Many people think William Shatner is the master negotiator based on his priceline.com commercials, but I believe my husband actually owns the title. His dad was in auto sales, and he has continued the family tradition. In fact, he practices his wiles—I mean skills—on me on a regular basis.
For example, after our beloved dachshund, Noel, passed away in December, we adopted a cream-colored dachshund puppy named Puff. But my husband had his heart set on rescuing a dog from a shelter. So every night thereafter, he showed me pictures on his iPad of Oscar, a five-year-old, long-haired, sweet-faced chocolate dachshund who “desperately needs a good home” (my husband’s words). I absolutely did not want two dogs. My husband absolutely wanted Oscar.
Fast-forward a week, and we were in New Jersey picking up Oscar, who, I’m glad to say, has settled in very nicely (the puppy, on the other hand, is a bit of a terror…). My husband, the master negotiator, engaged my emotions; made all the right promises (“of course, I’ll take him and Puff out at 5 a.m. so you can sleep”); and had me in the car before I finished saying, “I guess so.”
The strategies used to negotiate multimillion-dollar deals are the same strategies used to negotiate which movie you watch with your spouse—or, in my case, how many dogs to own. Only the stakes change. But although negotiation affects virtually every aspect of life, the skills rarely are taught, and many organizations actually don’t know how to teach them. That’s why we decided to focus on negotiation training in this issue. See “Give & Take.”
New hires, in particular, probably would benefit from some negotiation training, especially as they navigate the politics and processes of their new positions. Speaking of onboarding, a recent Training magazine survey, conducted in conjunction with Avatar HR Solutions, assessed the effectiveness of organizations’ onboarding programs and their impact on helping new hires get acclimated to their new role and organization. Some 73 percent of responding organizations have an onboarding program in place, but only 51 percent of them feel it is effective, the survey of more than 1,300 organizations found. See “Welcome!” for more survey results and best practices.
Another question that often arises when hiring new employees is, “Is an MBA really necessary or would employees do better to receive their higher business education working in the corporate world?” Check out our cover story on p. 20 to see how companies are helping new employees apply what they learn in B-school classrooms to the real world of tight budgets and—you guessed it—ongoing negotiations.
Now if only I could figure out how to negotiate a deal with Puff not to take off with my slippers at every opportunity…