhats considered important, such as family or personal life, career, religion, and social responsibility
Culture can be defined not only at a national level but also at the regional, organizational, or group level. For example, people living and working in the American Northeast and Southeast may have different beliefs, behaviors, and values (regional cultural differences). People in a large consumer-products corporation may have a very different culture from people who work for a small, not-for-profit entity (organizational cultural differences). And people who work in a marketing department may do business differently than those who work in the information technology function (group cultural differences). Given the increase in international business that many organizations are experiencing, this topic focuses primarily on national and regional cultural differences.
How culture gets expressed
Culture influences virtually all aspects of business. For example, people from different cultures may carry out the following activities in very different ways:
Negotiating Communicating about business and nonbusiness topics Building working relationships Resolving conflicts Defining work procedures and ethical behavior Making decisions Greeting one another Establishing deadlines and meeting times Dressing Entertaining and dining Delivering presentations Evaluating business ideas and proposals Setting business priorities Relating to authority figures Selling and marketing to customers
When people from different cultures do business together, misunderstandings can result. For example, Malcolm, a manager at a New York firm, travels to Tokyo to negotiate a sales deal with a customer. That evening, he and several managers from the Tokyo firm meet for dinner. As cocktails are served, Malcolm begins discussing the deals details. He doesnt realize that, in many Asian cultures, people often prefer to establish relationships through nonbusiness conversation first. The Tokyo team members exchange uncomfortable glances and remain quiet during the rest of the evening. Malcolm returns to New York with no deal in hand.
Strengthening your cultural intelligence
Possibilities abound for misunderstandings based on cultural differences. How to avoid business gaffes based on cultural misunderstandings? Strengthen your cultural intelligence (CI)your ability to adapt to a new cultural setting, learn patterns of social interactions specific to that setting, and respond in ways considered appropriate by people from that culture. By emulating others cultural rules when interacting with them, you demonstrate your esteem for them and for how they conduct business in their own culture. They respond by becoming more trusting and openessential ingredients in any business interaction. To build your CI, you can read books and articles or view videos and DVDs about cultural differences, as well as attend events and activities specific to particular groups. You can also get help from a coach specializing in cultural diversity, or simply begin to foster relationships with people from groups who are different from yours. They can help you better understand and navigate your way through their culture.
Components of cultural intelligence
In addition to educating yourself on other peoples cultures, you can also master these three components of CI: Headobserving and learning about others. Look for clues to a cultures shared understandings. For example, suppose youre about to take part in a series of meetings with a negotiating team from another country. During your early encounters with members of the team, observe their attitudes toward time. (Are they always punctualor fashionably late?) Watch behavior regarding deadlines. (Do they stick to them rigidlyor treat them as guidelines?) Observe their use of language. (Do they bluntly say No to proposals they consider unacceptableor merely smile and say theyll get back to you and then not respond?) Bodyemulating others. Seventy percent of communication is through body language. Practice mirroring the customs and gestures of people from other cultures. For example, do they greet one another with a handshake, or with a kiss to both cheeks? Do men never shake womens hands, and vice versa? While chatting, are they up close and personal, or do they stand several feet apart? How muchif anyeye contact do they make? Under what circumstances do they smile? Bow? Heartbelieving you can learn about others. Embrace the notion that you are capable of understanding people from other cultures. In the face of obstacles, setbacks, or outright failure, strive with even greater rigor to familiarize yourself with others cultures and follow their norms when youre in their territory. Note: Understanding a culture does not mean you must embrace all its beliefs and behaviors. Neither does it imply that you must change your values or indulge in a cultural practice that you
disagree with. What it does mean is that you use your knowledge of others culture to understand why they do business the way they do. This understanding can lead to more positive, productive relationships in the workplace and with your customers. With the increased globalization of businessincluding offshoring, setting up operations in various countries, and establishing far-flung virtual teamsinternational cultural differences have presented managers with particularly daunting challenges. To successfully manage cultural diversity around the globe, managers must be especially savvy communicators. The next Core Concept shines a spotlight on international cross-cultural communicationincluding common pitfalls and ways to avoid them. See also Steps for Strengthening Your Cultural Intelligence and Cultural Intelligence SelfAssessment. Communicating Across Cultures
In todays business world, most large organizations operate globally. They:
Sell their products and services to customers from various countries. Employ individuals from different nationalities. Use suppliers from around the world. Compete against rivals coming from many points on the globe. Forge joint-venture partnerships with companies in other countries. Assemble virtual teams comprising employees from far-flung locations.
If your company operates in any of these ways, you can expect to routinely encounter and communicate with people with national cultures different from your own. For example, you may be asked to:
Form a virtual team made up of employees from different countries and time zones, and lead the team from your home office or an overseas location. Visit a customer in another country and negotiate an important deal. Meet with potential vendors from different countries to discuss their services and select the right supplier for your firm. Travel to another country and meet with representatives from a joint-venture partner to discuss progress on a major project.
In all of these scenarios, you cant assume that youll interact and communicate with people from other cultures the same way you do at home. Indeed, if you expect individuals from other countries to negotiate, discuss business, and resolve problems exactly as you do, you risk committing communication gaffes that can sour your business relationships and hurt your companysand yourperformance. See also the Harvard ManageMentor topic Working with a Virtual Team.
Avoiding cross-cultural communication gaffes
Operating globally can benefit all the parties involved. But cross-border cultural differences can make communication difficult. How to avoid gaffes while communicating with people from other countries? The following ideas can help:
Sharpen your awareness. Hone your awarenessand appreciationof the vast differences in communication styles among national cultures by taking advantage of resources provided by your company or online, such as books and articles on the subject as well as experts. Use your people skills. Draw on your people skills by observing others and adapting to their communication styles. Keep your awareness of national culture differences in mind while interacting with others. However, dont overgeneralize by assuming that two people from the same culture communicate in identical ways. Look for each persons individual style as well. Get educated. Take advantage of any cross-cultural training and coaching provided by your company. If your organization doesnt provide such resources, consider obtaining them yourself through online programs or courses offered by local colleges and continuing education programs. Find cultural mentors. Identify peer managers in your firm who you see as particularly skilled at cross-border communication. Ask them what they do to enhance their ability to communicate with people from other nations. Then practice applying their methods to your own cross-border dealings.
Cross-cultural miscommunication tends to occur in four areas. By understanding these areas, you can further boost your chances of avoiding communication gaffes. The sections below discuss these areas and provide examples. See also Tips for Showing Respect for People from Another Culture.
Confusion about language
Often, people from different countries use English to discuss business together. But because comprehension of English can vary greatly, misunderstandings may occur. For example, Larry leads a virtual team charged with designing brochures for new products. One morning, he e-mails Maya, a newly hired freelance graphic artist based overseas. In his e-mail, he asks her when shell have the mock-up ready to circulate among the team members. By mock-up, Larry is referring to a rough draft of the brochure, showing placement of text and photos. Maya understands mock-up to mean a more finished version of the brochure. So, she tells him shell have it ready in two weeks. Larry thinks to himself, What? Two weeks to do a mock-up? Because Larry doesnt realize that he and Maya are defining mock-up differently, he becomes skeptical of Mayas abilities and starts micromanaging her. Eventually, their relationship sours, corroding the teams morale and productivity.
Special challenges of nonverbal communication
People from different countries use nonverbal signalsincluding gestures, silence, touch, eye contact, and facial expressionsto mean different things. If you dont understand the different meanings assigned to such signals, you may misread them in another person. For instance, suppose youve been assigned to lead a project team for several months in another country where your company has set up a satellite office. Soon after you arrive at the new location, you meet with each team member individually to introduce yourself and discuss project plans. During these meetings, you notice that a number of the team members make very little eye contact with you. You dont realize that, in their country, looking an authority figure in the eye signifies lack of respect. So, you interpret their behavior incorrectlyconcluding that theyre trying to conceal something from you. The project starts off unnecessarily on a note of mistrust.
The art of negotiation
Negotiation styles vary widely across cultures. In some countries, negotiators open talks by emphasizing the negative aspects of the bargaining so far; in others, the positive. Some believe that withholding information is power. Some consider it rude to say No outright. People may also have very different preferences for how to set the pace of discussions during a negotiation. To illustrate, Reed, a manager for a company based in Los Angeles, meets with Khoa, a manager at a Hanoi-based supplier, to negotiate a potential contract. For Reed, negotiation is about pushing through a dealperiod. When Reed decides that the discussion isnt moving forward as quickly as he thinks it should, he presents increasingly forceful arguments. Khoa, who typically first builds a relationship with his negotiation counterpart and then slowly enters into the bargaining, interprets Reeds behavior as disrespect. Their negotiation fizzles, and what could have been a mutually beneficial deal never comes to pass.
Misunderstandings about forms of agreement
What constitutes an agreement hinges tightly on cultural norms. For some cultures, a verbal agreement is sufficient for both parties to move ahead with implementing a deal. In others, bargainers require formal legal documents to consider an agreement sealed. Lack of understanding of these different norms can lead to painful misunderstandings and lost business. Consider this example: you work for a small start-up thats developing a new technology. Youve met with several engineers and marketers from TechInc., a potential customer from another country, to gauge TechInc.s interest in your product. At each meeting and during each phone call, you hear comments from the TechInc. representatives such as, Were definitely on board, and well want to get the work done as quickly as possible. Well get the purchase order to you by the end of next week. You assume that this verbal agreement means youll actually receive the purchase order by the designated date. Mindful of TechInc.s urgency about having the order filled, you contact a longtime supplier that sells the parts needed to fill the order, and you purchase the parts. But when the following week ends, you still havent received the official order from TechInc. You phone Marlon, your contact from TechInc., to find out whats going on. Oh, he says. Well, we need to have more internal discussion about whether we can move forward with this project. Well send you the order if we want to proceed. Youre forced to cancel the order you placed with the parts suppliersetting the stage for mistrust in a previously positive relationship.
Misunderstandings are all too common when managers are communicating internationally. However, by employing strategies to avoid cross-cultural gaffes and understanding the four areas where misunderstandings are most likely to occur (language, nonverbal communication, negotiation, and forms of agreement), you can improve the odds of success in your international business dealings. See also Worksheet for Preparing for a Cross-Cultural Business Trip and the Online Article: Building Better Global Managers. Types of Negotiation Negotiation is the process by which people deal with their differences. Whether those differences involve the purchase of a new automobile, a labor contract dispute, the terms of a sale, or a complex alliance between two companies, resolutions are typically sought through negotiations. To negotiate is to seek mutual agreement through dialogue. A business negotiation may be a formal affair that takes place across the proverbial bargaining table, in which you haggle over the price and terms of a contract. Alternatively, it may be less formal, such as a meeting between you and several fellow employees whose collaboration is needed to get a job done. If you are a supervisor, manager, or executive, you probably spend a good part of your day negotiating with people inside or outside your organizationoften without even realizing it. There are essentially two kinds of negotiation: distributive negotiation and integrative negotiation. Most negotiations combine elements of both types, but for the purposes of understanding, it's important to examine each type in its pure form. Distributive negotiation In a distributive negotiation, parties compete over the distribution of a fixed sum of value. The key question in a distributed negotiation is "who will claim the most value?" A gain by one side is made at the expense of the other. This is also known as a zero-sum negotiation. Examples of distributive negotiations include:
The sale of a car: There is no relationship between the buyer and seller, and all that matters is the price. Each side works for the best deal, and every gain by one party represents a loss to the other. Wage negotiations between business owners and their union employees: The owners know that any amount conceded to the union will come out of their own pocketsand vice versa.
Often, there is only one issue in a distributive negotiation: money. The seller's goal is to negotiate as high a price as possible; the buyer's goal is to negotiate as low a price as possible. A dollar more to one side is a dollar less to the other. Thus, the seller and the buyer compete to claim the best deal possible for themselves, and the bottom line defines what is possible. In a distributive negotiation, it is impossible to make trade-offs based on differing preferences. Because there is only one issue at stake, you can't trade more of what is highly valued by one party against a different item or issue highly valued by the other party. Thus, the deal is confined: There are no opportunities for creativity or for enlarging the scope of the negotiation.
Similarly, relationship and reputation are irrelevantthe negotiators are not willing to trade value in the deal for value in their relationship with the other negotiator. See also Steps for Handling a Distributive Negotiation. Integrative negotiation The second kind of negotiation is integrative negotiation. In this type of negotiation, parties cooperate to achieve maximum benefits by integrating their interests into an agreement. This is also known as a "win-win" negotiation. In business, integrative negotiations tend to occur:
During the structuring of complex, long-term partnerships or other collaborations After financial terms (or the competitive aspects) of a deal have been set Between professional colleagues or superiors and direct reports whose long-term interests benefit from the other's satisfaction
In an integrative negotiation, there are many items and issues to be negotiated, and the goal is to "create" as much value as possible for yourself and the other side. Each side makes trade-offs to get the things it values most, while giving up other, less critical factors. Sometimes your interests are not the same as those of the party with whom you are negotiating. This means that your ability to claim what you want from the deal does not necessarily detract from the other party's ability to claim what he or she wants from the deal. As a result, opportunities for creativity abound and the relationship between you and the other party becomes highly valued. Finding opportunities for mutual benefit requires cooperation and disclosure of information. Both parties need to understand their own key interests and the key interests of the other side. See also Steps for Handling an Integrative Negotiation. The following table summarizes the main differences between distributive and integrative negotiations. Distributive Versus Integrative Negotiations Characteristic Outcome Motivation Interests Relationship Issues involved Distributive Win-lose Opposed Short-term Single Integrative Win-win Congruent Long-term Multiple Flexible
Individual gain Joint gain
Ability to make trade offs Not flexible
Solution The negotiator's dilemma
Most business negotiations are neither purely distributive nor purely integrative situations; rather, competitive and cooperative elements are intertwined. The resulting tension, known as the negotiator's dilemma, requires difficult strategic choicesbalancing competitive strategies, which make it hard to cooperate and create value effectively, with cooperative strategies, which make it hard to compete and claim value effectively. Knowing whether to compete where interests conflictclaiming more instead of lessor to create value by exchanging the information that leads to mutually advantageous options is at the core of the negotiator's art. See also the Online Article: "3-D Negotiation: Playing the Whole Game." Multiphase and Multiparty Negotiations Most people envision a negotiation as two people or teams sitting opposite each other at the bargaining table; the individual parties eventually come to an agreement or walk away. This characterization is fairly accurate for one-on-one negotiations that can be handled in a single meeting, such as the purchase of a car or a discussion between a supervisor and direct report about job performance and wages. In reality, many negotiations are not so simple. They involve more than two parties, and they sometimes take place in phases, with each phase devoted to different issues. Multiphase negotiations Multiphase transactions are negotiations that are implemented over time in different phases. As parties proceed through the phases, each upholding its respective promises, future dealings are ensured. The context of multiphase negotiations allows parties to negotiate based on followthrough and continuing communication. Examples of multiphase negotiations include:
The buyout of an inventory-based business in which the parties set a price for the business and then agree to modify it later based on the value of the inventory on a specific date An architectural design contract in which the architect and client agree on a price for the design phase of a project, and then use the design to agree on a price for the completion of construction drawings
You can do certain things during the early and final phases of a multiphase negotiation that will help you achieve success. During the early phases:
Become familiar with the other party's communication and negotiation style. This knowledge will help you be more effective in the later, more critical phases. Build trust. Follow through on all agreements and promises so that the other party sees that you are trustworthy and cooperative.
Monitor the other party to insure that they are following through on agreements and promises. A party's failure to perform as promised in an early phase can serve as a warning signal of the need to create enforcement mechanisms, security provisions, or other sanctions against a future nonperformance. Walk away from disconcerting negotiations. If the other party intentionally fails to follow through on agreements or promises, end the negotiations while you still can.
During the final phases:
Insure that the last phase is not the most significant in dollars or impact, or the most difficult to accomplish. This will help protect you when incentives to breach are the greatest. Most parties will not risk great injury to reputation by failing to perform a relatively insignificant item. Pay attention to early warnings. Create enforcement mechanisms against nonperformance or other breach of trust in situations in which the other party's promises have not been upheld.
Multiparty negotiations Business and professional negotiations commonly involve more than two parties, and generally more than two people. In multiparty negotiations, coalitions or alliances can form among the parties and influence the process and outcome. Coalitions have more power than any individual party involved in the negotiation. There are at least two types of coalitions:
Natural coalitions are allies that share a broad range of common interests. For example, an environmental agency and a citizen's nature conservation group share basic agendas and will often work in concert to block development initiatives, even without explicit agreement to do so. Single-issue coalitions form when parties that differ on other issues unite to support or block a single issue, often for different reasons. For example, a labor union and a nature conservation group might form a coalition to block an anti-union developer from building a shopping mall in a wooded area. Each group has a different reason for joining the coalition.
To be successful in multiparty negotiations, you need to determine your party's interests and goals at the negotiation table, as well those of the coalition(s) you're dealing with, and then form a strategy. If your party is relatively weak, consider forming a coalition with others to improve your bargaining power. If your party is up against a coalition, you might find ways to break the coalition apart. While a natural coalition is hard to break because the parties are closely aligned, a single-issue coalition is generally more vulnerable. Because the parties involved in a single-issue coalition have different reasons for joining, it is often possible to address the demands of one party, leaving the other party standing on its own.
For example, in the situation described above, in which a labor union and a nature conservation group form a coalition to block an antiunion developer from building a shopping mall in a wooded area, the property owner might find a different developer with a better track record in dealing with unions. As a result, the union might be more likely to withdraw its opposition, leaving the conservationists to fight alone. No matter which type of negotiation you're faced with, it's bound to be complex if it is multiphased or if it involves multiple parties. In both cases, you need to be proactive about protecting your interests. In multiphase negotiations, use the early phases to evaluate the other party and build trust, and structure the later phases so they are difficult to breach. In multiparty negotiations, consider the benefits of either forming or breaking coalitions to improve your bargaining power. Four Key Concepts in Negotiation When people don't have the power to force a certain outcome or behavior, they generally negotiatebut only when they believe it is to their advantage to do so. A negotiated solution is only advantageous when a better option is not available. Therefore, any successful negotiation must have a fundamental framework based on knowing:
The best alternative to a negotiation The minimum threshold for a negotiated deal How flexible a party is willing to be, and what trade-offs it is willing to make
Four concepts are especially important for establishing this framework:
BATNA (best alternative to a negotiated agreement): Your option(s) if you fail to reach agreement during a negotiation. Reservation price: The least favorable point at which you'll accept a negotiated deal; "walk-away." ZOPA (zone of possible agreement): The range in which a potential deal can take place; defined by the overlap between the parties' reservation prices. Value creation through trades: The trading of goods or services that have only modest value to their holders, but exceptional value to the other party.
Best alternative to a negotiated agreement Your BATNA is your preferred course of action in the absence of a deal. Knowing your BATNA means knowing what you'll do or what will happen if you do not reach agreement. For example, a consultant is negotiating with a potential client about a month-long assignment. It's not clear what fee arrangement she'll be able to negotiate, or even if she'll reach an agreement. Before she meets with the potential client, she determines her best alternative to a negotiated agreementher BATNA. In this case, her BATNA is to spend that month developing marketing materials for other clientswork she estimates she can bill at $15,000. When she
meets with the potential client, her goal is to reach an agreement that will yield her at least $15,000, preferably more. Your BATNA determines the point at which you can say no to an unfavorable proposal; thus it is critical to know your BATNA before entering into any negotiation. If you don't, you won't know whether a deal makes sense or when to walk away. You might reject a good offer that is much better than your alternative or you might accept a weak offer, one that is less favorable than what you could have obtained elsewhere if there was no agreement. See also Worksheet for Identifying and Improving Your BATNA. Reservation price Your reservation price, also referred to as your "walk-away," is the least favorable point at which you would accept a deal. Your reservation price should be derived from your BATNA, but is not necessarily the same thing. Your reservation price and BATNA will be similar if the deal is only about money, and a credible dollar offer is your BATNA. For example, when preparing to negotiate with a commercial landlord over a lease for office space, you consider that you are currently paying $20 per square foot. This number is your BATNA. You also take into account the fact that the new location would be closer to clients and provide a more attractive workspace, thus you'd be willing to pay $30 per square foot. That's your reservation price. If more than $30 per square foot is required, you'll walk away and attempt to lease space in a different building. During the negotiation the landlord insists on $35 per square foot and won't accept anything lower, thereby indicating that his reservation price is $35 per square foot. See also Worksheet for Determining Your Reservation Price. Zone of possible agreement The ZOPA is the range in which a deal can take place. Each party's reservation price determines one end of the ZOPA. The ZOPA itself exists, if at all, in the overlap between these high and low limits, that is, between the parties' reservation prices. Consider this example of a ZOPA: A buyer has set a reservation price of $275,000 for the purchase of a commercial warehouse and would like to pay as little as possible. The seller has set a reservation price of $250,000 and would like to obtain as much as possible. The ZOPA, therefore, is the range between $250,000 and $275,000.
If the numbers were reversed, and the buyer had set a reservation price of $250,000 while the seller had set a reservation price of $275,000, there would be no ZOPAno overlap in the ranges in which they would agree. No agreement would be possible, no matter how skilled the negotiators, unless there were other elements of value to be consideredor one or both sides' reservation prices changed. Value creation through trades Another key concept of negotiation is value creation through trades, the idea that negotiating parties can improve their positions by trading the values at their disposal. Value creation through trades occurs in the context of integrated negotiations. Each party usually gets something it wants in return for something it values much less. For example, two collectors of rare books, Helen and John, are entering a negotiation. Helen is interested in purchasing a first-edition Hemingway novel from John to complete her collection. During their negotiation, John mentions that he is looking for a specific William Prescott book, which Helen happens to own and is willing to part with. In the end, John sells Helen the Hemingway book, completing her collection, for $100 plus her copy of the Prescott book. Both parties are satisfied. The goods exchanged had only modest value to their original holders, but exceptional value to their new owners. Nine Steps to a Deal Every important endeavor benefits from preparation. Negotiating is no different. People who know what they want, what they are willing to settle for, and what the other side is all about stand a better chance of negotiating a favorable deal for themselves. You are more likely to be an effective negotiator if you follow these nine preparatory steps. Step 1: Determine satisfactory outcomes A negotiation's success is judged by its outcome; thus, it's best to be clear about what constitutes a good outcome for you and the other side before the negotiation begins. Satisfactory outcomes typically address the intereststhe underlying motivations, concerns, and needsof each party. Determining the interests of the other side, however, can be difficultespecially in distributive negotiations, in which the negotiating parties tend to conceal their interests. Try to uncover interests by asking questions that can help you ascertain the other party's priorities, concerns, and perspective. See also Worksheet for Assessing the Other Side's Interests.
Step 2: Identify opportunities to create value Once you understand what a good outcome would look like for you and the other party, you can identify areas of common ground, compromise, and opportunities for favorable trades. Consider the example of a prized employee who requests an extended leave of absence so that she can be more available to her child. Her supervisor is concerned that the work in her unit won't be completed in her absence. After uncovering interests and desirable outcomes, they are able to negotiate a mutually satisfying solution. Rather than taking an extended leave, the employee agrees to work reduced hours from home. The supervisor is willing to trade her presence on site for completed work, and the employee is willing to trade her extended leave for reduced hours. Step 3: Identify your BATNA and reservation price It's critical to know your BATNA and reservation price prior to a negotiation. It's prudent to estimate the other party's BATNA and reservation price as well. If you know this information ahead of time, you'll be able to recognize when you've reached a favorable deal, and you'll have a better sense of when to hold firm or make concessions. See also Worksheet for Identifying and Improving Your BATNA and Worksheet for Determining Your Reservation Price. Step 4: Improve your BATNA Your BATNA determines the point at which you can say no to an unfavorable proposal. If you have a strong BATNA, you can afford to negotiate for more favorable terms. Therefore, it's wise to try and improve your BATNA before and during deliberations with the other party. For example, you may look for new clients or vendors, or try to arrange better agreements with current clients or vendors. Step 5: Assess who has authority Ideally, you want to negotiate directly with the person who has the authority to make a decision. Doing so reduces opportunities for misunderstanding and prevents you from proceeding down a path with an unrealistic outcome. Do whatever you can to identify the real decision maker. It's perfectly acceptable to ask about who will be making the decision and to inquire about the decision-making process. If you cannot negotiate directly with the decision maker, determine the level of authority of the person with whom you will be negotiating so that you can plan accordingly. Sometimes dealing with negotiators who lack full authority has advantages. For example, they may be freer to discuss their company's interests and explore more creative options. See also Worksheet for Evaluating Your Authority and That of the Other Side. Step 6: Study the other side Negotiation is a highly interpersonal activity. Therefore, it's advantageous to learn about the personality, style, and background of the people you'll be negotiating with as well as the culture, goals, and values of the organization they are representing.
This knowledge can help you form invaluable personal connections and avoid misunderstandings or errors during the negotiation process. Find out what you can about the other side by asking questions, talking with people who know the other party, and researching relevant Web sites, annual reports, and marketing materials. Step 7: Prepare for flexibility in the process Negotiations don't always follow a predictable or linear path. Relationships may become unpleasant or one party may replace a negotiator. Unanticipated developments can cause the other side to delay the process. Newly found opportunities may encourage the other side to drive a harder bargain. To overcome these roadblocks, you need to be flexible and patient. Don't assume that the negotiation must proceed according to a predetermined course. Be prepared to deal with new people and unanticipated developments. Rather than seeing each change in the process as a problem, try to treat change as an opportunity for learning and creativity. Step 8: Gather objective criteria to establish fairness In any negotiation, both sides want to believe that any deal reached is fair and reasonable. This is especially important in cases in which the parties expect to have a continuing relationship. To establish what is fair and reasonable, you can use external, objective criteria. For example, you might research current and comparable market values of properties before establishing a price for your land before making someone an offer. Because there may be many relevant criteria for fairness and reasonableness, it's important to research which criteria might be applied to your situation. Be prepared to explain why criteria that are more favorable to you are more relevant andvice versawhy criteria that are less favorable to you are less relevant. If you can convince the other side that a certain criterion or formula is fair and reasonable, that side will find it harder to reject a proposal incorporating the standard, and will be more likely to feel satisfied with the final deal. Step 9: Alter the process in your favor If, during a negotiation, you start to feel that your ideas are being ignored or that the meetings are rigged to produce a particular result, heed those feelings. It's likely that whoever set the agenda did so with a particular outcome in mind, that participants are deferring to someone with greater organizational clout, or that your ideas are out of step with those of others. This type of situation warrants a change in the process. Note that this doesn't mean you should try to change the substantive issues being discussed, but, rather, logistical factors such as where the meeting occurs, who attends, and the sequence of the agenda. Believe it or not, these elements can influence the way others participate and react in meetings. You can also work behind the scenes to educate others about your ideas. Talk with people who are respected and influential and/or consider forming a coalition. You may also reposition the issue being discussed so that others consider it from a different perspective. Negotiation Tactics When you sit at the negotiation table, you face many difficult decisions. Who should make the first offer? What is the best way to frame your offer? Should you hold firm or make concessions? These kinds of decisions are judgment calls, but there are strategies you can use to help guide you and make the negotiation process smooth.
Tactics for getting off to a good start
Set a positive tone with your opening remarks. Express respect for the other side's experience and expertise. Frame the negotiation as a joint endeavor, and emphasize your openness to the other side's interests and concerns. Review the agenda. This helps insure that everyone agrees on the issues to be covered. Discuss your expectations regarding process. People often have different assumptions about how the negotiation should work. Some expect proposals to be made at the outset, while others expect an open discussion of the issues first. Offer information. Voluntarily explain some of your interests and concerns first as a good-faith measure. If the other side does not reciprocate, however, be cautious about providing additional information.
See also Tips for Establishing the Right Tone and Tips for Getting off to a Good Start. Tactics for distributive negotiations In most distributive negotiations, a gain by one side represents a loss to the other side. You can use several techniques to achieve gains and prevent losses:
Do not disclose any significant information about your circumstances. It is best if you do not reveal why you want to make a deal, your real interests or business constraints, your preferences among issues or options, or the point at which you'd walk away from the table. It is advantageous to let the other side know that you have options if the deal falls through. Learn as much as possible about the other side. Investigate why they want to make a deal, their real interests and business constraints, and their preferences among issues or options. Establish an anchor. The first offer often sets the bargaining range. Studies show that negotiation outcomes often correlate to the first offer, so start at the right place. It's best to anchor when you have a strong sense of the other side's reservation price; your proposal should be at or just a bit beyond that number. Don't be too aggressive or greedy or the other side may walk away. Always be prepared to articulate why your offer is justifiable. Divert the discussion away from unacceptable anchors. If the other party establishes an anchor first and it is unacceptable to you, steer the conversation away from numbers and proposals. Instead ask questions that focus on the interests and motivations underlying the other side's position. Such questions might reveal new information that can help you reposition your proposal. Make cautious concessionary moves. Many interpret a large concession as an indicator that you're capable of conceding more. A small concession is generally seen as an
indication that the bidding is approaching the reservation price and that any succeeding concessions will be small.
Use time as a negotiation tool. Attach an expiration date to any offer to buy. Otherwise, the seller may put you off and wait for a better offer. Offer multiple proposals, and consider packaging options. Offer at least two proposals, and package options when possible. For example, you might offer $18,000 for a boat and trailer as a package or $16,000 for the boat alone. With options, the other party won't feel stuck with an ultimatum. Also, the other party may compare the proposals to each other instead of to his or her original goals, which can work to your advantage. Signal your interest in closing the deal. Let the other party know when you are close to an acceptable deal so that he or she won't expect many more concessions.
See also Steps for Handling a Distributive Negotiation and Steps for Closing a Deal. Tactics for integrative negotiations Integrative negotiations rely on collaboration and information exchange to create and claim value so consider using the following tactics:
Inquire about the other side's interests. Ask what the other party's needs, interests, and concerns are, and determine the party's willingness to trade off one thing for another. Listen carefully, because the responses you get can reveal valuable information that can help you. Be forthcoming about your own needs, interests, and concerns. See also Tips for Listening Actively. Provide significant information about your circumstances. Explain why you want to make a deal. Talk about your real interests, preferences among issues or options, and business constraints. Reveal any additional capabilities or resources you have that might meet their interests and could be added to the deal. Look for differences to create value. When you and the other party understand each other's needs and interests, it's more likely that you'll be able to reach a mutually satisfying outcome. Sometimes such an outcome can be carved from the differences between you. By trading on differences, you create value that neither of you could have created on your own. For example, consider Martha, who owns both a retail store and a restaurant. She is negotiating with an interior designer about renovating her restaurant. She agrees to pay a somewhat higher price than planned for the restaurant design; in exchange, the designer will order fixtures and furnishings for the retail store at his trade discount. The owner would not otherwise have ready access to these discountsyet providing them costs the designer nothing. Value has been created for both sides.
Take your time. Don't be tempted to close the deal too quickly, especially when the first acceptable proposal is on the table but little information has been exchanged. Spend more time finding a deal that is better for both sides. Signal that the proposal on the table is worth considering, but also state that it may be improved by learning more about your respective interests and concerns.
See also Steps for Handling an Integrative Negotiation and Steps for Closing a Deal. Framing Framing, or how you choose to describe a situation, is useful in both distributive and integrative negotiations. A frame can determine how negotiations will ensue. It orients the parties and encourages them to examine the issues within a defined perspective. How one side frames a solution can determine how others decide to behave. Generally, you can use one of these frames:
Present your proposal in terms that represent a gain instead of a loss. Instead of saying "My current offer is only 10% less than what you are asking," say "I've already increased my offer by 10%." Use risk aversion to your advantage. Risk-averse people tend to prefer the certainty of a smaller offer to the uncertainty of a larger future gain. For example, "I know that you want $400,000 for that property, and you may get it someday. However, I'm willing to pay $350,000 for it today. Can we make a deal?"
Continual evaluation Many managers think of negotiation as a linear process of preparation, negotiation, and eventual agreement or failure. But some negotiations are complex and require succeeding rounds. New information may appear at various points and/or different parties may offer concessions or heighten their demands. More complex negotiations often require the nonlinear approach shown in the illustration below. Preparation is followed by negotiation, which produces outcomes and information that require evaluation. The outputs of evaluation then lead to a new round of preparation and subsequent negotiation. This process continues until the parties reach an agreement or walk away from the negotiation.
In this situation, it's important to integrate the new knowledge and circumstances into your strategy and readjust your course as you proceed. Barriers to Agreement Most conflicts can be negotiated successfully if the parties can remain objective and if they aren't driven by pride, impatience, stubbornness, or ignorance of the facts. Many barriers to successful negotiations can be overcome or eliminated, if you know how to manage them. Die-hard bargainers They are out therethe die-hard bargainers, for whom every deal is a battle. How can you work with such highly competitive negotiators? Here are some suggestions:
Know their game. Don't let die-hard bargainers intimidate you. Anticipate unreasonable offers, grudging concessions, and posturing. Don't let this behavior prevent you from analyzing and improving your BATNA. Take the time to set your reservation price as well as assessing theirs. Be guarded in the information you disclose. Disclose only the information that cannot be used to exploit you. Suggest alternative packages or options when they are unwilling to share information. When you present options and packages, the other side tends to ask questions to clarify and compare the offers. In doing so, it often unknowingly reveals information that can help you better understand its interests and concerns. Be willing to walk away. If the other party sees that its difficult behavior may result in your walking away, it will be more willing to back down.
Lack of trust You suspect the other side is lying or bluffing. At best, these negotiators are just telling you what they think is needed for an agreement, and have no intention of following through on their promises. How should you respond?
Emphasize the need for integrity. Stress that the deal is predicated on their accurate and truthful representation of the situation. Request documentation. Require that they provide back-up documentation, and that the terms of the deal be explicitly contingent on its accuracy. Insist on enforcement mechanisms. Add contingencies, such as a security deposit, escrow arrangement, and/or penalties for noncompliance (or perhaps positive incentives for early performance), into the deal.
Potential saboteurs of a good deal Anytime people perceive themselves as losers in the outcome of a negotiation, expect resistance and possible sabotage. Stakeholders, employees, and customers can all be potential saboteurs if they have the power to block your negotiations. Resistance may be passive, in the form of noncommitment to the goals and the process for reaching them, or active, in the form of direct opposition or subversion. Particularly in multiparty negotiations, certain stakeholders may prefer "no deal" to the outcome. Anticipate and prepare for this possibility.
Identify potential saboteurs. Map out the stakeholders, their respective interests, and their power to affect the agreement and its implementation. Consider augmenting the deal. Include something in the deal to benefit stakeholders who would otherwise have the incentive to sabotage.
See also Tips for Dealing with Saboteurs. Differences in gender and culture People often attribute a breakdown in negotiation to gender or cultural differences, when these may not be the cause of the problem. For example, you might think, "The problem is that she's a woman and can't deal with confrontation." Or, "He's late because that's how Italians are with time." When you attribute these problems to gender or culture, you may miss the true issuethe female negotiator is signaling her company's resistance point, or there are efficiency and production problems at the Italian company. If you are having difficulty understanding or working with someone from another culture or the opposite gender, consider these guidelines:
Look for a pattern to diagnose the problem. What kinds of issues create difficulties? What types of misunderstandings have you had? Consider what assumptions each party has brought to the table. Are they valid? Are any related specifically to the negotiation at hand or to the particular company, and not to differences in culture? Research possible areas of difference. Review any available literature about the other party's culture and how it compares with yours.
Use what you've learned to establish more comfortable communication. Adjust your communication style or articulate the differing norms or assumptions you believe to have been the source of the problem.
Difficulties in communication Communication is the medium of negotiation. You cannot make progress without it. When you suspect that a negotiation is disintegrating because of communication problems, try the following steps:
Ask for a break. Take some time to clear your head and refocus. This will help you regain your objectivity. Look for a pattern. Replay in your mind what has been communicated, how, and by whom. Does the confusion or misunderstanding arise from a single issue? Did you have assumptions or expectations that were not articulated? Did the other side? After the break, raise the issue in a nonaccusatory way. Offer to listen while the other side explains its perspective on the issue. Listen actively, acknowledging their point of view. Explain your perspective. Then, try to pinpoint the problem. Switch spokespeople. If the spokesperson of your negotiating team seems to frustrate the other side, have someone else act as a spokesperson. Ask the other team to do the same if its spokesperson irritates your party. Jointly document progress as it is made. This is particularly important in multiphase negotiations. It will solve the problem of someone saying, "I don't remember agreeing to that."
See also the Online Article: "How to Break a Stalemate." Mental Errors Negotiation is a process that requires you to remain calm, composed, and focused. Unfortunately, even the most even-tempered people can end up with poor outcomes because they fall prey to mental errors. This section describes some mental errors that are frequently made during negotiations, and how you can avoid and correct them. Irrational escalation Irrational escalation, the continuation of a selected course of action beyond the point where it continues to make sense, is an error sometimes made by otherwise levelheaded businesspeople when they get into difficult and competitive negotiations. Some make this error because they cannot stand losing. Others get caught up in "auction fever," irrational behavior that surfaces when auctions and other bidding contests pit individuals against each other. To avoid irrational escalation:
Know your BATNA before you negotiate. Remind yourself that money you don't throw away on an overpriced deal is money you'll have available to invest in your other alternatives.
Prior to negotiations, work with your team to set a reasonable reservation price. If you decide on a number as a team, you'll be less tempted to escalate your price during a negotiation. In the event that new information arises, objectively recalculate your reservation price with your team. Set clear breakpoints. During the negotiation, periodically stop and assess your situation to insure you aren't getting off track.
Partisan perceptions Partisan perception is the psychological phenomenon that causes people to perceive "truth" with a built-in bias in their own favor, or toward their own point of view. For example, loyal fans of a team may perceive that a ruling made by an umpire was unfair to their side. To avoid partisan perception, recognize it as a phenomenon, and:
Imagine yourself in the other side's position. Try to see the issue from the perspective of the other party. This will help you see the other side's partisan viewpoints. Pose the issue to colleagues. Explain the situation without telling them which side you are on and solicit their opinions. Carefully frame the problem. When conveying your position to the other party, pose the problem as it appears to you, and ask how they would view it. Involve a neutral third party. Suggest bringing in a neutral third party or expert to provide unbiased guidance.
Unreasonable expectations Some people enter into negotiations with unreasonable expectations and, as a result, eliminate any zone of possible agreement. For example, consider a first-time author who submits her book proposal a publisher. The publisher likes her proposal but won't agree to her demand of a $100,000 advance. Instead, the publisher offers her a $10,000 advance. With the publisher's reservation price of $10,000 and the author's of $100,000, there is no overlap in which an agreement can be struck and the negotiations fall apart. To avoid this situation:
Explain the rationale behind your thinking. If the other party presents unrealistic expectations, explain why these demands are not reasonable. For example, the publisher could have talked with the author about the number of copies that would need to be sold in order to earn $100,000 in royalties, and how past sales for similar books have never attained those figures. This explanation might have induced the author to reduce her reservation price. Provide new information. If you believe the other party should increase its reservation price, provide factual information that will help persuade that party to do so. For example, if the author had a letter from someone who had already committed to purchasing a large number of copies of her book, this could have helped change the publisher's expectation of future sales and his reservation price.
Make sure your expectations are realistic. To avoid forming unrealistic expectations, take a look at similar situations to bring your expectations in line with fact-based reality.
Overconfidence Confidence is an important attribute during negotiations. It provides the courage needed to tackle difficult and uncertain ventures. Too much confidence, however, can set negotiators up for failure. It encourages them to overestimate their strengths and underestimate their rivals, and makes them blind them to dangers and opportunities. Avoid the potential dangers of overconfident actions and decisions by asking one or more objective outsiders to periodically examine your key assumptions about your position, the other party, and the deal on the table. Unchecked emotions People tend to assume that emotion and irrationality occur in personal negotiations, but rarely in business. This is not so. Some people become angry and emotional in difficult transactions. When high emotion takes control of a negotiation, the parties often stop focusing on logical and rational solutions, and the dialogue falls apart. To overcome unchecked emotion and irrationality, use the following strategies:
Suggest a "cooling-off" period. If you find that high emotions are making the proceedings too difficult, call for a break in the negotiations. Some distance from the discussion often helps restore emotions and objectivity. Determine what is making the other party angry. Try to understand what this deal or dispute means to the other party. Listen carefully to their comments and try to determine what is fueling the anger. Be responsive. Once you understand what is making the other party angry, express empathy. Focus on the issues. People can lose their focus when they feel personally attacked, deceived, humiliated, or disrespected. Keep the discussions impersonal by staying focused on the issues. Enlist an objective moderator. If you cannot make progress with the other party due to high emotions, suggest bringing in a neutral facilitator.
Skills of Effective Negotiators What makes an effective negotiator? Many of the skills and methods that talented negotiators use are developed over time with lots of practice. With training and experience, you can develop and strengthen your negotiating skills too. To increase your effectiveness as a negotiator, focus on the following skills:
Align negotiating goals with organizational goals. An effective negotiator operates within a framework that supports the strategic goals of his or her organization.
Prepare thoroughly. An effective negotiator collects as much information as possible in advance of deliberations, is organized for all meetings, and uses each negotiating phase to prepare further. Determine the other side's BATNA and reservation price. An astute negotiator uses effective dialogue with the other party and away-from-the-table detective work to ascertain the other side's BATNA and reservation price. Identify the interests of both sides and develop value-creating options. A sharp negotiator can help the other side see the value of sharing information and expanding value opportunities. Separate personal issues from negotiating issues. An accomplished negotiator knows that the issues being discussed are not about him or heror even about the individuals sitting across the table. Instead, an accomplished negotiator operates with objective detachment and focuses on producing the best possible outcome. Recognize potential barriers to agreement. Barriers aren't always obvious. A skillful negotiator ferrets them out and finds way to neutralize them. Know how to form coalitions. Not every negotiator is dealt a winning hand. The other side often has greater power at the table. A good negotiator, however, knows that a coalition of several weak players can often counter that power. More important, he or she knows how to build such a coalition on a foundation of shared interests. Develop a reputation for reliability and trustworthiness. The most effective negotiations are built on trust. Trust formed through one phase of negotiation pays dividends in the next. A good negotiator practices ethical behavior and follows through on all promises. Recognize relationship value. Some negotiations, usually integrative, involve parties that have important relationships that they want to retain. For example, managers want to maintain positive relationships with their direct reports, manufacturers want to preserve strong relations with their key suppliers, and so forth. An effective negotiator recognizes the importance of long-term relationships and knows how to retain them by creating trust, communicating openly, admitting to and addressing mistakes, and asking for feedback.
See also Tips for Managing Relationship Value. Frequently Asked Questions When asked by the other side to name a dollar figure, is it okay to state my range? Do not state your range unless you will be happy with a deal that is at the least favorable end of that range. For example, if you tell someone that you would pay $20,000 to $25,000 for a piece of property, rest assured that you will pay at least $25,000. The only reason to mention a range is to discourage the other side from pushing you beyond it, and this should happen toward the end of the negotiating process. For example, if after several
rounds of back and forth on a dollar figure, you are at $23,000, and the other side is at $30,000 and seems to be pushing for $28,000, you could say, "My preferred range walking into this negotiation was $20,000 to $23,000, but not above $25,000." The seller may be able to accept $25,000 more easily because he will feel he has pushed you to the top of your range. Is it smart or fair to bluff? It's OK to bluff but it's not OK to lie. Lying about a material fact in a negotiation is unethical and is almost certainly grounds for legal action. In certain circumstances, creating a false impression or failing to disclose material information may be a formal ethical breach and actionable as well. As long as what you bring to the table has real value, you need not reveal all the circumstances making you desperate for a deal. Thus, if you are negotiating the terms of a job offer, there is nothing wrong with describing the major projects for which you have been responsible, and the likely next step on the corporate ladder in your current company. You need not mention that the new division president is impossible to deal with or that one or two projects have not turned out well. This is not hard bargaining; it is effective self-advocacy or salesmanship. Should I ever tell the other side my real bottom line? The only time it makes sense to tell the other side your real bottom line is when you've reached it or are about to reach it. If you do reveal your bottom line, make sure you call it just that, with appropriate emphasis or firmness. Otherwise, the other side may not take you seriously, and may view that number as just another step on the way to a final deal. In a complex deal, is it better to reach agreement issue by issue, or wait until the end? Every deal is different, but it's generally better to aim for tentative agreements, or agreed-upon ranges, for each issue one at a time. This gives you the necessary flexibility to make valuecreating trade-offs between issues and to create alternative packages of different options. Is it better to deal with difficult or easy issues first? In general, dealing with easier issues first helps build momentum, deepens the parties' commitment to the process, and enables the parties to become familiar with each other before discussing the tough issues. In some instances, however, you may want to begin with a more difficult issue. If you cannot reach tentative agreement on the difficult issue(s), then you will not have wasted time on the smaller issues. It is also true that once the most difficult issue is resolved, smaller issues often fall into place more easily. How should I respond if the other side seeks to change something after a deal has been reached? Chances are that whenever a deal is reached, one or both of the parties become cursed with the thought that they could have gotten more. If the other side seeks to change one item, express some surprise or disappointment. Explain that if they must make a change, then they must understand that you will want to open up other issues as well. You agreed to a total package and one change affects that package. If they agree to renegotiate other issues, then they are probably sincere, and you should proceed with the renegotiation. If they reconsider and withdraw the request for change, then they were just testing you. If they insist that they must have this change and no others, you can express dismay, but you must decide whether the adjusted deal has sufficient value for you to agree. What should I do when the negotiator on the other side has an outburst?
You need your counterpart to be rational and in control of his emotions. Don't respond in kind; instead, try to help him regain control.
Sit quietly. After he has stopped shouting, ask if there is anything you have done to make him angry. Listen, calmly and actively. Resume negotiations with a calm voice. If the other party's outburst persists, get up and turn to leave the room. As you get to the door, calmly explain that you understand that something has made him angry, but you can't continue to negotiate if such an outburst might occur again. Suggest that he calm down. You might also say that you need time to calm down after hearing his outburst. Suggest that he call you in a day or two if he wants to continue the negotiation.
If his shouting was intended to get you upset, don't reward that strategy. Think seriously about walking away from the deal. Dealing with this person in the future may not be worth the headache. Depending on the situation, you might contact someone else in the company to suggest that another negotiator be assigned to the deal. Is it essential to negotiate face-to-face? If the negotiation is over a simple issue, where personal communication is not likely to matter, face-to-face negotiations are not necessary. If the deal is more complicated or if you sense the other side may be tempted to lie, it is better to negotiate face-to-face. Some research indicates people are less likely to lie in person, perhaps because they fear that the other side will detect it. When you are in a face-to-face negotiation, you're likely to pick up the nonverbal cues that indicate something is more important than the other side is telling you. On the phone, you may be able to interpret tone of voice; however, some recent research indicates that people are more likely to bluff in this situation. E-mail or other written messages occasionally result in disputes and impasses. The person who receives a written message may interpret a comment negatively when the sender did not intend it that way, and may respond to the original sender in kind. How should I react when the other side opens with a very unreasonable number? Don't counter with an equally unreasonable number because that will just make the negotiation that much more difficult. Instead, clearly state that the offer is entirely out of the range you had imagined. Then, use one of these strategies:
Ask questions that make the other negotiator justify the offer. For example, ask: "How did you arrive at that number?" "What is it based on?" "How can I justify this number to my company?" Change the subject by asking about a specific issue. Explain your perspective on the deal and its value. After some discussion, suggest a number you can justify as reasonable, and that is in the favorable end of your range or close to their reservation price, whichever is better. Do not refer to their initial number or proposal.
Key Terms BATNA. The acronym for "best alternative to a negotiated agreement." Knowing your BATNA means knowing the options of what you will do or what will happen if you do not reach agreement in the negotiation at hand. For example, the BATNA for a consultant negotiating with a potential client about a month-long
assignment might be to spend three weeks developing marketing materials for a different client.
Bluffing. When one party in a negotiation indicates that it may be willing to do or accept something that it actually has no intention of following through on. For example, a tenant may bluff that he will not renew his lease unless certain improvements are made to his office space. Die-hard bargainers. People for whom every negotiation is a battle. Distributive negotiation/zero-sum negotiation. One of two types of negotiation, this type occurs when the parties compete over the distribution of the benefits of an agreement. The sale of a house, for example, involves two parties who want the best for themselves at the expense of the other. Framing. How one chooses to describe a situation. It orients negotiating parties and encourages them to examine the issues within a defined perspective. How one side frames a solution can determine how others decide to behave. Integrative negotiation/win-win negotiation. One of two types of negotiation, this type occurs when the parties cooperate to achieve maximum mutual benefit in an agreement. Long-term partnerships and collaborations between colleagues are often characterized by integrative negotiation. Interests. The goals underlying a party's negotiation position. Irrational escalation. The continuation of a selected course of action beyond the point where it continues to make sense. Multiparty negotiations. Negotiations that involve more than two parties. Such negotiations can differ significantly from two-party negotiations, especially when coalitionsalliances among parties that wield less power separately than they do togetherform among the parties. Multiphase transactions. Negotiations that are implemented in phases, or that have the prospect of subsequent involvement in the future. The context of the negotiations allows parties to negotiate based on follow-through and continuing communication. Natural coalition. A group of allies who share a broad range of common interests. Negotiator's dilemma. The tension caused by the negotiator's attempt to balance competitive strategiestrying to discern when to compete where interests conflict, and when to create value by exchanging the information that leads to mutually advantageous options. Partisan perception. The psychological phenomenon that causes people to perceive truth with a built-in bias in their own favor, or toward their own point of view. For example, both teams in a football game may perceive that the referee was unfair to their side. Positions. What the parties in a negotiation are asking forin other words, their demands.
Reservation price/walk-away. The least favorable point at which a party would accept a negotiated deal. The reservation price is derived from, but is not usually the same thing as a BATNA. Saboteurs. Internal or external stakeholders who have the power and/or intention of blocking a deal. Shared interests. Part of an integrative, or win-win, strategy, this tactic involves appealing to interests or goals that are shared by both parties in a negotiation. Single-issue coalition. A group whose members may differ on other issues, but who nevertheless unite (though often for different reasons) to support or block a certain particular issue. Strategy. A planned sequence of how one is going to approach a negotiation, including what the negotiator will offer and ask for (give and get). Tactics. The specific methods for implementing a strategy. Trade off. To substitute or bargain one issue for another; this tactic is often used in sales negotiations. Value creation through trades. The trading of goods or services that have only modest value to their holders, but exceptional value to the other party. ZOPA. The acronym for the "zone of possible agreement." This is the area in which a potential deal can take place. Each party's reservation price defines one of the boundaries of the ZOPA. The ZOPA itself exists, if at all, in the overlap between the parties' reservation prices.
What Are Difficult Interactions? You're arguing with a peer about why he consistently shoots down your ideas. Two of your employees routinely attack each other verbally during meetings. Your boss often makes sarcastic remarks to you and other managers. A customer keeps making unreasonable demands on your team. These scenarios constitute difficult interactions. If you don't deal with them, they may escalate to highly undesirable outcomesstrained relationships, wasted time, and declining performance. Overcoming barriers to action You might avoid dealing with difficult interactions because certain barriers get in the way. The table below shows examples of these barriers and explains how to remove them so that you can more effectively manage difficult interactions. Barrier Fear of interpersonal conflict Ways to Remove Acknowledge that although conflict can be uncomfortable, it's a fact of life. Focus on the positive outcomes of addressing conflict.
Failure to recognize that you have Notice the quality of your workplace relationships. Ask a problem with another person in which relationships seem tense, frustrating, or unproductive. the workplace Consider acknowledging that these relationships are hampered by difficult interactions.
The belief that a difficult interaction is the fault of others The conviction that other people won't change even if you try to improve the situation Desire to accept the status quo because you're not prepared to manage the outcome of the situation The belief that the problem will resolve itself
Acknowledge your role in the difficulty. Identify what you can do to improve the situation. Remind yourself that you're not trying to change another personrather, you want to alter the way the two of you interact. You can do that by changing your own behavior. Evaluate whether the risks of the difficult interaction are worth the benefits of an improved situation. If they are, map out a plan and carry it out. Remind yourself that most problems don't resolve themselves.
Despite the challenges inherent in dealing with difficult interactions, it's essential to recognize situations that need addressingand to manage them promptly and effectively. If you don't, difficult interactions may escalate to a level that destroys workplace relationships and damages performance in your team or unit. The benefits of managing difficult interactions Though managing difficult interactions is challenging, the rewards are well worth the effort. When you learn how to deal with these situations:
Difficult conversations become easier to handle You prevent these situations from escalating into crises You engage in more productive conversations You feel greater freedom to take action in tough situations, as well as a stronger sense of self-respect You strengthen your workplace relationships
Improvement is possible Managing difficult interactions requires hard work and practice. But you can master this important managerial responsibility. To do so, you need to:
Understand the role of differences in difficult interactions Decide which difficult interactions require intervention and which can be let go Identify the facts in a tough situation Uncover the emotions raised by the situation Clarify concerns about self-image that a difficult interaction can raise Explore options for solving the problem, and implement the best solution
As a manager, you also need to know how to address difficult interactions among your direct reports. See also Steps for Improving Your Conflict-Management Style, Steps for Managing a Difficult Interaction and the Online Article: "How to Handle Difficult Behaviors." The remaining Core Concepts explore these themes in detail and provide valuable guidelines for skillfully handling uncomfortable exchanges in the workplace. What Causes Difficult Interactions? Difficult interactions in the workplace can have a variety of causesbut all of the causes involve differences between people. Below are examples. Differences in positions and interests Often, difficult interactions arise when two people have different positions (stances) and interests (desires) at stake concerning a particular issue. Consider the following example, in which the issue at hand involves vacation time: You oversee several teams, each of which has a leader. Randall, a team leader who's relatively new to the company, comes to you and complains about having less vacation time than the other team leaders. On this issue of vacation time, you and Randall have different positions and interests, as shown in the table below. Randall's Position (stance) Interest (desire) "I should receive the same vacation as the other team leaders." "I want to be treated fairly." Yours "You can have the same vacation when you have been here longer." "I need you to be around to manage this large software implementation."
When two people go head to head over different positions or interests, tension and conflict can intensify. The more you can focus a difficult conversation on interests, the more likely it is that you can find a creative solution that at least partially satisfies both people's interests. In this case, for instance, you could propose to Randall that he take one more week of vacation but that he use the time as a series of long weekends rather than one contiguous week. That way, he knows he's being treated fairly, and you ensure that he's not away from the project for too long a stretch of time. Differences in perceptions, motivations, and style In addition to differences in positions and interests on a particular issue, other kinds of differences can spawn difficult interactions. The table below provides examples. Difference Perceptions about what's critical Motivations and intentions Example You view management's directives as more important than a team member does. You are motivated by quality, while a colleague is motivated by personal achievement.
You like to put all issues on the table at once, but your supervisor prefers to grapple with problems one at a time.
Communication style You prefer to be updated about problems through written communication, while an employee finds it easier to update you by dropping by for an informal conversation. Differences in life experiences and cultural background Differences in two people's cultural background, educational and professional experiences, gender, age, and race can also create misunderstandings and tensions in the workplace. The totality of each person's life experiences influences his or her assumptions about how the world should work and what can reasonably be expected from others. When two individuals come from vastly different backgrounds and experiences, conflicts can arise over just about any situation in the workplace. Consider the following example: Stella is a 61-year-old manager in charge of a Web site development project. As the project unfolds, she begins to get a vague sense that some of her team members don't give enough consideration to her suggestions for managing the project. One day, she overhears one younger team member say to another, "You can't expect a near-retiree to really understand the Web." In this case, age differences may have caused the younger team members to assume that, because of her age, Stella is incapable of managing a Web project effectively; thus they don't fully accept her leadership or value the knowledge she brings to the project. Unless she addresses this difficult situation, Stella will likely have problems leading her project team effectively. Difficult interactions among your employees A difficult interaction may stem from more than one interpersonal difference. It also may arise between any two individualssupervisor and direct report, two peers, or several members of a department or team. When such situations crop up between two of your direct reportsfor example, several team members argue repeatedly over who's responsible for what tasks, or one employee accuses another of not being committed to a projectyou need to take action quickly. Otherwise, your team's productivity may suffer. Consider the most difficult interaction you're experiencing in your current role. What differences might be involved? How would you describe your position and interests regarding the issue at hand? See also Worksheet for Finding the Source of the Difficulty. To Manage a Difficult Interactionor Let It Go? Managing difficult interactions takes time, patience, and energy. Thus, before you plunge into trying to address a tough situation with someone, it's useful to carefully consider several factors. Your primary aim is to invest your time and energy wiselyin situations that have the best chance of being improved. Ask whether the real conflict starts with you
Sometimes difficult interactions with another person stem more from what's going on inside you than what's going on between you and the other person. In such instances, a discussion about the interaction may not yield any benefits. For example, suppose you keep taking on several of your direct reports' problems rather than helping them learn how to solve them on their own. You find yourself working more and more overtime, and your real managerial work stacks up. You begin experiencing stress-related problems and feeling resentful toward these employees. Are these difficult interactions that would benefit from a frank discussion? Perhaps notif the reason you keep taking on direct reports' problems is that you fear being seen as incompetent or uncaring if you hand problems back to their rightful owners. Instead of a lengthy, tense, and time-consuming discussion with your employees, you could instead honestly examine the motives behind your urge to solve employees' problemsand remind yourself of the importance of delegating as a managerial skill. In this case, changing your own attitudes and behaviors regarding delegating would likely improve your relationships with your employees far more than talking about the situation would. And it would take less time and energy. Examine your motives With some difficult interactions, you may feel tempted to simply let loose with your emotions. "After all," you might think to yourself, "at least I'm doing something to deal with the situation." But before you vent, ask yourself whether you're really just seeking short-term emotional relief instead of doing what's best for the long run. Dumping all your negative feelings on someone who's irritated you for far too many months may get you some temporary relief and even prompt the person to change his or her ways . . . for a while. But you may have done so much damage in the process of venting that the relationship falls apart in the long run. Identify important relationships It's always good to strive for positive working relationships. But your workplace relationships differ in importance. In deciding whether to deal with a difficult interaction, consider how important your relationship with that person is. Also consider whether the relationship is long term or short term and how high the stakes are. For example:
An important relationship: If you're having difficulties with your supervisor's assistant because of differing work styles, and you need to interact with him daily on critical matters for a long time to come, that relationship has high priority. You will probably want to find ways to deal with him. A not-so-important relationship: If you have a problematic relationship with a colleague who's a member of a short-term, one-time project you're working on, you may decide not to invest the time and energy needed to improve the relationship. After all, once the project is over, you likely won't be working closely with that person again on such a high-stakes effort.
Consider the potential for improvement
Suppose you're having prickly interactions with someone who is profoundly troubled emotionally or has a long history of destructive relationships with many people across a wide range of situations. For example:
Your new supervisor has a hair-trigger temper, and you've learned that all of your predecessors have left the company within three months of starting their jobs. An employee has a cruel sense of humor and repeatedly puts others down, no matter how often you try moving him to different teams. A colleague has let intractable personal problems destroy her performance on the job (including collaboration with peers on cross-functional projects) and has shown no willingness to get help.
In these cases, you may have little hope of improving the relationship in question. Instead, you will need to take a different course of action, such as:
Arranging to report to someone else in the organization who isn't abusive, or leaving the company if you must report to an incurably abusive boss. If you don't want to leave your job, recognize that the situation may be beyond your ability or responsibility to address by yourself. Consider getting help from human resources or other professionals in your company who are charged with resolving such situations. Formally disciplining an employee who cannot learn to be respectful of others, and letting him go if disciplinary action doesn't lead to improvement. If you select this course, ensure that you follow company policies regarding documenting an employee's poor performance or behavior and letting an employee go. See also the Harvard ManageMentor topic Dismissing an Employee. Finding ways to avoid working on projects with a troubled colleague whom you can't count on to carry out her team responsibilities. If a new team is being assembled to handle a particular project, and the colleague is a member, consider whether you need to be on the team. If your participation isn't crucial, avoid joining.
Such actions require the ability to let go of the problematic situation and the feelings associated with it, and to accept that the relationship itself can't be improved. Whatever criteria you use for deciding whether to confront someone about a difficult interaction, remember that you can't force someone to change his or her attitudes or behaviors. All you can do is try to improve the relationship by changing the way you behave and the way you and the other person interact. See also Tips for Letting Go of a Difficult Interaction and Worksheet for Deciding Whether to Deal with a Difficult Interaction. For difficult interactions that you've decided are worth tackling, you'll need to master techniques for simultaneously getting at the facts behind the situation, understanding the emotions involved,
and dealing with concerns about self-image that often accompany such situations. The next three Core Concepts go into more detail about these techniques. Assessing the Facts In any difficult interaction, the two people involved see the facts of the situation from unique angles. To begin to resolve a particular difficult interaction, you need to explore these facts through frank discussion. Two sides to every story You're probably familiar with the maxim that says that there are two sides to every story. The same is true for difficult interactions: Each person involved views the situation based on a specific set of facts that are important for him or her. To lay the groundwork for resolving a problem, each person needs to understand which facts are influencing the other person's perspective. That takes communication. The following guidelines can help. See also Steps for Using Active Listening and Tips for Effective Listening. Share your impressions of what's going on Suppose that Sharon, one of your direct reports, keeps submitting project reports late even though you've repeatedly complained about it and insisted that she complete the reports on time. But the more you complain and insist, the more annoyed Sharon gets. To get at the facts, each of you needs to explain your side of the story, including the situation's impact on you: You: When you send in reports late, I end up doing a lot of extra work to compensate. I have to spend two hours filling out paperwork myself. I also have to explain to the other team members that the information they need will be coming late. That throws the whole project behind schedule. <These are the facts as perceived by you.> Sharon: I've been really stressed out lately, because I've had a bunch of new prototypes to evaluate, and they've all had problems. I couldn't seem to get to the project reports. When you continually complain about the late reports, I get the impression that you don't care about how well the prototypes are handled. <These facts are how Sharon perceives the situation.> Explain where your impressions come from Think about what may have caused you to see the situation as you do. Consider information you've weighed, previous experiences you've had, and assumptions about what's important. Share this information with the other person, ask and him or her to do the same. Here's an example: You: The last time I led a project of this complexity, we had real problems during implementation after we stopped circulating weekly updates to everyone. <sharing previous experiences> This worries me, because I recently read an article saying that poor team communication is often the cause behind failed projects. <sharing information> In my view, we don't stand a chance of breaking into the new market we've identified unless we can successfully carry out our projects. <sharing assumptions about what's important>
Sharon: The latest speech by our CEO made me realize that we've got to accelerate the product prototyping process. <sharing information and assumptions about what's important> I've learned from last year's projects that when you have to make a choice between filling out paperwork and getting the actual work done, it's better to focus on the work. The paperwork can always be done later. <sharing previous experiences> By sharing the information, experiences, and assumptions behind your view of the difficult situation, you and the other person begin understanding each otheressential to resolving problems. Explore your intentions With the other person, clarify what your intentions have been during the difficult exchanges you've had together. For instance: You: I've been trying to make sure that everyone on the project team gets the information they need to handle the tasks they're accountable for, on time. That's the only way we can keep the overall project on schedule. Sharon: I figured that by focusing on accelerating the prototyping process, we could prevent bottlenecking in the early stages of the product-development cycle. If the process gets held up in the beginning of the cycle, the rest of the cycle is going to be in trouble, tooand the whole thing will end up delayed. When you compare intentions, you may (as in this case) discover that you both have similar aims and priorities. At the very least, you may realize that each of you has perfectly admirable intentions, even if they differ. In either case, you each will likely conclude that the other person isn't deliberately trying to make life difficult! Acknowledge your contributions to the problem Most difficult interactions aren't one person's fault; both parties have played some part in the problem. To create a sense of ownership for resolving the issue, honestly acknowledge what you've done to contribute to the problem. Ask the other person to do the same. For example: You: I think that by constantly complaining about late reports, I gave you the impression that I didn't care about the prototyping process. Sharon: I can see that by letting the project updates slip, I caused you to question whether the project overall would stay on schedule. In the process of uncovering the facts, you'll want to also pay attention to the emotions behind the difficult situation and to the concerns about self-image that arise during your attempts to resolve the situation. See also Perceptions and Behavior Assessment. Identifying the Emotions Difficult interactions trigger powerful emotions in the people involved. Yet those feelings may differ dramatically from person to personeven in the same situation. In dealing with a series of difficult exchanges with someone, you and the other person need to identify and express the emotions you're experiencing.
The price of suppressing emotions If feelings are ignored or suppressed during a difficult conversation, they can come out in other wayssuch as body posture, facial expressions, and long pauses. They can also make it difficult for the participants to listen to one another. If such emotions become extremely intense, the people involved may simply avoid each other, because the unresolved feelings seem so threatening. But expressing your emotions involves more than just venting. How to identify and productively share emotions during a tough situation? The following steps can help. 1. Identify your emotions. Sometimes identifying the emotions you're experiencing because of a difficult interaction can be difficult. For one thing, you may have trouble putting labels on your emotions. If so, consider the following terms for negative feelingsand work to develop your "feelings vocabulary": Impatience Annoyance Rage Sadness Defensiveness Betrayal Confusion Embarrassment Frustration Jealousy Fear Shame Derision Hurt Self-doubt Self-consciousness Anger Disappointment Anxiety Worry Skepticism Bewilderment Loneliness Nervousness
You may also have difficulty identifying your emotions if you tend to "hide" them in other comments during a prickly discussion with someone else. The table below shows examples. If you said . . . You may be . . . And you may be feeling . . .
"The solution is for you to get Rushing to solve the problem Fear that you won't get funding these tasks done within for a subsequent project budget." "You're unbelievably apathetic." "You should have supported my proposal at the meeting." "Why did you ignore my memo about the new strategy?" Characterizing the other person Disappointment that the other person seems uncommitted to the work
Making judgments about how Betrayed by a colleague who you a peer is supposed to behave thought backed your ideas Making an attribution about someone else's intent Self-doubt about your leadership abilities
By expanding your feelings vocabulary and detecting hidden emotions, you can more easily identify the feelings you're experiencing in a difficult interaction. 2. Rethink destructive emotions.
Just because you feel an emotion doesn't mean you can't change it. With some careful thought, you can minimize or even dissolve destructive feelings. Consider these techniques:
Explore the other person's intentions and facts. If you discover that your employee had good intentions and legitimate reasons when he decided not to show up at a weekly meeting, your annoyance may fade away. Examine your contributions to the problem. If you realize that you've advised employees to focus more on completing a project than filling out paperwork, your frustration over late reports may lose its edge. Ask what assumptions are causing your feelings. If you find you've mistakenly assumed that a colleague values product quality as much as you do, you may feel less anger over her tendency to take quality-control shortcuts.
When emotions prove destructively intense, consider easing them by examining and changing your thinking. You'll be better able to deal with the difficult interaction at hand. See also Tips for Managing Anger. 3. Express your emotions. After rethinking destructive emotions, describe the feelings you're experiencing as a result of the difficult situation. Your goal is to express your complete range of emotionswithout judging or blaming the other person. Here's an example: "I'm not sure this makes sense, but when you ignored my memo, I felt doubts about my ability to lead this team. Then I started feeling worried that the project would fail. I found myself getting frustrated over not being able to move the work forward." 4. Invite the other person to identify emotions. You can help the other person identify and describe his or her emotions as well. For example:
Explore hints. "You mentioned an interest in being promoted. I wonder if you're angry because I got the project and you didn't." Ask questions. "What else might be bothering you about this situation?" Offer observations. "You're not looking me in the eye. Are you feeling embarrassed about how the presentation went?"
See also Tips for Dealing with Extra-Frustrating Behaviors and Discussing Difficult Interactions Assessment. Expressing feelings can help you deal with difficult interactions. But you also need to explore personal concerns about what's at stake during tough exchanges in the workplace. See the next Core Concept for more information on this. Dealing with Threats to Your Self-Image
While discussing difficult interactions with another person, you may begin feeling that your perceptions about yourself are called into question. For example, suppose a direct report says, "I didn't attend the meeting because I didn't think you valued my ideas." In response, you wonder to yourself, "Maybe I'm not a competent manager after all." For many people, the sense that their self-image is being challenged creates intense emotions. It's vital to address feelings about self-imagein yourself and the other personduring tough conversations. Why? These emotions can become overwhelmingmaking it virtually impossible to converse productively about any subject. Where self-image comes from Your self-image comes from many different assumptions that you've made about yourself. Here are just a few examples:
"I'm an effective manager." "I'm a good person." "I care about my employees." "I'm committed to my company's success." "I'm loyal."
Not surprisingly, it's probably very important to you to continue seeing yourself in these terms. After all, few people like to view themselves in a negative lightas incompetent, uncaring, or disloyal. Why self-image can be threatened Despite the desire to think of themselves in positive terms, many people view their self-image from an "either/or" mindset: "I'm either loyal or disloyal," "I'm either caring or uncaring," and so forth. The problem with this mindset is that it makes it impossible for people to tolerate criticism and negative feedback from others. For instance, if a colleague says, "I was really disappointed when you didn't support my proposal," you might conclude, "I can't possibly be a loyal person if I don't support my peer's ideas." If deciding that you're disloyal feels intolerable, you may practice denial insteadand shoot back with something like, "I did support your proposal; I don't know why you feel that way." Other reactions to self-image challenges include:
Burying the feelings and resorting to generalizations, abstractions, and a detached manner: "Let's calm down and establish precise standard operating procedures here." Striking back at the other person defensively: "Are you calling me a liar?!" Refusing to face the disagreement directly or take a stand: "Oh, who knows what's going on here . . . ? Anyway, did you see Tom's article in the newsletter yesterday?"
None of these reactions enables a person to listen to negative feedback and make the changes needed to improve the way he or she interacts with others. Handling threats to your self-image Several strategies can help you effectively handle challenges to your self-identity:
Understand your self-image. List all the assumptions that influence your self-image. Ask yourself which of these assumptions evoke the strongest feelings. These are the assumptions that will most likely trigger a feeling of threat to your self-image if they're called into question during a difficult conversation. By anticipating that you might experience anxiety or defensiveness over these elements of your self-image, you may be better able to control those feelings if they do arise. Adopt a "both/and" mindset. Instead of assuming that you can be either competent or incompetent, remind yourself that youand everyone elseare much more complex than that. Each person is a mix of positive and negative qualities, and no one is always anything. You're likely competent at some things and not so skilled at others. It's appropriate to feel good about many aspects of yourself and ambivalent about many others. Accept imperfection. Acknowledge that everyone makes mistakes at times. Everyone also has complicated motivations. For instance, perhaps you genuinely wanted to expedite a project by taking a delegated task back from an employee who couldn't seem to handle it. But deep down, you also knew that this action would let you communicate your frustrationwithout having to experience an uncomfortable discussion. So, you had admirable and not-so-admirable motives.
Helping others with self-image threats Just as you need to deal with perceived threats to your self-image during a difficult exchange, so does the other person. You can help him or her manage anxiety about self-image by raising the issue explicitly. For example:
Admit your own self-image concerns: "I tend to be sensitive to criticisms about my leadership style. But I know I need your feedback. So bear with me if I seem to be getting a bit defensive." By openly acknowledging your own anxieties about self-image, you may make it easier for the other person to do the same. Ask questions about self-image: "I'm sensing that this situation is about whether you're committed to this project. Is that how you're seeing it, too?" View the other person as human, too: Remind yourself that he or she makes mistakes and has complex motivations. Practice both/and thinking about the other personfor example, acknowledge in your own mind that he or she is neither completely competent nor utterly incompetent, neither totally caring about the project nor completely uncaring, and so forth.
By acknowledging concerns about self-image and helping others deal with them, you can more easily discuss unproductive behaviorsand change them to improve the quality of your interactions. See also Tips for Dissipating Tension During a Difficult Conversation. Solving the Problem You've had some preliminary conversations with someone about the difficult interactions plaguing your working relationship. And you've agreed that you want to improve things. Now it's time to conduct a conversation specifically geared to solving the problem. There are many ways to have this conversation. The approaches below will help you craft an enduring solutionrather than a one-time, temporary fix. Continue framing the problem productively As you discuss the difficulties between you, keep framing the problem in productive ways. The following table contrasts effective and ineffective framing and shows examples. Framing Principal Describe your difficulties as differences between you, not character flaws. Focus on perceptions, not presumed truths. What to Say "Joan, it seems you've been emphasizing the importance of staying within budget on this project. I've been assuming that meeting the interim deadlines is our top priority." "Larry, to my mind, achieving the quality levels we've established means producing error-free reports." "Sarah, I've played my own part in this problemby neglecting to let you know my priorities." What Not to Say "Joan, you don't seem to care about keeping this project on schedule. You keep missing the interim deadlines we've established." "Larry, we've got to aim for zero mistakes in the reports we're producing. That's what quality is all about." "Sarah, you're the one who didn't understand the importance of formatting the proposal in the right way."
Emphasize contributions, not blame.
Communicate feelings, "Peter, I feel frustrated when you "Peter, you've really made me not accusations. don't do what you said you would do angry; you can't be relied on for the project team." follow through with commitments." Keep sharing and listening As you converse, continue sharing your viewpoint and listening to understand the other person's perspective. Apply these practices:
Sharing: Cite the experiences, motivations, and emotions that are influencing your perceptions of the problem. Reaffirm your commitment to improving the relationship. Make it clear that you view the other person as a partner in the process of addressing the difficulties between you.
Listening: Ask questions to probe for more information from the other person about his or her experiences, motivations, emotions, and perceptions. Use paraphrasing to test your understanding of what you're hearing. Acknowledge the feelings behind any accusations or criticisms you hear.
Your goal in sharing and listening is to piece together a picture of how the two of you got into the difficult situation. See also Steps for Using Active Listening and Tips for Effective Listening. Develop action plans for change To craft an effective plan for change, explore potential solutions that satisfy each side's differing concerns and interests. Here's how Matt, a manager, resolved a difficulty with Brenda, a direct report: Click to hear Matt's and Brenda's conversation.
See also Worksheet for Creating a Plan for Change. Ensure successful implementation of the plan As with all action plans, you need to clarify how you'll carry out your plan for managing a difficult situation with another person. That way, you can help ensure that the solution you've developed resolves the problem you've identified. Keep these principles in mind as you discuss ways to implement the plan:
Determine how you'll measure success. In Matt's and Brenda's case, they might decide to measure progress by comparing the number of focus groups held for the current demo against the number held for previous demosto ensure that fewer focus groups are held. They might also check whether the number of reviews is in fact cut down to three, as they agreed. And they might determine how to assess demo qualityfor example, by the number of questions that customers have after using a demo. Decide how you'll communicate going forward. Will you meet once a week to discuss how things are going and make necessary changes to the action plan? Will you check with each daily by phone or email? How will you handle any tension that arises during these discussions? Will you establish ground rules, such as "No blaming or character judgments allowed"?
Perhaps one of the most challenging situations you might find yourself in as a manager involves difficult interactions between two of your employees. The next Core Concept provides guidelines for managing these situations. Managing Difficult Interactions Among Employees Kevin and Mark, two members of the team you're leading, can't seem to get through a meeting without shooting down one another's ideas. John, a direct report you've asked to lead a project team, is at odds with Martha, another team leader, over how they can best utilize shared
resources. Tama, a product manager in your group, keeps arguing with Lisa, a sales representative, about who should be responsible for resolving client support issues. When conflicts like these arise among your employees, you may need to play an active role in helping the parties involved resolve disputes. Even better, you can coach your direct reports so that they learn how to manage difficult interactions themselves. Deciding whether to intervene As with difficult interactions in your own workplace relationships, you need to decide when to intervene in a conflict between your employees. Many experts suggest that if a dispute doesn't interfere with an employee's performance, does not disrupt the work environment, and doesn't violate company policy, then "benign neglect" may be your best approach. Not intervening gives your direct reports an opportunity to work out their conflicts and meld into a high-performing unit, as well as strengthen their problem-solving skills. You should intervene when conflicts disrupt the work environment or hamper productivity. Intervention is also crucial when:
A disagreement erupts between an assertive employee and a timid person, or the two individuals are of unequal rank. An argument between two direct reports has broadened to encompass additional staff members. The dispute has escalated into a personal vendetta. One or both of those involved asks for your assistance.
Of course, if the conflict involves illegal conduct, such as sexual harassment or civil rights violations, it goes far beyond the definition of difficult interactions. In such cases, you need to consult the appropriate resources (typically your company's HR or legal department) to handle the situation. See also the Online Article: "Don't Just Do SomethingSit There." Facilitating resolution When you've identified an inter-employee conflict that merits your intervention, consider using the following process to facilitate resolution:
1. Help the individuals involved define the problem in specific, observable terms.
Encourage them to describe the accompanying emotions, motivations, and viewpoints.
2. Ensure that each person listens carefully to the other. Model paraphrasing and other
active-listening skills to demonstrate how this is done.
3. Help the disputants identify areas of agreement. For example, perhaps both people do
have a project's best interests at heart, but they have different views about how best to carry out the work.
4. Encourage the disputants to brainstorm alternative solutions. Evaluate how well the
proposed solutions satisfy their concerns and issues.
5. Suggest that the two create a problem-resolution plan. Help them to create and get started
with the plan if necessary.
6. Schedule future meetings during which the individuals involved will discuss, under your
guidance, how things are going and whether the solution is working. Coaching employees to manage difficult interactions To teach your direct reports to handle difficult interactions themselves, consider implementing these coaching strategies:
Role-play conflict-resolution situations with one or more employees. Ask employees for their opinions about what went well, what didn't go well, and how they might handle the next practice scenario better. Establish goals for practicing and strengthening conflict-resolution skills. For example, suggest that an employee identify a colleague with whom he or she has a fairly minor disagreement. The employee could practice conflict-management skillssuch as framing the problem in terms of differences, expressing emotions instead of blaming, and so forth with this "safe" person. He or she could then gradually practice with more difficult situations. Define ways to measure progress toward goals. For instance, will your direct report have achieved the goal if he or she conducts three conversations with a colleague that lead to improvements in the relationship? Provide needed resources, such as access to conflict-resolution courses or workshops. Suggest that the employee talk about conflict resolution with individuals whom you know to be particularly skilled.
While coaching, keep in mind that your employees will need time to fully grasp the art of managing difficult interactions. They'll also need frequent opportunities to hone their skills. Some individuals may not even initially be aware that they lack the ability to skillfully handle conflict. Others may know they need to strengthen these skills but don't know how to do so. Still others may understand the techniques behind managing difficult interactions but need to stop and think before applying them. All of these individuals could benefit from your guidance. With enough coaching, practice, and feedback, your direct reports should eventually be able to manage their own conflicts effectively. Consider the difficult interactions currently cropping up among your employees. Which ones should you intervene in? Which ones should be resolved by the people involved? How might you coach your direct reports so that they learn how to manage difficult interactions themselves? See also Steps for Resolving Conflicts Between Employees and Worksheet for Resolving a Conflict Between Employees.
See also the Harvard ManageMentor topics Coaching and Giving and Receiving Feedback.
The Manager's Role Is your group having trouble generating new business ideas? Is the group thinking too much along traditional lines, or having difficulty thinking very far down the road? Is your group reluctant to take risks? What can you do as a manager? Are there steps you can take to change such patterns of behavior? Here's the good news: the answer to the last question is yes. Essentially, all the dilemmas just described trace back to a problem in the creative functioning of the group. Contrary to what many people believe, group creativity doesn't just happenit can be planned for, nurtured, and enhanced. As a manager, you are the designer of your group. Even though you probably didn't have the opportunity to handpick the members of the team you supervise, you can shape and mold their interaction. The way you manage the various personalities can help unleash your team's creative potential. Make no mistake about it, this can be very demanding work. You start by developing a deep appreciation for the different thinking styles of each member of your team. Then you consciously try to have those differing approaches rub against each othermaking sure that the "abrasion" improves rather than undermines the quality of the group's work. There are other steps you can take as well. By paying close attention to group norms, you can foster a climate in which people feel good about their work, in which they are motivated to seek out problems and solve them. You can alter the physical workspace in ways that make for more robust, stimulating communication. And you can lead your group through structured thinking exercises that will help them make connections they might not have made otherwise.
See also the Online Article: "Five Questions About How Leaders Influence Creativity" and Creativity Checklist.
What Is Creativity and Innovation? Just what are creativity and innovation? You know it when you see it, right? But a deeper understanding of what creativity isand is notcan help you enhance the creativity of any group you lead. Let's start with a couple of definitions, and then move on to correct the most common misconceptions people have about creativity. Creativity is a process of developing and expressing novel ideas that are likely to be useful. Innovation is the embodiment, combination, and/or synthesis of knowledge in original, relevant, valued new products, processes, or services. Embedded in these definitions are three key insights:
1. Creativity is not so much a talent as it is a goal-oriented process. Making your group
more innovative is not a matter of importing a few people who have creative character traits, and then relying on these folks for all your breakthrough ideas. Rather, it's a matter of designing a collaborative approach that maximizes everyone's distinctive gifts,
experience, and expertise. Moreover, the purpose or goal of the creative process is the solving of a particular problem or the satisfying of a specific need.
2. Creativity involves convergent as well as divergent thinking. The creative process
begins with divergent thinkinga breaking away from familiar or established ways of seeing and doing that produces novel ideas. Convergent thinking occurs in the later stages of the process. As the original ideas generated by the divergent thinking are communicated to others, they are evaluated to determine which ideas are genuinely novel and worth pursuing. The outcome of this convergent thinking is the choice of an option that has the potential for solving the problem that initiated the creative process.
3. An innovation is the end result of the creative process. Again, creativity is a process
you employ to improve your problem solving. So you're not done until your creative efforts have produced a product, service, or process that answers the original need or solves the problem you identified at the outset. See also Form for Setting a Target for Creative Change. Key Misconceptions There's actually quite a bit of research on creativity that's been done over the years. In the course of all this experimentation and exploration, it's become clear that creativity is a widely misunderstood subject. Do you have any of the following misconceptions about creativity? Doing away with them extends your managerial arenathe range of possible actions you can take to maximize your group's creative potential. Misconception #1: The smarter you are, the more creative you are. Wrong: intelligence correlates with creativity only up to a point. Once you have enough intelligence to do your job, the relationship no longer holds. That is, above a fairly modest thresholdan IQ of about 120 there is no correlation between intelligence and creativity. Misconception #2: The young are more creative than the old. Age is not a clear predictor of creative potential. Research shows that it usually takes seven to ten years to build up deep expertise in a given fieldthe kind of expertise that enables you to perceive patterns of order or meaning that are invisible to the novice. Thus, in the business world, the necessary creativity can be found in an adult of any age. At the same time, however, expertise can inhibit creativity: experts sometimes find it difficult to see or think outside established patterns. Misconception #3: Creativity is reserved for the fewthe flamboyant, high rollers. The willingness to take calculated risks and the ability to think in untraditional ways do play a role in creativity. But that doesn't mean you have to be a bungee jumper in order to be creative. It doesn't mean that you have to be markedly different from everyone else. Nor does it mean that creativity is restricted to high-impact, high-risk endeavors. Moreover, there are steps managers can take to help anyone be a more innovative worker. On rare occasions, those innovations will be visionary leaps forward that revolutionize an industry. But more often they will be small improvements that advance the organizational cause.
See also Steps for Enhancing Your Own Creative Potential. Misconception #4: The creative act is essentially solitary. In fact, a high percentage of the world's most important inventions resulted not from the work of one lone genius, but from the collaboration of a group of people with complementary skills. Individuals and groups who make important discoveries pass through a number of stages. The stage of illumination, when a flash of insight occurs, is the next-to-last stage. Although this stage tends to get all the press, most innovations come about only after much toil, many dead ends, and more than a few apparent breakthroughs that don't pan out. Misconception #5: You can't manage creativity. Granted, creativity is rather like a genie that can't be bottled: you can never know in advance who will be involved in a creative act, what that act will be, or precisely when or how it will occur. Nevertheless, as a manager, you can create the conditions that make creativity much more likely to occur. That is, you can increase the probability of innovation. So what's involved in creating these conditions?
Carefully determining the composition of your group. Enriching the workplace environmentthe psychological and the physical environment. Providing tools and techniques that enhance idea generation. Managing the process of innovation so that the best insights and ideas are translated into innovative products, services, and ideas.
See also Steps for Enhancing Your Own Creative Potential. Fostering Creative Abrasion An intellectually diverse group thinks more creatively and is more likely to generate innovative solutions. You can't make people adopt a different thinking style, but you can orchestrate thinking styles in such a way that your group's output benefits from the different perspectives. How do you get creative abrasion? You import creative diversity from the outside, or you build your internal capacity for it. Build your own intellectually diverse team. Consider yourself lucky if you have the opportunity to compose your team from scratch. The more likely scenario is that you're assigned a team to lead, and the membership has already been determined. Once you've assessed how the thinking styles of your team members complement (or duplicate) your own, you'll have a pretty good feel for whether any gaps exist. If the team lacks vital skills or expertise, you're going to have to look outside your group to find what you need. Here are some quick diagnostic indicators that your team could use some outside stimulation:
Your group needs an answer to a problem that no one in the industry has been able to solve yet. Your group needs more radical innovations than they are currently generating.
The group has been working on a problem for a long time with no solution in sight. The group has been working together for more than three years. Group members tend to agree rapidly on what to do. You suspect that there are minority opinions in the group that are not being heard. Group members seem reluctant to disagree with each other.
Bring intellectual diversity in from outside your group. First, look elsewhere within your organization. Are there people with different thinking styles or skills who could temporarily take part in the work of your team? If not, you'll need to go outside your organizationand maybe outside your industry. When engineers working at a ceramics manufacturer were having difficulty getting the ceramics to release from their molds, they realized that their problem had to do with quick-freezingnot with ceramics. So instead of seeking out other ceramics experts, they turned to the experts in quick-freezing: the food industry. Other suggestions for sparking your group's creativity: guest speakers, interns, even field trips to other organizations. Build your internal capacity for creative abrasion. On those occasions when you are able to hire new employees, take full advantage of the opportunity:
Look for people whose intellectual perspectives complement (but don't duplicate) your own preferred styles and skills, as well as those of your group. Look for a balance of expertise and personal characteristics (such as initiative, ability to get along with others, etc.) in each new hire. Look for people who are able and willing to work across functional boundaries. When you set specific hiring criteria, put a premium on increasing your group's intellectual diversity and finding necessary skills that the group currently lacks. Don't simply list a standard set of skills.
See also Tips for Providing Outside Stimulation for Your Group. Also consider exploring nontraditional hiring channels (channels other than your company's human resources department). For example:
Consider interns who've spent a summer or semester with your company. Ask colleagues for referrals. Ask friends outside your industry to be on the lookout for people whose skill sets match your needs.
Remember: if your goal is to create change within the group, it won't be enough just to hire one person who has a different perspective. A lone hire soon feels isolated and becomes
marginalized. For the different thinking styles to make a difference, you need to begin by hiring a critical mass of newcomers with fresh perspectives. See also Harvard ManageMentor topic Hiring. But your work doesn't stop thereit's up to you to take the initiative to ensure that new members are thoroughly integrated into the functioning of the team:
Discuss with group members why it is valuable to have people with different perspectives and skills. Give the group some input into the hiring decisions. When someone with different perspectives or skills is brought on board, make sure that person has a mentor. Make sure that group members who represent different skills and perspectives will be able to demonstrate their value to the groupeven if it's only in small ways at the outset. Meet regularly with new members to discuss their experience with the group. Make certain that a new member's role within the group's overall vision is very clear. Make sure that new people are included in social events.
See also the Harvard ManageMentor topic Leading a Team. Establishing group norms Make no mistake about it, intellectual diversity does have its hazards. When you put different thinking styles together on one team, the result will not be unbroken harmonynor would you want it to be. Expect to have disagreement and clashesthat way, you won't be surprised when they occur. But you must be vigilant nonetheless, constantly asking yourself if the conflict is creative or not. For creative abrasion to work, you have to maintain a dynamic equilibrium. You want to foster substantive conflict, the kind of abrasion that gets team members interactinglistening to each other's points of view and questioning each other's assumptions. At the same time, you must prevent the conflict from becoming personal, or else the group will splinter and productivity will suffer. See also Steps for Fostering Creative Conflict: Depersonalizing Issues. Likewise, you may find yourself in the difficult situation of dealing with unspoken conflict. This situation often referred to as having moose on the tablea significant issue or problem that is impeding progress because no one is willing to discuss it. See also Steps for Promoting Creative Conflict: Surfacing Unspoken Issues.
Whether the problem is nasty, name-calling conflict, or its tense, tight-lipped counterpart, a set of clearly articulated group principles is indispensable. These norms won't prevent all conflict from happening, but they are very useful to turn to when there is strife. Being able to refer team members back to the agreed-upon ways of behaving can help you restore a sense of team identity, and turn conflict into something substantive and productive. What should your group's operating guidelines be? That depends on the purpose of the group and the personalities of its members. But certainly any effective set of norms should be clear and concise. They should also include the basics: respect for all members of the group, a commitment to active listening, and an understanding about how to voice concerns and handle conflict. To guarantee the free flow of ideas, some groups may want to go furtherfor example, making explicit that anyone is entitled to disagree with anyone else. They may also want to adopt specific guidelines that:
Support calculated risk taking Establish procedures about acknowledging and handling failure Foster individual expression Encourage a playful attitude
Whatever principles your group decides upon, make sure all the members participate in establishing themand that everyone is willing to abide by them. Failing forward Failure can be useful if it is "intelligent failure." However, this does not mean simply learning from mistakes or making the same mistakes over and over. For intelligent failure to take place, you must:
Acknowledge that there is a risk and plan contingencies Keep management informed Assess and learn from any failures
Enhancing the Psychological Environment Group norms are important for establishing a psychological climate that promotes creativity, but they will get you only so far. If you want team members to believe that the norms are for real, you have to back them up with the following:
Your concrete actions as a managerhow you respond to events and to what your team members say and do. What you say you value most highly and how you actually respond to the course of events can often be two very different things. To make sure there is no dissonance between these two, ask team members to fill out anonymous evaluation forms from time to time, in which they assess whether your behavior fosters free-flowing communication, a willingness to take risks, and an ability to acknowledge and examine failure.
Moreover, don't underestimate the importance of direction and feedback. Research indicates that a cogent explanation of employee responsibilities and clear, frequent feedback from supervisors are among the most powerful motivational elements of a manager's tool kit.
The reward systemyour company's compensation plan, plus any additional incentives and means of recognition that you set up.
Types of rewards Creativity will not flourish without a reward system that encourages individuals to stretch their ideas, to try totally new approaches, and to push beyond the bounds of normal work processes. Creative energy is a limited resource and must be replenishednot just at the end of the creative process, but throughout the project's life cycle. An exhausted or discouraged group cannot maintain their creativity. Rewards serve to rejuvenate and refresh creative energy. There are many mechanisms for helping people feel motivated and energized to work creatively. Rewards can be based on:
Recognitionfor example, acknowledging an individual or group with a plaque or public announcement Controlallowing an individual or group to participate in making a decision or choice that affects them, or giving a group the resources it needs to carry out a project Celebrationfor example, acknowledging a successful new-product launch by throwing a party Rejuvenationproviding time off or away from the task.
Another way to think about rewards is in terms of how they motivate. A reward can either be:
Intrinsicsomething that appeals to a person's desire for self-actualization or challenge, to her deep interest and involvement in the work, or to her curiosity or sense of enjoyment; or Extrinsicsomething that appeals to a person's desire to attain a goal that is distinct from the work itself. Examples could include incentive pay, a luxury vacation given as a reward for generating the most sales, or special recognition for winning a competition or meeting an important deadline.
In any effective reward system, these two sources of motivation work hand in hand. Especially where the work is not routine, you need to rely on the power of intrinsic motivation to generate creative thought. In other words, you must make sure that any rewards or incentives you establish don't become more important than the work itself, thereby undermining team members' intrinsic motivation. But at the same time, don't underestimate the power of money, recognition, or other incentives to bolster a group member's self-esteem, and thus enhance his intrinsic motivation. They can also give a team the freedom to attempt experiments or to take risks that it wouldn't have had the means to do otherwise.
Obviously, it's highly unlikely that you'll have the leeway to create a compensation plan for your teambut there probably are areas where you have the power to tweak the existing system to better suit your team's situation. Some questions you may want to consider:
Does the group need special incentives, different from the larger reward system of the organization as a whole? If you cannot change the formal reward structure of your group, what informal awards could you design and distribute?
See also Tips for Motivating and Rewarding Creativity and Psychological Environment for Creativity Assessment. See also the Harvard ManageMentor topic Leading and Motivating. Enriching the Physical Environment Physical surroundings can have an enormous impact on creativity. When an environment is filled with many types of stimuli, it sends the message "think differently." It encourages people to make new connections and to think more broadly. Truly creative environments are notable for the variety of art, toys, and
reading material they contain. For example, a software company might include illustrated books about architectural design along with technical reading in the employees' lounge. Another company might sprinkle wind-up toys or 3-D gadgets throughout the workspace. Encouraging a playful attitude is especially important, because it helps people fully express their individuality and so enhances the quality of the group's creative output. Play serves a serious function: when employees are taking a play break, their work problems are incubating. The conscious mind takes a break from the problem at hand and then is able to return refreshed perhaps with a new approach or a unique solution. Creative environments don't just provide casual and playful spacesthey also provide areas where employees can be quiet and reflective. The goal is to open up the range of emotional
responses people experience at workquite a contrast from the traditional, "buttoned-down" approach to the work environment. You may not be able to design your workspace from the ground up, but there are valuableand relatively inexpensivesteps you can take to enhance your team's physical surroundings. As you consider your options, keep the following questions in mind:
How might you encourage casual conversations that lead to creative ideas? Conversations and spontaneous meetings often occur in public areas such as mailrooms, kitchens, or around water coolers. Are these areas centrally located? Do you have comfortable, informal gathering places? One company designed staircases wide enough for people to stop and chat. Another placed beanbag chairs in conference rooms to create a more casual atmosphere. What tools might you supply to encourage better communication? Some companies place whiteboards and flip charts in informal meeting spacesfor example, the kitchen and not just in conference rooms. This allows people to sketch out their ideas during a spontaneous discussion. Other companies spread crayons and white paper on conference room tables to encourage doodling and diagramming ideasenabling a mode of thought that is quite different from verbal discussion. What types of media do team members respond to? One person may find a lively discussion the most effective means of generating new ideas. Another may prefer the time and quiet afforded by e-mail communication. Still another may respond best to visual imagery. Including nontraditional communication tools helps you capture the creative potential of all the members of your group.
See also Tips for Enhancing the Physical Workspace to Facilitate Communication and Interaction and Enhancing the Creativity of the Physical Workspace Worksheet. See also the Harvard ManageMentor topic Leading and Motivating: Motivating Others. Divergent Thinking Techniques Innovative ideas and products result from the application of divergent thinking. Especially if your group is charged with tasks that are not routine, it will need to be able "to think outside the box." Such thinking consists of:
Seeing connections among facts or events that others have missed Asking questions that haven't been asked before Asking questions from different perspectives
The goal of divergent thinking is to generateand to generate quicklya wide variety of options. (From the list you generate, you select the best options to pursue furtherthis is the convergent part of the innovation process.)
A particularly useful tool for stimulating divergent thought is brainstorming. Brainstorming builds:
Fluency, your ability to produce many original ideas easily Flexibility, your ability to come up with many different kinds of ideas.
For a brainstorming exercise to succeed, it's crucial to observe four key principles:
Focus the brainstorming on an actual problem that your group is trying to solve. In other words, your brainstorming should be bounded by real-world constraints. Judgment should be suspended while ideas are being generated. Even the wildest ideas are to be encouraged because the quantity of ideas affects the quality of the final decision. Limit the discussion to one conversation at a time and keep it focused on the topic. Try to build on the ideas of others wherever possible.
Brainstorming techniques fall into four broad categories: visioning, exploring, modifying, and experimenting. Each category uses a slightly different thought process, but there are some common features. Modifying and experimenting techniques, for example, start with existing data and use intuitive insights to draw ideas from those facts. With visioning and exploring techniques, the intuitive process comes first, and is followed by the information gathering and data analysis. Visioning This approach asks you to imagine, in detail, a long-term, ideal solution as well as the means of achieving that solution. The idea is to break free of the ingrained practicality that inhibits truly innovative thought. Begin by ignoring constraints: if money, time, and resources were no object, what ideas would produce the ideal future? If your Web-site building company could provide any services it wanted to, which services would you choose? As you try to imagine the ideal future, follow what intrigues youa breakthrough idea often comes from a seemingly irrelevant place. Sometimes an irritation or an irresponsible wish can be the germ for a creative insight. After all, wishes are essentially expressions of frustration with some kind of constraint. The following are three strategies to help people on your team imagine an ideal future:
Wish List. Ask people to let themselves go and imagine an ideal situation where, for example, you would be granted any wish you want by a fairy godmother, by winning the lottery and having unlimited resources, or by whatever else sets the tone. Select a quiet place without interruptions, or play soothing background music. Encourage everyone to review their lists: what did they discover about themselves or the situation? Then take it another step: what would it actually take to make this wish come true? The Ideal Scenario. Ask the group to imagine what the ideal future or solution would look like. This can be done with words or with images. For example, participants could pour through visually rich magazines, select images and paste them together in a collage. Follow the creation with discussion and exploration.
Time Machine. As another alternative, ask participants to pretend that they can time travel to 57 years from now. What would the situation look like then? What would have been accomplished? Add whatever questions are relevant to the creative challenge being explored.
Once you've generated several ideas that would constitute that ideal future, ask what it would take to make those ideas happen. That is, how would you actually bring about the ideas you've envisioned? Exploring These strategies often use guided imagerysymbols, analogies, and metaphors to describe an ideal scenario as well as to challenge assumptions. If your group is trying to create truly innovative levels of customer service, for example, you could ask: if customer service were music, what pieces of music come to mind when you think of best-practice customer service? Or, what are the feelings that you want your ideal level of service to generate in customersand what are the tactile or sensuous images that come to mind when you try to envision it? A variation of this method is to take the assumptions you've been working under and literally reverse themthe new possibilities that emerge are often surprisingly fruitful. A related approach, called paradoxical thinking, helps free your mind from conventional patterns by developing an awareness of opposites. For example, the physicist Wilhelm Ritter used such an awareness to discover ultraviolet radiation. Since infrared rays, which lie beyond red in the spectrum of sunlight, were already known to exist, Ritter reasoned that there must be polar oppositesrays lying beyond the violet end of the spectrum. Modifying Whereas visioning techniques begin by assuming that there are no constraints, modifying techniques begin with the status quowith current technology or conditionsand seek to make adaptations. One great way to see how to modify or adapt your current product or service is to try to look at it as though you were a customer. Experimenting These methodologies help you systematically combine elements in various ways and then test the combinations. One such approach involves creating a matrix. For example, a car-wash owner in search of a new market or market extension would begin by listing parameters across the top: method, products washed, equipment, and products sold; under each parameter, he lists all the possible variations he can think of. Under the equipment category, the variations might include sprays, conveyors, stalls, dryers, and brushes; the products washed category might include cars, houses, clothes, and dogs. The resulting table allows him to put together new business possibilities using alternatives listed under the columns. Thus, he might decide to start a service for pet owners to wash their dogs by using stalls and brushes. See also Tips for Brainstorming Sessions. Convergence Techniques
At various points in the life of a project, the fruits of divergent thinking must be harvested and put to use. In moving from divergent to convergent thinking, a team stops emphasizing what is novel and starts emphasizing what is useful. The work of convergence involves setting limits, narrowing the field of solutions using a given set of constraints.
See also the Harvard ManageMentor topic Running a Meeting. And how do you determine those constraints? The culture, mission, priorities, and high-level concept of your company and project all contribute to the answer. They help you rule out options by identifying potential solutions that lie beyond the scope of your project. Helpful questions to ask your team once it has generated a range of possible solutions to a problem include the following:
What functions are essential (from your customers' point of view) and what are "nice-tohaves"? What criteria are determined by the company's values? What are your cost constraints? What are your size or shape constraints (for a product)? Within what time must you complete the project? In what ways must the product or service be compatible with existing products or services?
How do you know when to begin convergent activities? When the problem to be solved is well understood or fairly routine, your group may not need to devote much time to divergent thinking. When time is not an issue, you may want to devote more time to divergent activities than you otherwise would. For general creative problem solving, however, the time spent on convergent thinking should more or less equal the time spent on divergent thinking. What Is Problem Solving? Suppose youre leading a team that oversees your companys order processing system. The system works wellexcept on Monday mornings. At that time, there are so many incoming orders that customers get angry about waitingor give up and dont place an order. You and your team have been asked to come up with the most cost-effective way to handle the Mondaymorning overload.
Or consider a different situation. Youre working hard to get a report done on time. Suddenly your computer displays an "Error" message and shuts down. When you restart, everything seems fine. Do you continue to use that computer? Or do you go to the trouble of switching to someone elses computer that isnt being used? The overload of incoming orders and the troublesome computer are examples of problems problems that you, as a manager, need to solve in the most effective way possible. Experts who study problem solving have found that there are good ways and poor ways of solving problems. Theyve also found that managerseven the most experienced and capable managersoften solve problems in poor ways. Of course, managers would feel more confident of their decisions if they had more time, as well as complete and accurate information on which to base decisions. But considering that managers are typically required to focus on something different every eight minutes, that often isnt possible. Solving business problems as a process How can you ensure that you come up with the best solutions to problems given the limitations of time and information? Heres a five-stage process:
1. Define the problem. Start by making sure youre looking at the problem, not a symptom
of the problem, and that you understand the problem.
2. Set solution objectives. What will be the result of finding the right solution? What
benefits or gains should an effective solution provide?
3. Generate alternative solutions. What are all the ways you (and your team) can discover
to solve the problem?
4. Evaluate alternatives and choose one. Examine each of your alternative solutions in a
systematic way and identify the one that will best meet your solution objectives.
5. Implement, monitor, and adjust your solution. Apply the solution youve identified
and measure the extent to which it meets the solution objectives. Fine-tune or correct, as needed, to meet all of your objectives as completely as possible. See also the Online Article: "Are You Getting the Best Solutions for Your Problems?" Defining Problems If all the experts on problem solving agree on one thing, its that the most common reason for a poor solution is an incorrectly defined problem.
Defining a problem in terms of a solution
For example, a company that prints checks for bank customers was losing market share. Managers knew that technologies for "paperless" (electronic) payments were increasingly available to bank customers, so they moved aggressively into selling the systems for paperless payments. That investment never did well, and the printing companys share continued downward. Too late, the managers discovered that bank customers still wanted paper checks, but they wanted them printed with background scenes, cartoon characters, and other illustrations. The managers incorrectly defined the problem in terms of a solution: new technology. The solution seemed obvious because they were regularly reading and hearing about it at the time their market share was declining. They didnt come up with a solution that may have worked checks with background illustrationsbecause they never considered it. Defining a problem in terms of a symptom Another example demonstrates a different common pitfall: defining the problem in terms of a symptom. A pizza parlor was losing sales to competitors because its home deliveries were slower than the competitors deliveries. Managers knew that their delivery associates, who provided their own cars, generally owned older cars in poor condition. So they made a costly investment in their own fleet of delivery vehicles. But delivery times didnt improve. The managers never realized that the older, poorly maintained vehicles of their delivery associates were a symptom of lower wages than those competitors paid. The better delivery people were working where they could make the most money. A fleet of vehicles owned by the pizza shop did nothing to solve the real problem. Ensuring that a problem is defined correctly Not getting data about the problem and mistaking the symptoms for the problem are two common errors managers make during this stage. The following tactics help ensure that you correctly define problems:
Awareness. Simply be aware, whenever you tackle a problem, that the first step is to accurately define the problem. Take time to reflect on the first "solutions" you come up withespecially ones that seem easy or obviousto be sure they truly solve the problem. Brainstorming. Getting one or more other people involvedperhaps your entire team or other co-workersbrings multiple perspectives into the problem-solving process. Among other potential benefits, participants can act as checks on each other to make sure the problem is defined correctly.
See also Tips for Conducting a Productive Brainstorming Session and Brainstorming Planning Worksheet.
Root-cause analysis. This is a process in which you repeatedly make a statement of fact and ask the question: "Why?" For example: "Our pizza deliveries are slow. Why? Our associates drive old cars that are in poor condition. Why? They cant afford repairs or newer cars. Why? They dont have the money. Why? Their pay is too low." Root-cause analysis can work well for an individual, a small group, or in brainstorming sessions. See also Tips for Defining Problems.
A tool that can help you do such an analysis is called a fishbone diagram. As the following illustration demonstrates, every fishbone diagram will look a little different depending on the particular problem being solved.
Awareness, brainstorming, and root-cause analysis are methods that help overcome the natural human tendency to rush into a solution for a problem you think you haveonly to find out too late that you are solving the wrong problem, or that you are actually addressing only a symptom of the real problem. See also Steps for Assessing a Problem. Setting Solution Objectives
After youve defined the problem, you need to determine what you want your solution to accomplish. For many of the problems you face as a manager, youll want a solution that accomplishes more than one objective. Suppose youve been asked to solve a problem with a production line in which too many items are being rejected because of poor quality. You have several solution objectives:
Minimize the number of rejected items Keep costs below the current level that rejected items are costing Avoid adding complex new procedures
See also Steps for Setting Solution Objectives. Prioritizing objectives Whenever you have a problem with more than one solution objective, you need to prioritize. Which of the objectives is most important? Which is second in importance, third, and so on? Prioritization is essential because any single solution to a business problem will rarely address all of your objectives completely. Your goal is to choose the solution that does the best job of filling your top-priority objectives. You may even want to assign a numerical value to each of your solution objectives. For example, you can assign a value of 10 to your top objective. Then assign values to your other objectives based on their importance compared with the top objective. If your second-priority objective is half as important, you would assign a value of 5. But if its almost as important as the top priority, youd give it a 9 or an 8. Assign values to all of your objectives in the same way. Prioritization Matrix: Assigning Priority Weights to Solution Objectives Solution Objective A Priority Weight 5
If youre problem solving with a team, take a few minutes for everyone individually to assign a value to each solution objective. Then add everyones value to get a total value for each objective and use the total to rank objectives. For example, if you and three team members all make the same objective the top priority and give it a 10, the total value for that objective will be 40. (The values will come back into consideration later, when you evaluate your solutions and choose one.) For problems other than smaller, routine ones that you handle yourself, its important to find out what the solution objectives are for people who are affected by the problem. These may include managers in other business units, customers, line workers, and suppliers. Customer surveys, for
example, are designed to identify customer attitudes and needs: "Do you want our improvements to make the product work better? to look better? to cost less?" See also Setting Solution Objectives Worksheet. Generating Alternative Solutions Once you've determined solution objectives, the next step is to generate a list of alternatives for how you will address the problem. Often, managers settle for the first solution that comes to mind. Thats a sure way to overlook many promising solutions, and to miss opportunities to improve on approaches that have been used in the past. The goal is to discover as many reasonable solutions as possible, without spending too much time on the problem. The amount of time thats "too much" will depend on the importance of the problem. The problem of deciding where to buy tires for the companys fleet of service vans deserves far less time than the problem of where to locate the companys new distribution center! Brainstorming at this stage can be an effective way to generate a varied list of alternatives. However, if youre attempting to solve a major problem, you probably shouldnt brainstorm solution alternatives in the same meeting in which youve brainstormed the problem definition or solution objectives. The reason: most people typically burn out after an hour of intense creative thinking. To get the best and most effective solution alternatives from yourself and others, brainstorm suggestions when everyone is fresh. See also Steps for Identifying and Evaluating Solution Alternatives and Tips for Generating Creative Solution Alternatives. Evaluating Alternatives and Choosing One Is this the stage of problem solving you dread the most? It is for most people. But heres some good news: experts in problem solving have found that choosing the best alternative is usually easy ifand this is a big "if"the previous stages in the process have been done correctly. In other words, if youve done a good job in defining the problem,
identifying and prioritizing solution objectives, and coming up with solution alternatives, the best solution will be obvious in most cases. Now for the not-so-good news: when problems are really big or really complex, the best solution often will not be obvious. In these cases, evaluation is key. Evaluation is the process of matching each of your solution alternatives against each of your solution objectives, and figuring out how well the alternative is likely to meet the objectives. The alternative you should choose is the one that will most completely satisfy your objectives particularly the objectives youve identified as high priorities.
Consider the following example: You need to select a team member to work overtime. George and Christine are both available and equally skilled at the work to be done. George says hed prefer not to work overtime; Christine says she would. If your first solution objective is to have the overtime work done right and your second is to have team members who are satisfied with their work schedules, you would choose Christine. She would satisfy your top priority as well as George would, but would satisfy your second priority better. Using a prioritization matrix But what about problems that are more complex, where there are more solution objectives? What if one alternative best satisfies your number one priority while another best satisfies your number two and three priorities? In such cases, you may want to use a prioritization matrix to help you compare how well each alternative achieves your objectives. It uses weighted scores to rank each alternative; the alternative with the highest score is most likely your best choice. To create a prioritization matrix, list your solution objectives across the top of the table followed by their corresponding priority weights directly underneath. Next, assign a numerical value to each solution alternative according to how well it satisfies each solution objective. An alternative that would completely satisfy an objective might be given a value of 10. An alternative that would do nothing to meet a particular objective would be given a value of zero. Most alternatives will fall somewhere between zero and 10 in meeting each solution objective. Prioritization Matrix: Assigning Numerical Values to Solution Alternatives Solution Objective Priority Weight Solution 1 Solution 2 Solution 3 Solution 4 A 5 0 10 6 1 B 10 3 5 6 9 C 9 8 5 2 4 D 3 8 7 6 9
When youve assigned a value for how effectively each solution alternative would be expected to satisfy each solution objective, multiply the values by the priority weights youve assigned to the solution objectives. You can then add the values to get a total score for each alternative. The alternative with the highest total score is the one you would expect to do the best overall job of solving the problem. In the prioritization matrix below, Solution 2 would be your choice. Prioritization Matrix: Multiplying Solution Alternative Values with Priority Weights Solution Objective A B C D
Priority Weight Solution 1 Solution 2 Solution 3 Solution 4
5 0 (0*5)
Total Score 126
30 (3*10) 72 (8*9) 24 (8*3) 166 126 158
50 (10*5) 50 (5*10) 45 (5*9) 21 (7*3) 30 (6*5) 5 (1*5) 60 (6*10) 18 (2*9) 18 (6*3) 90 (9*10) 36 (4*9) 27 (9*3)
See also Steps for Identifying and Evaluating Solution Alternatives and Prioritization Matrix Form. Understanding Obstacles that Stand in the Way of Effective Problem Solving Before you choose and begin to implement a solution alternative, consider the common obstacles that can confound effective problem solving. Some of these obstacles derive from being human, while others have to do with the very nature of problem solving. Obstacles that are part of being human Some problem-solving errors are deeply embedded in human nature. Overconfidence. Heres how overconfidence can undermine the quality of your problem solving:
You think you know things you dont know. Because you "know" these things, you dont question or examine them. When any of those "things you know" becomes a significant part of the problem-solving process, chances are good that you wont make the best decision.
Cognitive biases. When you make decisions, you often take unconscious mental shortcuts, called "judgment heuristics," as you gather and process information. You use heuristics when:
You dont have all of the information we need to solve a problem The situation is very complex or ambiguous You have limited time to come up with a solution
Judgment heuristics developed among people because they tend to workat least most of the time. A cognitive bias is an example of misapplying a judgment heuristic. Here are brief descriptions of the biases that most commonly affect problem solving.
The availability bias. You recall something related to your current problem on the basis of how vivid and memorable it is, not on the basis of its accuracy, relevance, or true probability.
The confirmation bias. You seek confirming evidence without seeking information that might contradict that evidence, or at least cast doubt on it. The anchoring bias. Without realizing it, you accept data and evidence that tends to lead you to a solution that matches the original, tentative solution you may have initially guessed at. You become anchored to this initial guess, even if it is way off the target. The representativeness bias. You use limited information about a person, object, or event to put it in a classification or category, and then impose all of the characteristics of that classification or category back onto the person, object, or event. In other words, you assess the likelihood of an events occurrence by the similarity of that event to your stereotype of similar events. The framing bias. You make a decision based on the way you have "framed," or thought about, the decision to be made. To say that a new product launch has a 1 in 10 chance of succeeding or a 90% chance of failing is to say exactly the same thing. But those are two very different frames, and your decision may differ depending on the frame you choose. Wishful thinking. If youre like most people, you tend to be optimistic. You believe that pleasant events are more likely to happen than unpleasant events. To choose the best solution to a problem, however, its important to consider negative outcomes.
It is impossible for anyone to eliminate bias completely from his or her decision making. But awareness of this tendency can help you avoid or minimize its negative effects on solving problems. Escalation of commitment. When you invest additional resources in a failing endeavor, you escalate your commitment to that solution, choice, or course of action. The expression "Throwing good money after bad" is about escalation of commitment. Organizations, as well as individuals, are particularly prone to this. People want a solution to work, so they try everything to make it successfuleven if evidence suggests that the outcome will not be promising. Obstacles that are part of the problem-solving process The other category of obstacle has to do with the nature of problem solving itself. Most problems are characterized by uncertainty, ambiguity, and conflict. Uncertainty. Uncertainty comes into play when you dont factor in the probabilities associated with events, actions, or solutions, or when these probabilities are impossible to determine. In these cases, you tend to proceed as if factors that are only probable are in fact certain. Consider a company that is planning to construct a second distribution center. The first distribution center, built 70 years ago, is in the heart of downtown. The second one is targeted for the fast-growing outer suburb of Grassville. Members of the companys new-building task force wonder if members of the town council might oppose a distribution center because it would bring large trucks to quiet suburban streets. But they cant determine the likelihood of opposition because no similar building has ever been erected in Grassville. So, they plan to proceed. In effect, they have eliminated the uncertainty of town council opposition.
Ambiguity. Ambiguity exists when factors relevant to a decision arent known. It is different from uncertainty because you recognize factors when youre uncertainyou just cant determine the probabilities of those factors. In the example of the suburban distribution center, ambiguity would exist if the task force didnt even think about possible opposition by the town council. Conflict. Conflict can occur at all stages of problem solving, on an individual level as well as a group level. Alternative solutions often conflict. For example, a solution to a problem might be likely to provide high near-term revenues that gradually drop off, while another solution indicates lower near-term revenues, but more revenue as time passes. Whether the obstacle derives from human nature or from the realities of problem solving, the key to avoiding the obstacle is awareness.
Examine your decision-making processes carefully. Learn to distinguish between appropriate and inappropriate uses of heuristics. Scrutinize your solution alternatives for potential conflict. Highlight areas of uncertainty, and try to assess their probability.
See also the Online Article: "Delusions of Success: How Optimism Undermines Executives' Decisions."
Implementing, Monitoring, and Adjusting Your Solution If theres any stage of problem solving that rivals defining the problem for neglect, its the implementation stage. Thats understandable: you may be so relieved to have identified the best solution that you dont think enough about making it happen! But you can help avoid short circuiting success by taking these three
steps with the solutions you generate:
Implementing Monitoring Adjusting
Implementing the solution
Implementing the solution is about executing change. This may involve installing new equipment, modifying procedures, giving team members new or different responsibilities, or any combination of these or other measures. It may seem strange to define "implementing" as a step. You may think, "Of course you implement a solution. You did all this work to come up with it!" But think about all the well-meaning studies and task force reports that end up gathering dust on so many managers bookshelves. Be sure that you do not consider your problem-solving task complete until your solution is actually put into practice. In order to implement a solution, you need to make an action plan that lists objectives, clearly describes individual responsibilities, and establishes time frames and deadlines. See also Tips for Implementing Solutions. See also the Harvard ManageMentor topic Project Management. Monitoring the solution In the monitoring phase, the actual performance of the solution thats being implemented is measured against the performance that was anticipated when that solution was selected. In other words, is the solution proving as effective as it was expected to be? You probably monitor the solutions to most problems without thinking much about it. If your solution to needing more workers on the night shift is to pay 10% more for night-shift work, you "monitor" the solution by seeing whether you find more people who are willing to work the overnight hours. When problems or solutions are complex or involve significant costs or time, tools such as a Pareto before-and-after chart can help pin down how well a solution is working.
A Pareto before-and-after chart shows the effects of a problem and its solution, quantitatively, at the same time. Each of the effects of a problem, such as the percentage of rejected items on a
production line, is shown side by side with the effects of a solution on the same numerical measurement scale. This way of monitoring can concisely and forcefully indicate how well a solution is doing at actually solving a problem. See also Worksheet for Monitoring a Solution. Adjusting the solution Its unlikely that any solution, no matter how good, will work without adjustments. If nothing else, conditions change over time. So occasional adjustments, ranging from fine-tuning to wholesale corrections, will usually be needed. What if the solution youve implemented doesnt work out as youd expected? In most cases, course corrections can be made. These will often involve only "tweaking" the solution youve implemented. For example, solving a security problem by issuing bar-coded ID cards may work well, but you may later find that you need an electronic card reader at your companys back entrance as well as the front. But sometimes you may find that the solution alternative you chose just doesnt work out. In such cases, you need to revisit the problem-solving process.
Make sure you defined the problem correctly. Have you learned anything new that makes you think the problem is different from what you thought the first time around? Has there been a change in your solution objectives? Do you have new information that you didnt have before? Perhaps your CEO has announced a strategy shift that adds to or modifies one or more of your objectives. Perhaps you see that one objective should have been given more weight and another one less. Have you learned about, or can you think of, a solution alternative that wasnt considered the first time around? Or, have you acquired a different perspective that causes you to reassess data or feedback youve had for some time? If so, this would certainly have an impact on your evaluation. Go through your evaluation process again, preferably without reviewing your earlier evaluation results. With experience under your belt in implementing your first-choice alternative, chances are good youll change your opinion of how well some of your alternatives will satisfy some of your objectives.
After youve evaluated how well each alternative would be expected to address each objective, look at the results of your first evaluation. Where you find discrepancies between the first time and this time, decide which one is more on-target in light of what you know now. The process of examining your decision making for the purpose of exposing and correcting false mental models is known as "double-loop learning." In addition to the regular feedback cycle plan, do, check, actdouble-loop learning incorporates a second cycle, in which the mental models themselves are scrutinized. Monitoring and adjusting your chosen solution is not simply a matter of figuring out what went wrongyou must also examine why it went wrong and correct the process.
What Is Persuasion? Talented persuaders have the power to capture an audience, sway others' opinions, and convert opponents to their cause. They wield influence and eloquence to convince others to align with their perspective, support their position or ideas, and help implement their solutions. What exactly is persuasion? Persuasion is a process that enables you to change or reinforce others' attitudes, opinions, or behaviors. It can take place in a single meeting or over time through a series of discussions. Persuasion is a skill that's essential for success in all relationships personal and business alike. What's more, persuasion is not just a matter of making a rational case, but about presenting information in a way that appeals to fundamental human emotions. It's about positioning an idea, approach, or solution in a way that appeals to the people who are affected by it. In many ways, persuasion blends art and science. It's an art in that it requires the ability to establish trust and strong communication skills. It's a science in that it hinges on the disciplined collection and analysis of information and solidly researched principles of human behavior. By leveraging proven techniques, anyone can enhance his or her persuasion skills. Why is persuasion important? The applications of persuasion are virtually infinite. An employee lobbying for a pay raise, a sales manager pitching the benefits of a new product line to a customer, a purchasing manager convincing a supplier to expedite shipment of an orderthese are just a few examples of persuasion situations. Many people, without even realizing it, draw upon their persuasion skills every day. Profound changes in the business world have made persuasion a more critical managerial skill than ever:
The days of executive command-and-control have given way to a business world increasingly characterized by cross-functional teams of peers, joint ventures, and intercompany partnerships. In some countries, many young people now entering the work force have come to maturity questioning authority.
With the advent of electronic communication and globalization, ideas and people are flowing more freely than ever within and across organizations.
Clearly, formal authority no longer gets managers as far as it used to. To do their job accomplishing work through othersmanagers must persuade others rather than simply issue orders. The elements of persuasion Persuasion is a complex process that requires careful preparation, back-and-forth dialogue, and a deep understanding of how people make business decisions. Skilled persuaders engage in a mutual process of learning and negotiating with their audience. They focus on these critical areas:
Credibility. They establish their own credibility by acquiring expertise as well as building and cultivating positive, trusting relationships. Common ground. They frame goals on common ground, describing the benefits of the position they're advocating in terms of what they value and what others value. Supporting information. They reinforce their position with striking data mixed with compelling stories, examples, and images. A deep understanding of emotion. They understand and connect with their audience's emotions.
See also Persuasion Self-Assessment. The ethics of persuasion Persuasion is most effective when it's based on mutual gain and ethical behaviors. Ethical persuaders recognize the opportunities for mutual gain inherent in any situation. They legitimately leverage these opportunities to create win-win solutions. They also consider the long-term implications of everything they do. They know that unethical tactics can destroy in an instant a reputation of trust and credibility built over years. Unfortunately, some persuaders use unethical behaviors. They exploit opportunities to deceive and manipulate others. For them, persuasion is a contest in which they winand you lose. Such individuals focus on closing the short-term deal. They don't care how their behavior today might damage their reputation tomorrow. And they fail to build proposals based on mutual gain. In the long term, of course, theirs is a losing strategy. In the remaining sections of this topic, you'll learn more about the building blocks of successful persuasion. You'll see that persuading others involves more than creating a powerful, logical argument. It entails understanding all the factorsboth conscious and unconsciousthat motivate people in their decision making. Read on to learn more about being an effective persuader. See also the Online Article: "The Necessary Art of Persuasion."
Building Your Credibility Credibility is the cornerstone of persuasion. Without it, your audience won't commit time or resources to your idea or proposal. Your credibility manifests itself on two levels:
Your ideas: Are your ideas sound? For example, does your notion for a new product make sense in light of current market conditions and business concerns? Have you thought through all the ramifications? You as a person: Are you believable? Trustworthy? Sincere? Have you proven yourself knowledgeable and well informed? For instance, if you've proposed a new product, do you have a solid understanding of its specifications, target markets, customers, and competing products? Can others perceive that understanding?
See also Worksheet for Establishing Your Credibility. The credibility equation Credibility can be understood in terms of this simple but powerful formula: Credibility = Trust + Expertise The more trust you earn and expertise you accumulate, the more credible you and your ideas become. Trust When you fail to earn trust, listeners discount everything you say. By contrast, when people trust you and your ideas, they see you as believable, well informed, and sincere. They know that you have their best interests at heart. They also view you as possessing a strong emotional character (steady temperament) and integrity (honesty and reliability). Those qualities reinforce your appeal, which in turn makes people more inclined to accept your ideas. How do you earn others' trust? Several ways:
Be sincere. Demonstrate your conviction that your idea is worth others' time and attention. When people see you as sincere and committed, they will more likely trust you. Build a track record of trustworthiness. Follow through on promises and commitments you've made. Share or give credit to those who contribute good ideas. Present consistent values. By behaving in a trustworthy manner, you earn a reputation for being trustworthy. Encourage the exploration of ideas. Listen to others' concerns to encourage dialogue and demonstrate your openness to others' perspectives. Establish an environment where everyone can share their ideas and know that their opinions are valued. Put others' best interests first. When people believe that you have their interests in mind, they tend to trust you and your ideas more. For instance, suppose a marketing director helps a valued direct report get promoted to a different department. Though the marketing director knows it's difficult to lose a top-notch team member, she accepts that her job includes helping others develop their professional skills. Besides helping her
direct report, the marketing director earns the trust, not only of her direct report, but also of the other department headwhich may come in handy in the future.
Use candor. When you own up to your flaws, people see you as a truthful personon the assumption that most individuals try to conceal their faults. Thus, an honest acknowledgment of any weaknesses in your proposal can help build trust with your audience.
Expertise Like trust, expertise enables you to build credibility. People see you as having expertise when you exercise sound judgment that proves you're knowledgeable about your ideas, and when you accumulate a history of successes. To build or strengthen your expertise, consider these guidelines:
Research your ideas. Find out everything you can about the idea you are proposingby talking with knowledgeable individuals, reading relevant sources, and so forth. Collect pertinent data and information to support and contradict your idea so that you are well versed on the strengths and weaknesses of your idea. Get firsthand experience. For instance, ask to be assigned to a team that will provide new insights into particular markets or products. Cite trusted sources. Back your position with knowledge gained from respected business or trade periodicals, books, independently produced reports, lectures, and experts within or outside your organization. Prove it. Launch small pilot projects to demonstrate that your ideas deserve serious consideration. For example, if you're advocating a new process for your department, conduct a limited experiment with the process to generate firsthand information about its benefits. Master the terminology. Demonstrate that you know the verbal shorthand that people in your audience use. During meetings, industry conferences, and other business gatherings, listen closely for buzzwords. Make sure you understand their meaningand use them in your business communications. Don't hide your credentials. If appropriate, let people know about any advanced degrees you've earned. For example, a personal trainer who is launching a line of nutritional supplements would want to advertise her degree in nutrition alongside her credentials as a licensed physical therapist. Note that in some companies, publicizing academic credentials is considered bad form. Doing so might hurt your credibility if your colleagues firmly believe that it's a person's ideas that count, not his or her degrees. If this describes your company's culture, think of all your relevant experience and knowledge that informs and supports your idea and relate it at every opportunityif appropriateto those with any influence or stake in your proposal.
Hire independent authorities. Retain the services of an industry consultant or recognized outside expert to advocate your position. Their credibility will augment your own. Gather endorsements. Publicize accolades you've won for work related to your proposal such as e-mails or letters of praise from satisfied customers, superiors, and peers. Be diplomatic in your self-promotion to avoid appearing arrogant or boastful and thus undermining support.
By establishing your trustworthiness and expertise, you build the credibility you'll need to get your audience's attention and interest. But to take the next step in the process, you also need to understand how your audience makes decisionssomething covered in the next Core Concept. Understanding Your Audience No matter how credible people find you and your ideas, you need to do more to persuade your audience. Specifically, you must do the following:
Identify decision makers, key stakeholders, and the other influencers within your audience Analyze your audience's receptivity Determine your audience members' preferred decision-making styles
See also Worksheet for Understanding Your Audience. Identify decision makers, key stakeholders, and influencers In some persuasion situations, you'll present your proposal to one person; in others, to several or many individuals at a time. In either case, your true audience will usually consist of several people: decision makers (people who approve or reject your idea), key stakeholders (those directly affected or impacted by the acceptance of your proposal), and influencers (those who can influence or persuade the stakeholders and decision makers). Most persuasion situations involve several decision makers. For example, if you want to hire an additional employee for your unit, and you're lobbying your supervisor for the funds, he or she may not be the only decision maker you need to persuade. Perhaps your supervisor's boss may have the final say on new hires. To identify key stakeholders, think of all the individuals who stand to be most affected by acceptance of your proposal. In most cases, key stakeholders will include not only the person to whom you're presenting your proposal, but also individuals such as peers, direct reports, customers, superiors, and board members. Influencers often participate in the decision-making process by providing advice and information to key stakeholders and decision makers. For example, if you're trying to persuade a marketing manager to launch a new Web campaign, she might invite the head of information technology to participate in a meeting so that she can ask him questions and get his opinion on the matter. Once you've identified all the individuals who make up your true audience, it's time to analyze them.
Analyze your audience's receptivity Audiences differ in terms of what they may know about your proposal or idea, how interested they are in what you have to say, and how strongly they support your viewsall of which influence their receptivity. To analyze audience receptivity:
Monitor reactions. Look for signs of openness or resistance to you or your ideas in emails and other formal or informal communications from your intended listeners. During meetings, observe how your listeners voice their concerns or express their opinions about topics related to your idea. Assess body language. Notice your listeners' tone of voice and body language during casual hallway conversations and other brief, informal exchanges. Does your intended audience seem interested in your ideas? Distracted by other concerns? Skeptical? Talk with others. Identify key influencers and other individuals who have a finger on the pulse of your audience's moods and expectations regarding important upcoming developments in the company. Ask these individuals for their thoughts about your listeners' likely receptivity to your idea. Ask them what they and the key decision makers and stakeholders value and care about most, as well as what benefits they see in your idea.
See also Steps for Reading Your Audience Quickly. Audiences generally fall within one of six categories of receptivity. The table below shows these categories, along with their corresponding persuasion strategies. Audience Type Persuasion Strategies Hostiledisagrees with you
Use humor or a story to "warm them up" to you. Focus on areas you agree on. Demonstrate your expertise and cite experts. Support statements with solid evidence. Stress that you're looking for a win-win outcome. Identify benefits that they would value.
Neutralunderstands your position but still needs convincing
Spell out your proposition's benefits to listeners. Present just three clear, compelling points, backed by expert evidence, data, and concrete examples.
Use stories, personal experiences, and anecdotes to appeal to their emotions. Point out any downside of not accepting your proposal. Discuss the alternatives you've considered or you believe others might raise.
Uninterestedinformed about your subject but doesn't care about it
Grab their attention with a heart-stopping story, headline, or fact. Show how the topic affects them. Support your case with three to five compelling facts backed by expert testimony or statistics.
Uninformedlacks information needed to become convinced
Establish your credibility by showcasing your experience or qualifications. Keep your presentation simple and straightforward; don't confuse them with complex evaluations. Create an emotional link by sharing several personal anecdotes.
Supportivealready agrees with you
Recharge their enthusiasm with success stories and vivid testimonials. Help them to anticipate and refute possible arguments from opponents. Hand out a detailed action plan with clear deadlines.
Mixedcontains a cross-section of attitudes and views
Identify listeners whom you most have to win over and who have the most power. Concentrate your efforts on them. Appeal to different subgroups with different messages; for example, snack-food commercials promise kids great taste and parents nutrition. Avoid promising everything to everyone.
Determine decision-making styles To further boost your odds of persuading those who have the power to accept or reject your proposal, tailor your arguments to fit their decision-making style. People have distinct styles of decision making. The table below lists five styles, their characteristics, and corresponding persuasion strategies. Decision-Making Style Decision Maker's Characteristics Persuasion Strategies
Initially enthralled, but bases final decisions on balanced information May mislead you into thinking you've scored an immediate success Focus discussion on results. Make simple, straightforward arguments. Use visual aids to demonstrate features and benefits of proposal.
Cerebral, logical, and risk-averse Needs extensive detail Gather as much supporting data as possible. Use a fact-based approach to persuading.
Challenges every data point Decides based on gut feelings Establish as much credibility as possible. At the beginning of a meeting, invite them to challenge youindicating you value their ideas and will use them to create the final idea or proposal.
Relies on own or others' past decisions to make choices Takes plenty of time to decide whether to adopt idea Follows the lead of bosses or others who are "politically important" Focus on proven methods such as references and testimonials. Understand whom they like to follow or defer to and get their support.
Unemotional and analytical Abhors uncertainty Inclined to implement only his or her own ideas
Ensure your argument is sound and well structured. Identify outcomes of value to them.
How do you know which style your decision makers possess? As with analyzing your audience's receptivity, observe decision makers' behavior in meetings and hallway conversations and examine their communications for hints. If your audience includes decision makers with whom you have little or no direct contact, learn about their decision-making habits through whatever means are availablesuch as others in the organization, news sources, public meetings, and so forth. You've identified key stakeholders, decision makers, and influencers; analyzed your audience; and identified your decision makers' preferred styles. Now you're ready to take the next step: tailoring your presentation with the goal of winning your listeners' mindsand then their hearts. Winning Your Audience's Mind You've established your credibility by earning others' trust and accumulating expertise. And you've identified your key decision makers, stakeholders, and influencers, as well as their receptivity and decision-making styles. Now it's time to think about how you can best win their attention. Reason and emotions play major roles in how people make business decisions. To persuade others, you thus need to win your listeners' minds and their hearts. This Core Concept focuses on strategies for winning people's minds. The next Core Concept explores strategies for winning their hearts. You can appeal to your listeners' reasoning power in several ways:
The way you structure your presentation The evidence you provide to back up your proposal The benefits you emphasize The words you use
Structure your presentation effectively How do you decide what to say first, second, and so on in presenting a persuasive proposal? Sometimes your assessment of your audience's receptivity will influence the structure you select. At other times, your subject matter will suggest the appropriate structure. And you might decide to use one structure to present your case to one audience (for example, a receptive audience) and another to present the same case to another audience (such as a skeptical audience). Consider the following examples of structures:
Problem-solution. Describe a pressing problem, and then solve it by presenting a convincing solution. Use this structure with an uninterested audience, or one that's uninformed of the problem.
Presentation of both sides/refutation. To win over neutral or outright hostile audiences, argue both sides. First present your opponents' side, which shows that you accept the validity of their positionthereby increasing their receptivity. Then refute their case by challenging their evidence and disproving their arguments. Cause and effect. Discuss the causes underlying a problem, and then show how your idea will remove those causes. Or, emphasize the undesirable effects of a problem, and explain how your proposal will mitigate those effects. Use this structure for mixed audiences. Motivational sequence. Capture your audience's attention with a startling statistic, anecdote, or jokethen identify a pressing need. Explain how your proposal will satisfy that need, and help listeners visualize the bright future in store if they adopt your proposal. Finally, tell your audience what actions you want them to take. Use this structure for supportive audiences.
How you begin and end your presentation is especially critical. Get your audience's attention right away with a dynamic opening. Conclude with a call for action in which you clearly indicate what you want from your listeners. Provide compelling evidence The evidence you provide to support your proposalsuch as testimonials, examples, statistics, and graphic evidencecan further strengthen your persuasiveness.
Testimonials enhance persuasiveness when they come from sources your audience considers expert and credible. For instance, if you're advocating the adoption of a new technology, provide quotations from companies similar to yours that have adopted the technology with excellent results. Examples further capture people's attention by turning generalizations and abstractions into concrete proof. To illustrate, cite examples of what a proposed new technology can accomplish. Statistics become especially effective if you make them understandable and memorable. How? Help people grasp the enormity of large numbers. For example, to convey $1 trillion, say, "If you were to count a trillion one-dollar billsone every second, 24 hours a dayit would take you 32 years." Personalize numbers; for instance, "Four out of 10 people in this room exaggerate their expenses." Cite eye-popping comparisons, such as "Our main competitor processes orders 50 times faster than we do." See also Tips for Using Statistics. Graphic evidence, such as slides, flipcharts, videotapes, and product samples, can further boost your success. That's because three-quarters of what people learn they acquire visually. Choose a medium that's appropriate to your message; convey one concept per slide or other visual; and consider the psychological impact of colors. (Red, for example, means something different to financial managers than it does to engineers.)
When creating charts and tables, first determine the main trends or patterns you want to emphasize, then take care not to distort or misrepresent information. See also Tips for Using Visual Aids. When carefully selected and compellingly presented, evidence in all its forms can win over your listeners through reason. Spotlight benefits your listeners value The features of your ideasuch as how a new computer you're
advocating worksmay interest your listeners. But its benefitshow the idea will help your audiencemost strongly attract listeners' attention. Persuaders who fail to answer their listeners' question, "What's in it for me?" stand little chance of winning their minds. To understand this firsthand, consider the following table, which lists a computer's features and benefits. Which column do you find most appealing? Features The latest microprocessor Benefits Lets you work faster and use the latest applications
A 10-gigabyte hard Enables you to store more data and drive access and update it faster A flat-screen monitor Makes it easier to view more, while occupying less desk space than traditional monitors
Each benefit may appeal to listeners on one of two primary levels of motivationthe desire for gain and the fear of loss.
A benefit may enable listeners to gain something they don't currently havefor example, money, time, popularity, possessions, or a good reputation. A benefit may enable listeners to avoid losing something they currently have.
Research shows that the fear of loss is actually a more powerful motivator than the prospect of gain. For example, the fear of losing money you already have is a more powerful motivator than gaining money you don't have! Think about which benefits your audience would value most. Then develop a unique value proposition (or UVP) for your proposal by asking these questions:
What benefits does my proposal provide? What will my audience gain? What will they avoid losing? What evidence shows that these benefits are real? Are there compelling and credible testimonials, examples, statistics, and graphic representations available? What makes my proposal unique? What's different and unusual about my idea? Why should my audience accept my proposal and not others'?
By spotlighting the unique advantages of your proposition, you convince listeners that your idea merits serious consideration. See also Steps for Defining a Unique Value Proposition. Select the right words The words you select can strongly determine whether your listeners consider your proposal. The table below provides examples: Your selection of words Affirmative language, communicating precisely what you expect to happen Assertive speech, presenting your arguments with confidence Acceptance of responsibility for your circumstances Win-win language that fosters cooperation Example of what Example of to say what not to say "When you finish that report, we'll celebrate by going out for a pizza." "I believe that our project needs additional funding." "If you finish that report, we'll celebrate by going out for a pizza." "I would guess that our project needs additional funding."
"I'll have the "I can't help you. person who is " responsible phone you" "That's a new approach. Let's talk it through to see where we end up." "Maybe you should run some numbers, because I don't see that working. "
Phrasing that makes people trust your integrity
"This is a much better deal for you than the previous one."
"To be perfectly honest, I think this deal is perfect for you."
Whenever possibleand only when appropriate to your audiencesprinkle attention-grabbing words, such as "easy," "free," "guaranteed," "proven," and "results," throughout your persuasion communications. Most of these are borrowed from sales, and, despite their heavy use, are remarkably tried-and-true in their effectiveness. See also Tips for Keeping Your Message Simple and Tips for Speaking with Confidence. By structuring your presentation effectively, providing the best evidence, spotlighting your proposal's benefits, and selecting the right words, you boost your chances of winning your listeners' minds. Now let's see how to capture their hearts. Winning Your Audience's Heart The most logical argument won't persuade people unless you've also connected with them on an emotional level. In fact, emotions play an even more powerful role in human decision making than facts, numbers, and a rational assessment of a proposal's benefits. Why? For several reasons:
Emotion-evoking presentationssuch as gripping storiesare more interesting and memorable than statistics and facts. Emotion tends to prompt behavioral changes more quickly than logical appeals do. Responding emotionally requires less effort than logically weighing the pros and cons of a presentation. Emotion-arousing arguments distract people from noticing the speaker's intention to persuade.
In the most successful persuasive situations, people first accept the presenter's proposal unconsciously, based on their emotional response. Then they justify their decision based on a logical assessment of the facts. The language you choose and the way you compose your argument exert a major impact on listeners' emotions. Use the following tools freely in presenting your ideas:
Vivid descriptions Metaphors Analogies Stories
Vivid descriptionswords that paint evocative images in people's mindsdeeply tap into listeners' emotions. For example, suppose you want to persuade your supervisor to approve a new policy that will enable some employees to telecommute several days each week. You anticipate that your supervisor will worry that telecommuting may reduce worker productivity. To persuade him otherwise, you vividly describe team members working diligently from their home offices, free of the many distractions that crop up in the office on a typical workday. You contrast that picture with one of employees being frequently interrupted by well-meaning coworkers who stop by to chat. As you paint these images in your supervisor's mind, he begins experiencing two emotions: a desire for a more focused, industrious staff, and an aversion to the disruptive reality you've described. He agrees to consider telecommuting as a viable alternative. Metaphors A metaphor is an imaginative way of describing something as something else, for example, "Time is money." Organizing metaphors are overarching worldviews that shape a person's everyday actions; for instance, "Business is war." People reveal their organizing metaphors through the language they use when speaking about the issue at hand. For example, a manager who sees business as war might say things like, "We can't concede ground," "We're being outflanked," or "We have to defend market share." To change someone's organizing metaphor:
1. Identify a compelling replacement metaphor; for example, "business as partnership." This
metaphor focuses a business's efforts on building win-win relationships with key stakeholders, rather than on defeating competitors.
2. Highlight the weaknesses of your audience's worldview using their metaphor. For
example, "By focusing on competitors instead of customer support, we've allowed our customer-satisfaction levels to fall."
3. Provide examples of other companies that have achieved success using your replacement
metaphor, as in "ABC's sales have increased 18% since the company appointed account managers to collaborate with the sales team." Replacing someone's organizing metaphor is never easypeople cling tightly to their worldviews. But by providing powerful evidence of the flaws in an existing metaphor and the veracity of the new one, you can persuade others to at least consider a different outlook. See also Steps for Introducing a New Organizing Metaphor. Analogies Analogiescomparisons that include the words "like" or "as"enable you to relate a new idea to one that's already familiar to your audience. Analogies help people understand and therefore accept a new idea. Analogies also engender feelings of familiarity, which many people find reassuring.
Incongruous analogies and those that use humor are all the more memorable. For example, when Benjamin Franklin once said, "Fish and visitors start to smell in three days," he delivered a vivid message of why people tire of visitors who outstay their welcome. Stories Stories also help make presentations come alive and drive messages home. They can accomplish the following:
Grab listeners' attention with riveting plots and characters audiences can relate to Simplify complex ideas and make them concrete Evoke powerful emotions among listeners Stay in your audience's mind long after the facts have been forgotten
For instance, consider a product design manager who wants his team to generate innovative design ideas. His company is located in a region where many people have strong ties and allegiances to the local community. The manager evokes intense emotions in his team by telling the story of how outside competition is destroying businesses in his hometown. He tells of firms that have closed, childhood friends who have had to move, and office buildings that lay abandoned. He concludes his story by challenging his team to come up with ideas for "made here at home" products. His team responds with a number of practical yet innovative design ideas that tap local strengths and talents. Clearly, language can help you connect with your audience's emotions and win their hearts. But no matter how skillfully you use language to appeal to listeners' reason and emotions, you'll likely encounter at least some resistance to your proposals. Read on to learn strategies for overcoming resistance. Overcoming Resistance You've taken steps to win your audience's minds and heartsyet you're still encountering resistance from some listeners. What's going on? The fact is, even the most carefully thought out proposal can meet with resistance. For any number of reasons, one or more of your listeners have made up their minds, and you simply can't sway them. Resistance can stem from several sources. One listener may have from the outset committed to a strong position that diametrically opposes yours. Another may disagree with your idea on technical grounds. Yet another may resist for philosophical reasonsfor example, he believes that companies should outsource as little as possible, so he opposes your suggestion to outsource the management of a large project. Resistance also takes many different formsfrom head shaking to silent disagreement to outright verbal attacksnone of which translates into action supporting your plan. How do you move resisters around to your point of view? The key lies in understanding their position and then presenting the benefits of your idea to them in terms of what they value. The following guidelines can help. Identify resisters' interests
Each person's unique experiences shape his or her views of the world and influence how that individual responds to others' ideas. If you encounter resistance after presenting a proposal, avoid the temptation to keep pressing your case. Instead, think about what may be driving a resister to disagree with you. Then adapt your response accordingly. For example, suppose you want funding to conduct a study on the merits of entering a new market. The head of research and development (R&D) opposes your plan. She is concerned that entering a new market might direct company resources away from a project she wants to pursue. In this case, you might want to address her fears in your presentation, providing information on how entering a promising new market may generate more revenues for the company, which could in turn fund a broad range of new projects for the R&D group. Understand resisters' emotions Most resistance springs from two emotions:
Fear. Your audience doesn't like your idea because of its potential consequences. For instance, listeners may worry that a proposed restructuring will cost them their jobs. Distrust. Your audience doesn't like you or what you represent. For example, perhaps that R&D manager tends to view marketers as flaky and shortsighted.
By understanding the emotions driving resistance, you can take the next steps to addressing listeners' fears (e.g., how likely is it that the restructuring will end in lost jobs?) or addressing their objections to you as a person so as to improve the relationship. Listen to resisters' concerns One powerful way to improve relationships entails building trust by listening closely to resisters' concerns. By listening, you demonstrate that you understand and value these individuals as well as their concerns and ideas. When people feel that they've been heard and that their ideas are valued, they become more open to considering your ideas. The following techniques can help:
Paraphrase. Mirror the resister's points; for example, "So you're saying that you think I'm just advancing the party line." Paraphrasing prompts your listener to respond with comments such as, "Well, yeahI do." By getting the person to agree with youeven in this small wayyou establish common ground, which enables the individual to become more receptive to your ideas. Clarify the issues. Identify the resister's primary concerns; for instance, "So what I hear you saying is that you have two main problems. The first one you mentioned is probably the most important, right?" Again, you've established a level of understanding and agreement. You've also shown that you're capable of sorting out the vital issues.
Ensure that your verbal and nonverbal messages are consistent Check that your body language, tone of voice, and other aspects of nonverbal communication reinforce the spoken part of your message. If they don't, your resisters may view you as not credible or as conflicted about your positionwhich can stiffen their resistance even further.
For example, to telegraph confidence in your position, check that your posture is upright, your gestures assertive, your gaze direct, and your voice loud enough to be heardbut not so loud as to intimidate or annoy listeners. Many successful persuaders rehearse nonverbal behaviors just as much as their spoken presentations before going before an audience. Effective persuaders also recognize when they are becoming overly emotional or angrytwo behaviors that are inappropriate in many persuasion situations. They recover by openly acknowledging and apologizing for such behaviors. Having the courage to publicly admit a mistake in this way can help further establish trust and credibility. Present resisters' viewpoints before your own If you suspect ahead of time that you'll encounter resistance from listeners, prepare a two-sided argument: theirs and yours. During your presentation, acknowledge your resisters' arguments first. You'll disarm these individuals by removing the opportunity for them to oppose you. Deprived of this opportunity, they'll be more open to discussion and will participate in solving the problem at hand. Next, present your argumentclearly showing how it provides a more powerful solution than your opponents' argument does. When possible, show how you've incorporated resisters' ideas, interests, values, and concerns into your solution. In addition to addressing resistance, you can boost your persuasion skills by understanding the mental shortcuts people take when trying to decide whether to support or reject a proposal. In the next Core Concept, you'll learn more about these "persuasion triggers" and discover how to leverage them in your presentations. See also the Online Article: "Get Around Resistance and Win Over the Other Side." Understanding Persuasion Triggers People respond to persuasion in two ways: consciously and unconsciously. If someone's in a conscious mode, he or she might respond thoughtfully to a proposal, weighing its pros and cons and attending carefully to the logic and content of the message. In an ideal world, everyone would make decisions in this way. But in reality, many people don't have the time, information, or motivation to do so. They therefore switch their decision making to an unconscious mode, which means they spend less time processing information. They make decisions based more on instinct than on reason. And they resort to persuasion triggers, or mental shortcuts, to decide how to respond to a proposal. For example, Joe, a manager, might choose to accept a deal offered by Sue, a supplier's representative, over an idea offered by Bobeven though Sue's proposal is inferior to Bob's. Why? Joe likes Sue and she once did him a favor. Researchers have identified seven persuasion triggers: Contrast
Judgment, like beauty, is always relative. So when people make
decisions, they often look for a benchmark to base their decision on. For instance, suppose the first candidate you interview for a marketing manager position seems far too expensive when she asks for a starting salary of $89,000. Her request starts to look much more reasonable when you contrast her against the only other suitable candidate, who wants $110,000. To activate the Contrast trigger, start by creating a benchmark to "anchor" the judgments of the person you need to persuade. Many salespeople do this by first showing you the most expensive item in a product line. This makes a midpriced item seem that much more affordable. Liking Human beings tend to accept the ideas of people they like. Liking, in
turn, arises when people feel liked by another person and when they share something in common with him or her. For example, at direct sales engagements (where products are sold by a company representative in a person's home), invited guests (usually friends and neighbors of the host) buy more if they have a fondness for their host and feel that they share a bond with him or her. How might you activate the Liking trigger? Create bonds with peers, supervisors, and direct reports by informally discovering common interestswhether it's a shared alma mater, a passion for whitewater rafting, or a love of cooking. Demonstrate your liking for others by expressing genuine compliments and making positive statements about their ideas, solutions, abilities, and qualities. Reciprocity People feel a deep urge to repay favors in kind. This drive to reciprocate exists in all societies. For instance, when fundraisers enclose a small, seemingly insignificant gift in an envelope to potential donors, the volume of donations increases markedly. To activate the Reciprocity trigger, the rule is: Give before you ask. A small favor like lending a fellow manager one of your staff members for a few days might be repaid fivefold when you later ask for that manager's support on an important project. In considering what to give, look for solutions that meet other individuals' interests and needs as well as your own.
Social proof Individuals are more likely to follow another person's lead if what they are advocating is popular, standard practice, or part of a trend. A person who dresses or speaks vastly differently from his or her immediate colleagues or who comes from a markedly different culture usually starts with a persuasion handicap. How do you activate the Social Proof trigger? Remember the power of association: Make a connection (yourself, your company, or your product) to individuals and organizations your audience admires. Use peer power to influence horizontally, not vertically. For instance, if you're trying to convince a group of resistant people about the merits of a new project, ask a respected employee in the organization who supports the initiative to speak up for it in a team meeting. You'll stand a better chance of persuading your colleagues with this person's testimony. Commitment and consistency People are more likely to embrace a proposal if they've made a voluntary, public, and written commitment to doing so. For example, 92% of residents of an apartment complex who signed a petition supporting a new recreation center later donated money to the cause. To activate the Commitment and Consistency trigger, make others' commitments voluntary, public, and documented. Suppose, for instance, that you want to persuade an employee to submit reports on time. To inspire this behavior, link the commitment to timely reporting to the person's values (mention its benefits for team spirit). Get that understanding in writing (a memo). And make the commitment public (mention your colleagues' agreement with the memo). If getting a commitment is difficult, start small. Once you have activated this trigger, you can later turn a small commitment into a large one. Authority Many people are trained from childhood to automatically obey the requests of authority figures such as parents, doctors, and police. Authority comes from a combination of position and its associated credentials. For example, your authority as a manager in a drug company will be enhanced if you possess medical as well as business qualifications. Appropriate clothes or other trappings of authority can also increase the chances of successful persuasion. A businessperson who "power dresses" for an important presentation improves the odds that his pitch will be successful. To activate the Authority trigger, make sure the people you want to persuade are aware of the source of your authority. Leverage appropriate clothing and other trappings of authority as well. Scarcity When something is in scarce supplysuch as information, opportunities, and resourcespeople value it more. For instance, in one experiment, wholesale beef buyers were told that they were the only ones who had received information on a possible beef shortage. Their orders jumped 600%. To activate the Scarcity trigger, use exclusive information to persuade. For example, capture key decision makers' attention by saying something like, "I just got this information today. It won't be distributed until next week." Be sure the information that use is truly exclusive otherwise it could hinder your credibility.
To get the most persuasive power from the seven triggers, use them in combination rather than one at a time. Leveraging the Power of Audience Self-Persuasion In mastering the art and science of persuasion, you have a wide range of strategies at your disposal. These include establishing your credibility, understanding your audience, and capturing listeners' minds and heartsas well as overcoming resistance and activating persuasion triggers. But there's another even more powerful technique: audience self-persuasion. What is audience self-persuasion? It's a process in which you actively involve listeners in discovering the logic of your argumentin effect, getting them to persuade themselves. Persuaders use the following three techniques to transform listeners from passive recipients of a pitch to active participants in a dialogue:
Visualization Questioning Active listening
Visualization Persuaders help audiences visualize the potential benefits of their proposals. For example, researchers posing as salespeople went door-to-door "selling" cable-television subscriptions. Some potential customers received a straight pitch stressing cable TV benefits. Others were invited to imagine how cable TV would provide them with broader entertainment. Results? Among people who received the straight pitch, just 19.5% signed up. Among those who imagined using the service, a whopping 47.4% decided to subscribe to cable TV. Questioning Persuaders also use questions to engage audiences in dialogue about their proposals. In fact, questioning counts among persuaders' most effective tools. Why? Many people enjoy answering questions. Having someone care about what they think makes them feel important. But the urge to answer questions also springs from the fear that others will look down on them if they avoid or can't answer a question. By asking questions, you control the content, pace, tone, and direction of the persuasion situation. You also determine which issues doand don'tget discussed. So what kinds of questions best activate a listener's self-persuasion mechanism? There are several types of questions you can employ:
Disturbing questions. Disturbing questions get at the heart of your listeners' greatest concerns or problems. For example, suppose you're selling a parcel-tracking software system to a courier firm that's experiencing problems with lost and delayed parcels. In this case, you might ask your potential customer questions such as:
"How much unproductive time does your staff spend locating lost parcels?" "What effect is this problem having on your reputation with your clients?"
"Could this problem slow down your proposed expansion into new markets?"
These queries increase the magnitude of the lost-parcel problem in the other person's mind. The questions make the solution you're proposing more attractive, and make the listener more willing to pay a premium to solve his or her problem.
Leading questions. These questions influence how your listeners interpret facts and what they remember. They help plant specific information in your listeners' minds. For instance, suppose you're conducting a market study in which participants are viewing photos of a new product. You want them to notice and remember a particular feature of the producta special instant-replay button, for example. If you ask, "How do you like the instant-replay button?" rather than "Do you see an instant-replay button?" your participants will be far more likely to remember the button after the study.
Rhetorical questions. When you use rhetorical questions, you give the answer after asking the question. Rhetorical questions help push the listener into accepting a clearly defined proposition. Thus it's best to use them as you're summarizing your presentation or argument. To illustrate, suppose you're seeking to persuade your direct reports to adopt a new way of processing orders. They've used the existing process for a long time, and some are skeptical about the proposed change. You present your case, and then say something like, "We all know that order-processing errors have increased in the last two quarters. How else will we eliminate them if we don't overhaul the way we process orders?"
Active listening As your listeners respond to your questions, you, in turn, must become an active listener to further strengthen your presentation. Active listening means reflecting back and summarizing the content and emotions in your audience's responses to your questions. By reflecting, you show that you've heard and understood the other persona powerful step in any persuasive effort. Consider these guidelines:
Reflect content. Paraphrase the factual details you're hearing from your audience, using language such as "It sounds like . . ." "In other words, . . ." "So you're saying . . ." and "It seems that . . ." Reflect emotions. Acknowledge your listener's feelings. For instance, if an employee says, "I'm still doing the same old job. I could do it in my sleep," respond with "Seems like you're feeling bored and frustrated. Is that it?" Summarize. To redirect a conversation that has wandered off track, sum up what you've heard so far. For example, "I'm concerned that we've gone off on a tangent. Let me see if I can touch on the main points we've covered."
You can summarize at any point in a persuasion situation. But summarizing is particularly effective when:
o o o o
Emotion has begun clouding the issues. You feel your views aren't being appreciated or understood. You believe it's time to conclude an argument. You've reached an agreement and want to ensure that you and the other party share the same understanding about the deal.
By using the techniques of audience self-persuasion, you further enhance the likelihood of moving listeners to your side. Key Terms Active listening. Reflecting back and summarizing the content and emotions in your audience's comments and responses. For example, "It sounds like you're bored and frustrated in your job." Analogy. A comparison using the words like or as; for example, "Business is like war." Audience self-persuasion. A process by which your listeners persuade themselves to accept your idea. You activate audience self-persuasion by asking specific kinds of questions that encourage listeners to imagine for themselves how the change you're proposing could benefit them. Benefits. Ways in which a product or idea will help someone; for instance, a new computer enables users to work faster or store more data. Credibility. A quality that inspires others to believe in you and the ideas you propose. You establish credibility by earning others' trust and demonstrating your expertise with the idea you're proposing. Decision makers. People who have the power to approve or reject your ideas. Disturbing questions. Questions that magnify your listeners' problem in their minds, motivating them to persuade themselves of the value of your proposed solution. For example, "What effect is this problem having on your reputation with your clients?" Features. Facts about how a product or service works; for example, "This tape recorder has a high-speed playback button." Influencers. People who provide advice and information to key stakeholders and decision makers and can influence the opinions of those you're trying to persuade. Leading questions. Questions that plant specific information in listeners' minds. For example, "How do you like the easy filing feature in this software?" Metaphor. An imaginative way of describing something as something else; for example, "Business is war." When a metaphor shapes someone's viewpoint, it becomes an organizing metaphor.
Paraphrasing. Mirroring the ideas and emotions you think you're hearing in someone else's comments; for instance, "So you're annoyed because you think I'm just advancing the party line." Paraphrasing can help you identify the issues and feelings behind resistance to your proposal. Persuasion triggers. Mental shortcuts that people take to decide whether to accept or reject a proposal when they're pressed for time or lack the energy or inclination to logically weigh the pros and cons of an idea. Psychologists have identified seven persuasion triggers: Contrast, Liking, Reciprocity, Social Proof, Commitment and Consistency, Authority, and Scarcity. Persuasion. A process that enables you to change or reinforce others' attitudes, opinions, or behaviors. Receptivity. An audience's openness to a persuader and his or her ideas. Rhetorical questions. Questions that provide the answer you want your listeners to arrive at. For example, "You see the mess our files are in; how else will we get organized if we don't start using this software?" Stakeholders. People who are going to be affected by a change you're proposing. Unique value proposition (UVP). The essence of your idea; what makes your idea unique and better than alternative or competing proposals, and how it will benefit your intended audience.
Textbooks related to the document above:
Find millions of documents on Course Hero - Study Guides, Lecture Notes, Reference Materials, Practice Exams and more.
Course Hero has millions of course specific materials providing students with the best way to expand
Below is a small sample set of documents:
UCF - GEB - 3031
FosteringDiversityGEB3031:Cornerstone ClicktoeditMastersubtitlestyle ProfessorCameronM.FordMisperceptionsaboutDiversity #1:Membersofaparticulargroup areallalike #2:Weeachhaveoneidentity #3:PeoplesidentitiesdontchangeApproachestoConsidering Diversity
UCF - GEB - 3031
1GEB 3031 Exam 2 Notes Fear of conflict Blaming others for problems Belief that others cant/wont change Belief that problems will blow over Important because negative interactions detract from teamwork, communication, creativity, and leadership Differ
UCF - GEB - 3031
Myth #1: New managers and individual contributors need the same skills Reality: The skills that lead to success as an individual contributor differ markedly from those needed to manage. The skills you bring to your new position will remain valuable throug
UCF - GEB - 3031
ManagementEssentials:FosteringDiversity ManagementEssentials:Negotiation WorkingwithIndividuals:ManagingDifficultInteractions BusinessEssentials:ManagingforCreativityandInnovation(allbuttheprocessofinnovation,characteristicsof creativegroups,anddifferentt
UCF - GEB - 3031
ManagingDifficult InteractionsGEB3031:Cornerstone ClicktoeditMastersubtitlestyle ProfessorCameronM.FordDifficultInteractionsNeedtobeManaged BecauseTheyTendtobeAvoided Fearofconflict Blamingothersforproblems Beliefthatotherscant/wontchange Beliefthatpr
UCF - GEB - 3031
ManagingForCreativity& InnovationGEB3031:Cornerstone ClicktoeditMastersubtitlestyle ProfessorCameronM.FordWhatisCreativityand Innovation? Creativityisagoalorientedprocess Creativitywedsnoveltywithusefulness InnovationmayresultfromcreativesolutionsAno
UCF - GEB - 3031
NegotiationGEB3031:Cornerstone ClicktoeditMastersubtitlestyle ProfessorCameronM.FordDistributiveNegotiations: ClaimingValueAssumptions:OthersareadversariesinafixedsumgameProcesses:Identifyanddefendaposition Arguepersuasively UsepowertacticsOutcomes
UCF - GEB - 3031
PersuadingOthersGEB3031:Cornerstone ClicktoeditMastersubtitlestyle ProfessorCameronM.FordTheFoundationofPersuasionPersuasionisaprocessintendedtochangeor reinforceothersattitudes,opinions,or behaviors TherearefourelementstopersuasionEnhancingcredibilit
UCF - GEB - 3031
The Purpose of Presentations Presentations are a powerful way to communicate your message to a group. They are an opportunity to gather your audience together to engage in a two-way dialogue. Managers use presentations to: Persuade the audience to take a
UCF - GEB - 3031
SolvingBusinessGEB3031:Cornerstone ClicktoeditMastersubtitlestyle ProfessorCameronM.FordProblemsStagesinProblemSolving Process* Definetheproblem Setsolutionobjectives Generatealternativesolutions Evaluatealternatives Choose,implement,andmonitorresult
UCF - GEB - 3031
1Fostering DiversityWhat Is Diversity? Diversity is another word for differences between people. In an organizational setting, a diverse workforce comprises employees of various: Races, Genders, Ethnic, backgrounds, Ages, Physical and cognitive abilitie
UCF - ACG - 3131
ACG3131Test2Chapters35StudyGuide 1. Beabletocomputetotalassets(currentandlongterm),totalliabilities(currentandlong term),retainedearnings,andstockholdersequity. 2. Reviewpreparationoftrialbalanceshowmanyarethere,whataretheyandhowmust theybeprepared. 3. Re
UCF - ACG - 3131
Chapter 3 Example #131311. Dental Services, Inc. opened business September 1st of the year. Dr. Smith invests $20,000 cash in the business and receives 20,000 shares of $1.00 par common stock. 2. September 2nd: Purchased furniture and dental equipment o
UCF - ACG - 3131
Chapter 3 - Adjusting Entries3131 Intermediate Financial Accounting IPROBLEM #1 The following information relates to the Airflame Company at the end of 2007. They sell merchandise and magazine subscriptions. The accounting period is the calendar year. T
UCF - ACG - 3131
Chapter3ExercisesCashVersusAccrualAccounting Problem#1 ZookiesShop,aproprietorshipbusiness,conductedthefollowingtransactionsduringthefirstweekinMarch.1. Purchasedsuppliesfor$1,800.Paid200own,remaining80%tobepaidin10days. 2. Paid$30fornewspaperadvertising
UCF - ACG - 3131
Chapter 31.Debit/Credit Questions and Solutions3131 Intermediate Accounting IAcompanyreceivedcashinexchangeforissuingstock.Thistransaction: a. increased assets and increased equity b. increasedassetsandincreasedliabilities c. d. increasedassetsandincr
UCF - ACG - 3131
For each account listed below: 1) put a check mark in the appropriate column to indicate if an account is increased by a debit or by a credit. 2) put a check mark in the appropriate column to indicate if an account is a Real (Permanent) or Nominal (Tempor
UCF - ACG - 3131
For each account listed below: 1) put a check mark in the appropriate column to indicate if an account is increased by a debit or by a credit. 2) put a check mark in the appropriate column to indicate if an account is a Real (Permanent) or Nominal (Tempor
UCF - ACG - 3131
Chapter 3 Example #131311. Dental Services, Inc. opened business September 1st of the year. Dr. Smith invests $20,000 cash in the business and receives 20,000 shares of $1.00 par common stock. 2. September 2nd: Purchased furniture and dental equipment o
UCF - ACG - 3131
MULTIPLE CHOICE QUESTIONS CHAPTER 3 1. Which of the following is a nominal account? a. Prepaid Insurance b. Unearned Revenue c. Insurance Expense d. Interest Receivable 2. Which of the following errors will cause an imbalance in the trial balance? a. Omis
UCF - ACG - 3131
MULTIPLE CHOICE QUESTIONS 1.CHAPTER 3Which of the following is a nominal account? a. Prepaid Insurance b. Unearned Revenue c. Insurance Expense d. Interest Receivable Which of the following errors will cause an imbalance in the trial balance? a. Omissio
UCF - ACG - 3131
ReversingEntriesanalternatewaytohandlesomeAdjustingEntries Whodecidestousereversingentries?Theaccountantresponsibleforthebooksofthe company Doesitchangewhatisreportedonfinancialstatements?NOWhyaretheyused?Tomakedaytodaytransactionrecordingeasier.Somecom
UCF - ACG - 3131
Chapter 3Simple Interest Problems3131 Intermediate Financial Accounting INote: use 360 days for total number of days in a year. 1. On December 11, the G. Baker Corporation purchases $15,000 of equipment by issuing a 30-day, 12% note payable. The amount
UCF - ACG - 3131
Chapter 3 -1CHAPTER3THE ACCOUNTING THE INFORMATION SYSTEM INFORMATIONIntermediateAccounting 13thEdition Kieso,Weygandt,andWarfieldChapter 3 -2Learning Objectives1. 2. 3. 4.Unde rstand basic accounting te inology. rm Explain double ntry rule -e s.
UCF - ACG - 3131
CHAPTER 3 REVIEW OF THE ACCOUNTING PROCESS*ILLUSTRATION 3-3 SUMMARY OF ADJUSTMENT RELATIONSHIPS AND EXPLANATIONSType of Adjustment 1. Prepaid Expense Account Relationshio Asset and Expense Reason for Adjustment (a) Prepaid expense initially recorded in
UCF - ACG - 3131
CHAPTER 3 REVIEWING THE ACCOUNTING PROCESSIllUSTRATION 3-3 (Continued)3.Expenses are often incurred before they are paid. An expense incurred but not yet paid is called an accrued expense. If at the end of an accounting period this accrued expense has n
UCF - ACG - 3131
CHAPTER 3 REVIEW OF THE ACCOUNTING PROCESSWith the cash basis of. accounting, a revenue item is reported in the time period when the related. cash is received from the customer and an expense is recorded in .the time period in which the related cash is p
UCF - ACG - 3131
CHAPTER 3 REVIEW OF THE ACCOUNTING PROCESSThe word "accrued" is not needed in either account title, but it could be used in the liability account title if desired (the account title would then be Accrued Salaries Payable). It would be wrong to insert the
UCF - ACG - 3131
CHAPTER 3 REVIEW OF THE ACCOUNTING PROCESSIllUSTRATION 3-1 DOUBLE-ENTRY (DEBIT AND CREDIT) ACCOUNTING SYSTEM (L.O. 2)The debit and credit rules are summarized below: Asset Accounts Debit Increase + Credit Decrease Liability Accounts Debit Credit Decreas
UCF - ACG - 3131
CHAPTER 3 REVIEW OF THE ACCOUNTING PROCESSTIPS ON CHAPTER TOPICSTIP: This chapter is an extremely important one. A good understanding of this chapter and an abIlity to think and work quickly with the concepts incorporated herein are necessary for compre
UCF - ACG - 3131
Chapter 3 Review of the Accounting Process*ILLUSTRATION 3-4 ALTERNATIVE TREATMENTS OF PREPAID EXPENSES AND UNEARNED REVENUESWhen a company writes a check to pay for an item that affects expense in at least two different time periods (such as for an insu
UCF - ACG - 3131
Illustration 3-4 (continued)When a company receives cash from a customer in advance of earning the related revenue, the bookkeeper may record the receipt in one of two ways. Either as an unearned revenue (liability) or as an earned revenue. The first way
UCF - ACG - 3131
Debit/Credit Questions and Solutions1. A company received cash in exchange for issuing stock. This transaction: a. increased assets and increased equity b. increased assets and increased liabilities c. increased assets and increased revenues d. increased
UCF - ACG - 3131
ILLUSTRATION 4-4 INCOME STATEMENT SPECIAL ITEMS
UCF - ACG - 3131
Balance Sheet Accounts(1) (2)Asset accounts have debit balancesCash 10,000 20,000(6) 2,000 -2 25,000 (3) 10,800 (4) 3,500 (5) 18,000 (7) 17,000 (8) 19,000 (9) 21,600 (10) (14) (5)Accounts Receivable 190,000 115,000 (6) 6,500 (12) 68,500(3)Equipment
UCF - ACG - 3131
Accounting Standards WorksheetAACSB ACCT ELIGIBILITY PROCEDURES A. An academic unit seeking accounting accreditation by AACSB International must have appropriate governmental authorization to offer degree-granting programs either on its own or through th
UCF - ACG - 3131
CHAPTER 8 ON INVENTORIES Kiner Co. has the following data related to an item of inventory: Inventory, March 1 100 units @ $4.20 Purchase, March 7 350 units @ $4.40 Purchase, March 16 70 units @ $4.50 Inventory, March 31 130 units 1. The value assigned to
UCF - ACG - 3131
3131 Chapter 6 Examples 1. $1000 is put on deposit today to earn 6% compounded annually. What is the value of this investment at the end of 8 years? 1593.852. If you wish to be able to withdraw the sum of $8000 at the end of 12 years how much do you have
UCF - ACG - 3131
3131 Chapter 6 Examples - Solutions 1. $1000 is put on deposit today to earn 6% compounded annually. What is the value of this investment at the end of 8 years? Use the FV of a lump sum table factor of 1.59385 $1000 x 1.59385 = $1593.84 2. If you wish to
UCF - ACG - 3131
Ch.6Example OzzieElectronicssellshighendplasmaTVsandoffersa3yearwarrantyonallnewTVssold. OzziehasenteredintoanagreementwithElectronicServiceLabstoprovideallwarranty servicesonthe95TVssoldin2006.ThecontrollerforOzzieestimatesthefollowingexpected warrantyca
UCF - ACG - 3131
CHAPTER 8: INVENTORIES MEASUREMENT TIP: The term inventory or merchandise inventory is the label given to goods held by a merchandise firm ( either wholesale or retail) when goods have been acquired for resale. The terms raw materials, work in process, an
UCF - ACG - 3131
Chapter8InventoryErrorsEffectsofInventoryErrors(assumingaperiodicinventoryandignoringincometaxes) I.ApurchaseonaccountisomittedfrombothPurchasesandendinginventoryandisnotrecordedin thesucceedingyear. A. CurrentYear 1. IncomeStatement:Incomeiscorrectbecau
UCF - ACG - 3131
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?> <Error><Code>InternalError</Code><Message>We encountered an internal error. Please try again.</Message><RequestId>51042A702C7AD34C</RequestId><HostId>2eXgOeb8m0DlONPtYkXT Ru7Kp14pOfIcm4k9Nu+29DCp06WUletV9Ci7MXgIfnJm<
UCF - ACG - 3131
Tips on Inventory Gross Profit and Retail Methods Gross Profit Method TIP: Gross profit is synonymous with gross margin. TIP: The gross profit percentage (expressed as a percentage of selling price) and the cost of goods sold percentage(also expressed as
UCF - ACG - 3131
ACG3131Test4StudyGuide 1.LowerofCostorMarket:Bothconceptualandcomputational.Understanddifference betweenceiling,floorandmarket. 2.Purchasecommitmentshowtreatedforincomestatementvsbalancesheet 3.GrossProfitMethodcalculatedasboth%ofsalesand%ofsales.Understa
UCF - ACG - 3131
CHAPTER 9 INVENTORY QUESTIONS WITH SOLUTIONS 1. Tim McInnes requires an estimate of cost of goods sold lost by fire on April 2. Merchandise on hand January 1, was $ 38,000. Purchases since January 1 were $ 72,000; freight-in $ 3,400 and purchase returns a
UCF - ACG - 3131
Chapter 10 Steps for Capitalizing InterestILLUSTRATION 10-1 (continued)
UCF - ACG - 3131
Capitalization of Interest ExamplesSolution: Avoidable Interest: Weighted Average Accumulated Expenditures x Interest Rate $ 1,000,000 $ 800,000 x 15% x 10.42 * = Avoidable Interest = 150,000 = 83,360 $ 233,360 Principal $ 700,000 $ 500,000 $1,200,000 $
UCF - ACG - 3131
Capitalized Interest Solution: Marvel a. Computation of Weighted Average Expenditures Expenditures Date 8/30 12/1 Amount $ 200,000 $ 400,000 Capitalization Period = Weighted Average Accumulated Expenditures $ 50,000 -0$ 50,000 = $ 5,000x 3/12 x0Interest
UCF - ACG - 3131
During 2010, Barden Building Company constructed various assets at a total cost of The weighted average accumulated expenditures on assets qualifying for capitalization of interest during 2010 were $5,600,000 The company had the following debt outstanding
UCF - ACG - 3131
CHAPTER 10 EXAMPLES OF NONMONETARY EXCHANGES AND SOLUTIONS Use the following information for questions 1 and 2. A machine cost $120,000, has annual depreciation of $20,000, and has accumulated depreciation of $90,000 on December 31, 2006. On April 1, 2007
UCF - ACG - 3131
Chapter 10 Multiple Choice Questions and Questions1. Which of the following statements is true regarding capitalization of interest? a. Interest cost capitalized in connection with the purchase of land to be used as a building site should be debited to t
UCF - ACG - 3131
Chapter 10 Multiple Choice Questions and Questions1. Which of the following statements is true regarding capitalization of interest? a. Interest cost capitalized in connection with the purchase of land to be used as a building site should be debited to t
UCF - ACG - 3131
Problem 1Calculate depreciation. A machine which cost $200,000 is acquired on October 1, 2006. Its estimated salvage value is $20,000 and its expected life is eight years. Instructions Calculate depreciation expense for 2006 and 2007 by each of the follow
UCF - ACG - 3131
Chapter 11 Depreciation Solutions 1. a. Straight Line Depreciation $ 645,000 - $ 60,000 12 = b.Sum of the years digits $ 48,750 Depreciation amount for each of the years.12 x 13 2= 78 Year 1 Year 2 Year 312/78 x ( 645,000- 60,000) = $ 90,000 11/78 x (6
UCF - ACG - 3131
Chapters 9 Inventory SOLUTIONS:1. AppropriateItem A B CDUpper Limit ("Ceiling") $1.80 1.80 1.801.80Lower Limit ("Floor") $1.10 1.10 1.101.10Designated Market $1.10 1.15 1.101.65Inventory Valuation (Totals) $3,270 3,450 3,3004,800E.1.801.10
Old Dominion - PHILL - Phill 110
REVIEWFORTEST#1(ODU)YOULLNEEDTOKNOW: HowDescartessideasinfluencedthoseofPeterUnger. WhyPeterUngerthinksthatknowledgeofthephysicalworldisimpossible. WhyUngertalksaboutanevilscientists. HowUngersviewofknowledgediffersfromthatofJohnHospers. WhatHospersmeans
McMaster - KINESIOLOG - 1Y03
Terminology and the Body Plan1-1Overview of Anatomy and Physiology Anatomy: scientific discipline that investigates the bodys structure Physiology: scientific investigation of the processes or functions of living things1-2Structural & Functional Orga
McMaster - KINESIOLOG - 1Y03
HOW DO TWINS DEVELOP?29-1Embryology, Growth and Development29-2Where it all Began29-3Prenatal Development From conception to birth: three stages 1. Germinal period: first 2 weeks of development during formation of primitive germ layers 2. Embryonic
McMaster - KINESIOLOG - 1Y03
Histology: The Study of Tissues4-1Tissues and Histology Tissue classification: structure of cells extracellular matrix cell function 4 primary tissue types Epithelial Connective Muscle Nervous4-2Embryonic Tissue Germ layers Endoderm Inner layer
McMaster - KINESIOLOG - 1Y03
Functional Organization of Nervous TissueFunctions of the Nervous System Senses changes with sensory receptors Integration interprets and remembers changes Homeostasis Mental activity - consciousness, thinking, memory, emotion Controls of muscles and gl