423: Negotiation: A Tool For Your Successful Career Change

What really makes someone a great negotiator? It’s probably not what you think it is.



David Sally
David Sally, Author & Economist

David Sally is an innovative strategist and behavioral economist. In 1995, he received his PhD in Economics from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. His research in behavioral game theory has been widely published and informed his award-winning teaching of negotiations and leadership at Cornell’s Johnson School and Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business.

on this episode

The difference between an average career change and a successful career change often lies in the negotiation.

David Sally is an author and award-winning teacher of negotiations with years of business experience. He shares what really makes someone a great negotiator – and it’s not what you think it is.

What you’ll learn

  • David’s journey from being a political science major to teaching negotiations at Cornell University
  • The biggest contributions to becoming a great negotiator
  • The struggles woman have with negotiating (and how to work with/overcome them)

Success Stories

Thank you for guiding me through the negotiation process of asking for a raise. Even in this economy you convinced me to follow through. I also appreciate your thoughts on what I should include in my portfolio; it made the difference in the value added that I was able to present to my supervisor.

Ken Russell, Career Placement Coordinator, United States/Canada

It turned out to be the best fit possible they had all the tools and all the resources. It helped me to approach the job search in a completely different way. It allowed me to put myself out there in a vulnerable way (even in the interviews) and it allowed me to get exactly what I wanted.

One of the most key things we talked about was feeling instead of thinking, I would think all the time, about this and that, I would just take time to feel. That is the key for really understanding where you are supposed to be and what you love.

Kelly , Leadership Recruiter, United States/Canada

David Sally 00:00

But I'm going to keep it in my interior and not necessarily in my exterior. And the very best negotiators are able to do that. Be people who can preserve relationships, their counterparts will come to them again and again to deal with even though they know, the interaction will be great. But ultimately, there's going to be a strong demands coming at them. They know that the tough fair negotiator will tell them 'no', might tell them no in a really nice way., but it will be clear what the limits are.

Introduction 00:34

This is the Happen To Your Career podcast, with Scott Anthony Barlow. We help you stop doing work that doesn't fit you, figure out what does and make it happen. We help you define the work that's unapologetically you, and then go get it. If you're ready to make a change, keep listening. Here's Scott. Here's Scott. Here's Scott.

Scott Anthony Barlow 00:58

Negotiation is one of my very favorite things. I know that makes me weird. I'm totally okay with that. However, what I found is the difference between an average career change and a very, very successful career change often lies in the negotiation.

David Sally 01:15

Part of that is just the way our minds are wired for important decisions and negotiation. You know, negotiating a job offers is somehow no different than retirement savings and that level but it's also people don't know what to do to prepare.

Scott Anthony Barlow 01:31

That's David Sally. He's an award winning teacher of negotiations with many years of business experience, but he's also an author of a really wonderful book on negotiation called "One Step Ahead". He shares what makes someone a really great negotiator. And guess what? It's probably not what you think.

David Sally 01:51

It probably begins with my first job out of college, I was a political science major, undergraduate, and like a lot of young people coming out, especially back in the day, so we're talking fully admit my age, we're talking the early 1980s[a]. I was headed to law school without any clue of what it meant to be a lawyer. It's just a lot of political science majors that I would go to, you know, I'd like to college, I'd like studying, I'd like the classroom, I'll just go off to law school. And I realized, I came to this somehow, not so blinding insight that when you're headed off on a whole path without really having experienced much of the world. I grew up in Chicago as the oldest of three sons of two academics. So we were... I was, you know, I grew up in a family where the... we had a blackboard in the dining room, that's how nerdy of a family I grew up. And I realized, you know, I don't know anything about the world, why am I headed off to law school? So I went and decided, well, no, I'm going to, I will still follow through, but I'll defer any kind of acceptance. And I'm going to go out and work in the world. And I was lucky enough to get a job at Bain & Company, the corporate strategy business, and their headquarters in Boston. They were still a small to medium sized firm at the time. And I had a blast for three years there[b]. And I realized, I really loved doing strategy, and that kind of work and working with a variety of interesting businesses and very intense level of work. But I knew that, my wife and I, and we were a serious couple at the time that we were going to have kids, I knew we wanted to have kids, we wanted to, and I knew I didn't want to travel two and three days every week while having kids. So I thought I could keep doing this for a while because we were still a year away from getting married. And we were certainly going to be a few years away from having our first kid. And I said, you know, "If I know I'm going to leave, at some point in the next three to five years[c], why not get started now?" Because I had made the decision that I was going to re-enter the "family business", which was academia. So I left Bain & Company to go get my PhD at University of Chicago, in economics, not in political science. I thought that economics was a good field for me to combine my basic what now was three years[d] of business experience with some of the issues that I thought were important to me from my undergraduate studies. And while the University of Chicago I got interested in what was then we're talking now, the mid 1980s[e], the new subfield of behavioral economics started by Danny Kahneman, who's become famous for his thinking fast and thinking slow and also famous because he won the Nobel Prize for it.

Scott Anthony Barlow 04:43

There's that.

David Sally 04:44

Yeah, there's that. Yeah. And I realized I was never really fully an economist. I'm really more of a broader social scientist, and I'm interested in ideas that cross disciplinary boundaries. And so that's what I wanted to do work somewhere in the space that connected economic ideas of people maximizing their utility and trying to pursue their self interest with the social psychology ideas that people don't always think clearly about what their options are. And this is a topic obviously, that you spend a lot of time on. When people think about their career choices and things like that, it turns out, well, economists assumed automatically that the more important that decision, the more rational people will be. Right? It was orthodox economists would say, okay, we agree that people don't buy a gallon of milk purely rationally every time. But when it comes to big dollar things, or things that impact their life, you know, their well being, well, they will think it through, they'll make option charts, they will draw tree diagrams, figure out everything, and they will really hone in on maximizing and turns out now, that's actually, they're probably... consumers are probably better at picking out the best value for a gallon of milk than they are about thinking about big issues like career choices, or where to put, where to invest their retirement savings and things like that. So those were the kinds of issues that got me interested.

Scott Anthony Barlow 06:15

Yeah. To support that, I saw a funny statistic that was pulled from a broader study, but it paired up the amount of time on average Americans spend shopping for a TV or a computer, versus the amount of time spent on deciding a career change, or also had some investing into retirement, any number of other things, I had all of these things that were absurd. The TV one over every time or the computer went over every time to a ridiculous level. So I absolutely love the crossing of interdisciplinary ideas, concepts, experiences. So I think that's one of the reasons I appreciated the book so much, and how you put together one step ahead. However, before we go down that road, I really wanted to ask you, you mentioned when you were considering going to law school, you somehow had the foresight to say, "Hey, I need to get some real world experience." And then later on too, as you were deciding, hey, do I stay for another couple of years anticipating that years in the future, potentially years in the future, you were going to have children be married those types of things, and it would no longer line up. And then you said, "Hey, why not do this now versus later?" So I'm super curious about that. Because that's not the normal path. And I love it. Not just because it's not the normal path. But I'm super curious, what led you to those? What was behind that? Because it wasn't a normal set of decisions.

David Sally 07:50

Yeah, that's a good question. And there, and like you said, there are two different decisions. We need to unpack them both. And then I have to, after we do that, I need to go to a third confession, which I think is also very relevant for you and this podcasts about the way that life works. I think the law school thing was easy, because it was so, as much as I say, I'm not an economist, I just think I'm a really enlightened economist. I mean, this is part of why I like it. I understand economists, the whole point of behavioral economics was economists don't seem to understand humans very well. You know, they got good models of markets and certain markets, but not all markets. But, wow, they really don't seem to understand how human beings really tick. And I think one of the qualities, one of the things that I aand we could source this back to having read ridiculous amounts of novels when I was a kid or just having an, I think I've always been a very empathetic person. I understand how other people are thinking, I think it was part of the reason I was really good consultantt. I could go down to I was the most baby faced 22 year old working at Bain & Company looked like I was 14 and one of our clients was down in the oil field in Louisiana. And I was solely responsible for, he was the general manager of oilfield services company, is a grizzled, caging guy who must have been like, he looked like 60 years older than me, but he wasn't 40 years older than me, and he had been in the business for a year. And here I am looking like I'm 12. And I'm gonna, you know, I'm supposed to advise him and help him, well, you know, if you kind of understand how people tick If you value their words, if you can get inside their heads a little bit and are very adaptable. And that's, of course, a big theme of one step ahead. It's how do you develop those capabilities? So I think I've always had that ability to identify with other people. And that sort of has been a quality. So I guess, in some sense, I do that with my own brain when I think through, okay, what are really the options that I had at the time when I said okay, I can defer law school or I did really well, I did well on my grades I did well on the LSATs, that option sitting there anytime I want to pull that, but what's not going to be sitting there is the chance to do an internship or be, you know, come out of college, in the regular college recruiting cycle and being able to, at that time especially go through that. So I thought, oh, well, that's a pretty easy decision, because I'm kind of doing I'm recognizing my own decision making. And again, this is a big theme that I want all the listeners to think about that not only in negotiations, but in career decision making you want them, the most advanced people, the smartest people are able to both be making the decision and monitoring what they're actually using to make the decision at the same time. So let's bring it to the world of negotiations. I'm actually bargaining, I'm making an offer, but I'm seeing and I'm monitoring myself my own speech, but I'm also monitoring how my counterpart is thinking about things. So I think I'm good at that. And I realized, you know, you're kind of doing this as a default. Why are you doing this? You can defer. So that's the law school decision, the Bain decision to leave early was honestly, there were some, I was really good at it. There were some frustrations for me at the firm, the firm I was at, and I think this is very again, might be relevant to some of the folks that are listening to the podcast, Bain had changed from a small firm to a medium large firm, and the character of the corporate culture had changed was you could see that it had changed, and it was going to continue to change. So when I first joined, we were in the Fanueil Hall Warehouse in Boston, that was the main headquarters. And I could walk, you could walk down one hallway. And you could walk by all four founders offices, I could see everybody in the firm and a five minute walk down a long warehouse hallway and everybody's office, it's all open plan. And so really small firm and the nature of the firm, it became so successful, it grew 35% every year[f] that I was there that by the final year, when I was making this decision to leave, the people that were attracted to Bain had moved from being very risk taking entrepreneurial types, because it was a startup kind of firm to blue chip kind of candidates who were different people and different people to work with than originally. So I kind of saw that I was less happy there than I was at the beginning and I could kind of forecast where it was going. And you know, it just worked out in the timing of my personal life that my wife and I were getting married, she was going off to medical school thought, well, if I'm going to pull the parachute, I'll pull it now and go to graduate school. Yeah, go get my degree in economics. Now, here's the console. That's the two decisions that I think I impact. Here's the confession, I thought what I wanted to do was to be, and some of the listeners may know this name, Michael Porter, especially in the 1980s and 1990s, as a Harvard Business School professor of strategy, and he was the number one writer in corporate strategy at the time, and his books are still, you know, invaluable books. And he had a sweet ass life. He wrote best selling books, he consulted for Fortune 500 companies at probably ridiculously hourly rates, thought a little bit. I thought, you know, what I want to do is be a poor man's Michael Porter, you know, I want to do some strategy research, I'll write some journal articles, I get my PhD and I will have a little consulting business on the side. And let's be realistic, I won't be Michael Porter, but there's room in the market for you know, some other people below his umbrella or doing something, you know, a smaller niche play. And then for reasons, mainly because I had grown up in Chicago, I thought, well, I applied to a number of different programs. But I thought I got into University of Chicago, the Business School PhD program, I thought, well, go back to Chicago. I love Chicago, but it is maybe the single worst place to go, if you want to become Michael Porter, like a Harvard Business School Professor like, with consulting business. University of Chicago is way too serious about economics and the kind of pure academic pursuit. It's the worst possible, I should have gone to Harvard Business School, but I went to Chicago. And then as we talked about earlier, not only did I go to Chicago, which wasn't the right place to go, but then I ended up getting hooked on behavioral economics, which is not gonna lead to doing Michael Porter life. It's gonna be...

Scott Anthony Barlow 14:40

That's two strikes Michael Porter life.

David Sally 14:44

I know. I don't, either, yeah, but it just... I got hooked on behavioral economics. I said no, these are the, you know, as you described, you know, this is the intersection that I want to kind of play around within for a few years[g]. So the best laid plans I guess, which is some story, I'm sure you've heard many, many times, Scott.

Scott Anthony Barlow 15:02

Best laid plans. Yes about that. I feel like we could have an eight hour discussion just on that alone. However, I am really curious about, what took place between then and now? Somehow, somewhere, those best laid plans went awry. And then you began to have an interest as a relates to the, well, I'm going to call it the art and science of negotiation. How did that come about?

David Sally 15:31

That came about because one thing that behavioral economists can teach really well, so I got my PhD, and I got my first teaching job, research job at Cornell University at the business school. And one thing that business schools teach and teach very well is negotiations. And so I was offered the chance my first year[h] to begin teaching negotiations. And I thought, as well as I taught a core class in general management. And I think that the thinking in negotiations was, I have a bunch of real world business experience. And I have behavioral economics, which is a nice disciplinary to the art and science of it is the science part of negotiation. So I started teaching negotiations, and it's honestly, it may be the best, let's keep this confidential between us, it may be the single best teaching gig in a business school, because there's not a single student who walks into the class thinking that they don't want to be there, they know they're kind of negotiate for the rest of their career, they know that it's a class that they are really eager to take. It's also a super fun class, because every week, the way that I teach it, and the way that most people teach it, you are in a simulated negotiation. And you might be an owner of a house, you might be an HR manager interviewing different candidates, negotiating a job offer, all kinds of situations that we put the students in, ranging from very straightforward, simple, one off purchase of an item to very complex diplomatic kind of situations. So the class always combines this experiential element of actually having done in negotiation, we do that in the first part. And then we come back and show everybody that results, some people did really well, some people do poorly. And we spend the next amount of class time trying to unpack why that is. So I had to make myself smart about the negotiation literature in terms of the academic side of things in order to teach the class. And as I did that, and so we're talking about 1995 or so when I started teaching it, I began to get my own ideas about some things that I thought were done correctly in the literature and some enhancements that could be there. And just got really fluent in the research, much of which is done in psychology labs, or business school laboratories, I'm just kind of judgment and decision making. But there's a whole stream of negotiation researchers and I got to know that literature really well and saw some things that some ideas that I thought could add to it. And I began to bring those into the classroom. And in fact, this book, "One Step Ahead", I had started. So I talked for about a decade at Cornell, and then the last number of years at Dartmouth Tuck School of Business. I began about 10 years, actually 12 years ago[i]], in the wrap up class to begin to do what is in the book, some of the data and finding some of the ideas about how to be tough and fair, how to be sophisticated, those began to filter into my kind of wrap up class for the quarter. And it became a book.

Scott Anthony Barlow 18:50

One of the things that you just mentioned, you mentioned the ideas about how to be tough, or how to be fair. And I think that the toughness part is something that is different, or stood out to me compared to much of what the literature and also research is out there. And you dug deeper into that than what I've seen in other places. And it initially stood out to me because one of the things that I heard you say and I think you've also written is something to the effect of good people need to be able to negotiate with toughness, otherwise bad people always win. And that, to be honest, that statement actually hit me badly. First, because I'm like, hold on, what does he mean by toughness? And what about bad people versus good people? Like those are the things that into my brain, but as I kept going in your book, you start to really define what you mean when you say toughness. And I'm wondering if you could shed a little bit of light on that now for all of our listeners, first of all, because I found this very useful is to begin to unpack what does toughness actually mean and what role does it play as it relates to, not just negotiations but interactions as well leading up to negotiate. So what do you mean when you say toughness, first of all?

David Sally 20:02

Yeah. Well, I think you put your finger on a really important point, which is, I think, depending on the culture we come from, and for those of us coming from the US, we hear the word toughness, and we think a red face angry muscle man, that's toughness, right? That's we have this very male centric exterior version of what we think that characteristic is. And it may go back to western movies, and John Wayne, and you know, the PhD dissertations in English literature, I'm sure have been written on this. But for me, the single finding that comes out, so part of what I share with readers is that version of toughness makes it seem like, okay, I understand how that could be helpful. I've seen people operate like that in the business world or in other parts of my life. And sometimes that seems to go pretty well form, I profile in the book, Sam Zell, the billionaire real estate investor in Chicago, who fancies himself the grave dancer, he nicknamed himself and he is this version of toughness is very exterior and very apparent. And I think when people feel the see that version of toughness, you said, "Well, that's going to crowd out every positive quality that I want, as a person, as a business person, as just a human being, it's going to be... I can't do that." So in my classroom, I take... I actually, let me step back for just a sec, I'm going to come to the toughness, the data. So I actually part of how I make this very real for the students is their grades dependent on how good of a contract they sign. So they get evaluated every week on what kind of deal they made. And we soften an oval a little bit by dropping, you know, if they have a really disastrous one, the two lowest outcomes are dropped. And I won't go through all the details, but I basically get a performance score over the entire quarter. Or if I'm teaching corporate executives over a week long executive program. So I have a performance measure that says, "Okay, this person did 10, or 12, different deals, and pretty consistently, they came above average." And so when you total that up, that becomes a really high performing negotiator. And I see on the other end, obviously, some low performing people. After every negotiation, and this is a tool that's used by other business school professors, counterparts rate each other on personal qualities. Were you a good communicator? Were you fair? Were you a rational? Were you emotional? Were you tough? And so at the end of the quarter, and in the book, "One Step Ahead", I can say, okay, what's your mental model of what it means to be a really great negotiator? How important is it to be prepared, to be tough, to be creative? And people have different mental models, it tends to be in the main way that people are correct with their mental models is they think preparation is important, creativity is important and good communication is important. All true. They also have some doubts about toughness, some people think it's really great. Other people think, "Oh, no, that's going to really hurt you." Most business school executives, and many, many executives also think it's really important to be fair, to be seen as fair, it's good for relationships, it's good like that. And the data reveals that the single most important quality is to be tough, is to be seen and be perceived as tough. And you say, "Okay, wow, this is a dismal view of life." Again, if we're thinking about toughness as this kind of macho, horrible person to deal with. But the kicker comes, especially for the students who have been together for an entire quarter, 10 weeks[j] when I say, "Oh, well, let me show you five of your peers in the classroom who manage not only to be seen as the most tough people in the class, but also the most fair, and indeed, every year, there are a handful of people who are seen as very fair and very tough. Well, how can that be? Well, it can only be if we're wrong about the surface understanding of what toughness really is, it's not creating interpersonal conflict, there are ways to signal toughness to the other side where it's much more of an interior quality where you can be fluid and accommodating and easy to deal with on the outside. But toughness is really an interior quality and this is now we're getting back to sort of the way I think about toughness, I think about it as and these are great qualities when you're thinking about changing career or pursuing a career. It's about perseverance. It's about having goals. It's about being dedicated. It's being willing to say no when you have to say no, that you will draw and an image in the book is to think of the relationship of toughness and fairness are the sophisticated negotiator, as an ancient Chinese coin, which we've all seen at one time, or another, which is a round coin, only punched out of the middle was a square. And that was because the Chinese used to carry it around on a string their coins. So this idea is toughness is the square and the insight, it's sharp, it's no, it's the willingness to say, no, it's perseverance, its integrity. But the outside is round, it's fluid, you're accommodating, you say, "Yes, I can, I will talk with you with my counterpart about anything you want to talk about. But ultimately, in my interior, I have goals, I have objectives, and I have aggression in there. But I'm going to keep it in my interior and not necessarily in my exterior." And that's what I think these, the very best negotiators are able to do that be people who can preserve relationships, their counterparts will come to them again and again to deal with even though they know the interaction will be great. But ultimately, there's going to be a strong demands coming at them. They know that the tough fair negotiator will tell them no, might tell them no in a really nice way. But it will be clear what the limits are. That is the version of toughness as being much more about interior qualities than external performance kind of getting red in the face, or anger or macho stuff.

Scott Anthony Barlow 26:26

That is, I believe, and I found it to be a much more useful, helpful, functionally, well useful and helpful functionally as a way to not just negotiate, but also I would say influence as well. And what I'm curious about is how we can take those ideas, the idea of toughness, the idea of fairness, the idea of that's not a dichotomy, necessarily, that is actually something that can coexist when you have different definitions or boxes drawn around what those actually are. So how can we take those ideas? And how can we use them? We take like a real situation that we have somebody going through right now where they are in the, I would say beginning stages, what I would call the beginning stages of a job offer negotiation and for the sake of protecting the innocent and not so innocent, let's go ahead and just call this person "Ruth". Ruth sounds like a great name. But anyhow, Ruth right now is at the place where she is anticipating a job offer, that's probably likely to happen in the next two weeks[k] here. And right then and there is a great point because that's where we can begin to use some of these concepts functionally. So take me through this idea as Ruth goes through her different stages of bargaining and negotiating as a relates to a job offer, how might she bring in some of these ideas for toughness, fairness, and everything else we've talked about up till now?

David Sally 28:03

It's a great question. And it's one that I'm... when I'm teaching both MBAs and executive. One of the main reasons people take a negotiation classes is to be able to ask the professor this question, you know, I'm going through a job offer.

Scott Anthony Barlow 28:16

Not here for the class, but I do anticipate... sometime in this quarter.

David Sally 28:21

I want to bump up my salary. Yeah.

Scott Anthony Barlow 28:23

Can I schedule my office time now?

David Sally 28:25

Yeah, exactly. Definitely. No, the first class, never by the office hours, at the end of first class, we're at an up "Hey, do you mind if I come by to your office and talk to you about it?" And it's totally, totally fair. So I'm going to give let's deal with Ruth situation, I'm going to give some of my generic advice and see if we can work it into the kind of round on the outside and square on the inside.

Scott Anthony Barlow 28:45


David Sally 28:46

So round on the outside for me, one of the main things, I heard a couple points. One is the job offer negotiation is you are already a pseudo employee or pseudo independent contractor with the organization you're talking about with, you're already being evaluated. And if you think you're not, you're sadly mistaken. So therefore, the accommodating the roundness part is to be hyper aware of that fact. And then they use vocabulary and ideas that have currency within the organization that you're talking with. So let me give you two examples that I can think of in my own past where I've counseled students. So I might have students who are eager to do what I did back in the day with a strategy consulting firm, that kind of firm is analytical data driven. So therefore, if I'm going to negotiate with them, I want to negotiate on facts, evidence, numbers, tables, spreadsheets, I want to show them that I can gather the relevant data that I can parse it through that I can say, "Hey, here's what my peers have, you know, here's the average starting salary for people who are like me, here's my data, I'll share it with you completely. Here's how I've crunched it and made it, I'm not kind of throw a US spreadsheet with, I'm going to show you that I'm already a consultant that I'm going to, I might put it in a chart, I'm going to think about the language and the ways whatever clues I have in terms of how they would communicate it." A marketing, let's say, it's more of a marketing or sales job, similar kind of thing. I want to be negotiating with the language and the style and the culture that's relevant for them and making my... so then I'm probably more in whatever it means to pitch in that particular company, in that particular work, then I'm pitching myself, okay, what does it mean to pitch yourself, especially pitch yourself to a particular organization, there are clues that you can gather from your the interactions that you've had from some research. So that's the way I would think about the roundness of kind of adapting the fluidity to work with the counterpart that you're dealing with in a way that, as you said, totally correctly, this is negotiation is influence, I'm not trying to change the way they're or hopefully confirmed the way they're thinking about me how awesome I am, right? This squareness comes to, there are basic economic realities. If poor Ruth is negotiating a job right now, with unemployment at the level set it is, it just on a macro economic level, leverage is going to be limited. So you've got to be... that is the square part, that is kind of seeing life clearly north south. But so the Chinese when they had this image, the Emperor set in a square in the middle and could see clearly north, south, east, west. That's part of what you do in the square, I have my dreams and my ideals. But I'm looking clearly north, south, east, west. And if I'm negotiating a job right now, with unemployment at 15%, plus, and if I don't have another offer in hand, then I want to be extra careful, I want to see clearly how much leverage I really have in a situation. In other situations I want to not be afraid of when they do have leverage. And I see north south east west that I am the number one candidate or they've already committed to me, then I want to make sure that I leverage that. And that's toughness. That's like seeing things clearly. And being willing to have there's a courage to the interior part of toughness, that I think people who were exterior tough are ultimately cowards, and I can think of one in Washington, DC. And I can think of a number of other people whose external toughness is ultimately cowardice because they don't have the interior courage to be willing to risk. So I think there's a bit of courage even when you don't have leverage, there are ways to ask for more, a higher salary, in a way and this is where the toughness combines with the roundness to do it in a way that communicates what is fair or whatever levers, you have to say, No, you need to pay me more money than you are currently offering. But do it in a way that allows as tough as possible while still working with the counterpart.

Scott Anthony Barlow 33:11

I think that's so wonderful. And I appreciate you pointing out how you must be sensitive and aware of what are the situations that you're in, and you use the example of, hey, in a consulting business versus I'm in a sales type role versus any other situation, everyone is going to be slightly different. And there's going to be different, I'm just going to call them levers and buttons for lack of a better phrase that they are more likely to respond to based on, you know, what they're used to. That said, how can we do some of that? You know, I heard you say just a moment ago, there's ways to do this. What would be some examples when we can either keep going within those couple environments?

David Sally 33:53

Yeah, no, that's great. That's great, because especially you did a great job because we're helping Ruth. So I'm going to assume for the sake of argument that to her counterpart, Ruth is seen as a woman. Okay. We know some specific problems that women encounter in negotiations for being tough. And there's a whole chapter in the book in which I describe some of the research on gender and negotiations and the advantages and the disadvantages of being a woman while negotiating. And a slight aside, the central character is one of my favorite in the book, a woman, a white Mississippi housewife in 1949, who Lillian MacMurray, who started trumpet Records, which became for a few years one of the main record labels for gospel music, r&b and country music. She was a real pioneer and it's super fascinating person. So what can Ruth do, Ruth faces a problem that many women do which is no surprise for the listeners, it is that much harder to be tough to be seen as tough as a woman. It's got all kinds of stereotype issues and feedback issues. You're not just tough, you're witch, right. Two specific tactics in the book that seemed to work and let me admit it the outset, it stinks that life is like this right now. But let's deal with the reality of this, the fact that there is gender bias, and there is a stereotype. So how do you get around it? There's a law professor at Marquette University who has labeled the first tactic, the mother bear Grizzly exception. So women, and this is all based on real world research, women are allowed to be tough if it's not for themselves, but for another, hence the mother bear exception. So part of what you can do is, if I am a need to be tougher in a negotiation, I find a way to say I'm doing this because I've got a family to feed because I have people depending on me, I'm using words and images to signal that I'm doing this because I am a mother bear and not for myself, because both men and women counterparts and it's not just male counterparts, it's also women counterparts will be more judgmental, and will activate stronger stereotypes against a woman who is negotiating for solely for herself than without this kind of mother bear exception. So in the book, and and I share this advice with, again, with Andrew Snyder, who's the professor at Marquette, invent a client. If you don't have a client, and this can be a way to generate internal toughness for the negotiator as well that I am doing this on behalf of my future self, on behalf of my partner, on behalf of my kids, on behalf of my department, when I am a leader in an organization or on behalf of my organization, that there is a way for many women negotiators to generate that toughness. So that's the first thing, the mother bear exception. The second tactic is called relational account. So it goes back to the same thing that in our society, women aren't allowed to be seen as tough. So that relational account says a woman can be an effective, tough negotiator if they give an account that their boss or mentor has told them that this is the right tactic, this is what they should be doing. So that is the relational account, they're going to weave a story about how somebody else told them that this was the right thing to do. So I can tell all the listeners out there by one step ahead and say that "David Sally totally that this is how it's supposed to negotiate." This is and honestly joking aside, I tell my students this too, that you're in my class, you've learned this, my professor told me, I have to ask for more. Because if I don't, I'm engaging in malpractice, on my own behalf. So use relations. So women can use relational accounts, whether it's advice that they say they got from a mentor from a trusted source to say this, I didn't want to do that. I didn't want to come back and ask for a bump and pay of 25%. But my mentor slash professors slash trusted advisor, whatever it is said that I have to do it. This is what I have to, he advise me that I have to do this. So that's kind of the nitty gritty of how the extra challenges that Ruth is going to have in this world just because of the female stereotype.

Scott Anthony Barlow 38:39

On a totally, well related note, but slightly different direction. So I think, you know what you said earlier, just acknowledging the fact that that's screwed up in, I think were the words that you were used earlier, that that is what it is right now. And well, I want to be cognizant of both sides in that, that is what it is right now. I'm also curious what your opinion, just, you know, I have a 12 year old daughter, I would love to see some of those stereotypes change over time. I'm just curious. what your opinion is of, what do you think it'll take to change that? I don't really related to as much as the to the topic exactly. But I'm just curious.

David Sally 39:19

I have my youngest, is a 25 year old young woman who, yeah, look, and I think that I'm not sure I'm qualified to answer what's gonna... I mean I think the answer is representation. The answer is more women in running organizations. The answer is having a woman be president, having a woman more women as CEOs, more... it's just representation, I mean, I think is a fairly enlightened, I've always fancied myself as an enlightened male, and I'm Father daughter, but I realized that I think it's slowly seeping into our male brains that we talk over women in meetings and I'm guilty of that and I'm being and what I'm calling in the classroom and allowing a student to blather on or not, I want to make sure that it's not gender based, you know, I don't want to let the male students blather on because they're guys and making sure that all the kind of pathologies of women not getting credit for the ideas that they generate in meetings. So I'm trying to do my own little part, but honestly, in a macro sense, it's just got to be representation. And I hope, you know, my other small contribution is I honestly believe that the secret of one step ahead as a book is it's actually written for women. And the beautiful thing is this, I think women have a harder time being average negotiators think they have an easier time being great negotiators. I think these qualities that we talked about, about toughness being more interior, and about an adaptive bill, about being more naturally cognizant of the social intricacies and complexities, which is this outer fluidity and the ability to operate in the world, those tend to be more female traits in our society, honestly, than male traits, I think men to be great negotiators have more to overcome than most women do. I think that women are starting with a big advantage in terms of the fact that they have most of their character, the way that they would think of themselves as tough tend to be interior qualities to begin with, whether it's through self image, or just the messages that they're getting from the larger society. So you know, one of the most interesting experiments in negotiations on gender is this, the participants were divided into two groups, one group was told that there's been research and this was made up, there was been research done that said, male quality, that they weren't labeled male qualities, but they were being assertive. Being firm, maybe even being a little angry, is good for negotiating, the other group was told. And in that setting, women underperformed as negotiators, the second setting was the both men and women participants were told, the best quality, research has shown that the best qualities of a negotiator our ability to listen, and ability to adapt to what the counterparts interests are, all things ever generally label female kinds of qualities in that setting, women outperformed men. And the hidden message of one step ahead is that research, even though it was kind of a little made up is actually right. Female qualities are in fact that they these female qualities of interior toughness, perseverance, willingness to say no, integrity, etc, etc. That is what it takes to be a sophisticated advanced negotiator.

Scott Anthony Barlow 42:50

I appreciate you sharing. And I have one parting question just for all of our listeners, as they are going into, not just job offer negotiations, but as they are wanting to become better at negotiation bargaining influencing, what advice would you give them?

David Sally 43:11

First I have to fix gender and society.

Scott Anthony Barlow 43:14

And I know you've got. There's no small task here.

David Sally 43:17

Yeah, I think that probably there's two big flaws that I think people under prepare for the negotiations, you should spend more time that we talked about early on about the amount of time that people spend shopping for a TV versus something. Same thing with negotiations, people don't spend enough time, spend more time and in the book, part of the reason I think part of that is is just the way our minds are wired for important decisions and negotiation, you know, negotiating a job offers is somehow no different than retirement savings and that level, but it's also people don't know what to do to prepare. And there's a whole chapter in the book that lays gives people a checklist form. And it's the form that I train my students to use and think about this element. You know, what are your interests? What are your goals? What are you do this, do that? And the fascinating thing is, it has two blank columns. So it's got issues like what are the issues in the negotiation? What are your interests? What are your goals, and then it has to blank columns. And early on, students will say, "Well, why are there two blank columns? Because I can fill it out for myself. But what should I put in that other column?" I said, "Well, how many people are in this negotiation? You know, are there... is it just you? Are you negotiating engine? No." There's a counterpart and many people, not all people, many people don't realize that they avoid thinking through stepping into the other side shoes and thinking through what are they trying to achieve, where are they coming from? So I'd say that's the other big advice is take to spend more time prepping yourself, but part of that preparation is force yourself, if you don't naturally think this way, and some economists do, and some negotiators do automatically and these are, you know, great salesmen do all the time. Right? Great salespeople are thinking through the customers mindset all the time. But not all of us are like that. In fact, I think in the book, who would something like 60% of us are not naturally that way. So force yourself to wait, okay, what do I know about the person I'm negotiating with? What are their interests? Where are they coming from? What offers are they likely to? What kind of language are they likely to use and force yourself to go through that, and you'll be amazed both that you can pull clues and figure some things out. And you'll feel that the whole point of preparation is just like an actor, you're ready to improvise, you know what you're doing, you've thought it through. And when you hear a line from the other side, you are able to react in real time to it. And that's part of being super effective.

Scott Anthony Barlow 46:00

I love it. And I appreciate you taking the time and making the time there's been a super fun conversation. So I appreciate that as well. Where can people who want to learn more about you or get the book, where can they go to be able to do those things?

David Sally 46:14

You can get "One Step Ahead" on amazon.com, at your local bookshop, now that they're reopening and about me, I'm on Twitter a little bit, it's gonna have a little harder time finding out about me.

Scott Anthony Barlow 46:29

Hey, many of the stories that you've heard on the podcast are from listeners that have decided that they wanted to take action, and taking the first step of having a conversation with our team to try and figure out how we can help. And if you want to implement what you have heard, and you want to completely change your life and your career, then let's figure out how we can help. So here's what I would suggest. Just open your phone right now and open your email app. And I'm going to give you my personal email address: scott@happentoyourcareer.com just email me and put 'Conversation' in the subject line. And then when you do that, I'll introduce you to the right person on our team. And you can have a conversation with us. We'll try and understand your goals and what you want to accomplish in your career no matter where you're at. And we can figure out the very best way that we can help you and your situation. So open up right now and send me an email with 'Conversation' in the subject line. scott@happentoyourcareer.com

Scott Anthony Barlow 47:38

Okay, here's a story we hear all the time, you did the work, identified what you wanted, found a role with an organization that you want to join, you got through all the interviews, you met everybody, organization was a fit, you nailed it, you got an offer. Except that the offers not quite everything that you're hoping for. Maybe the salaries not quite meeting your expectations. Or maybe it's half the amount of vacation time that you've grown accustomed to. Maybe it doesn't have all the leadership or mentorship capacities that you're interested in, maybe the role itself needs to be modified.


I mean, I know that's a crazy signing bonus. But I'm also like, this is a C suite role and the salary at 130 is just not, see it, like if we do any type of comp analysis, 130 is not what a person of my experience for 15 years[l] to master's degrees, the extent of what the role it's just under. But I also know we're talking about a startup. So I just don't know how flexible I should be. And again, I don't want to leave any money on the table..

Scott Anthony Barlow 48:38

Look, when you get to this situation, I understand the stakes are high. You want to negotiate your offer, you also don't want to blow it. So how do you tell this organization? The same organization that you just spent so much time and effort going through the interview process, meeting all the people, determining that it actually is a fit, they finally made this offer, it's your ideal role but, guess what? You need more. And how do you not offend them, by the way? How do you avoid sounding greedy or like you're going to be difficult to work with? These all sound like problems, it's not a great way to start off. However, there absolutely is not one way but multiple ways. So today on the podcast, we don't normally do this but I'm actually sharing with you a recording of a coaching session with one of our clients where we help her negotiate an offer but get this, she not only ended up accepting the offer, but raised her total comp package from 165k, to not 175k not 185k.. 359k. Right. Okay. Hang tight to hear exactly how we did that. All that and plenty more next week[m] right here on Happen To Your Career. Make sure that you don't miss it. And if you haven't already, click Subscribe on your podcast player so that you can download this podcast in your sleep, and you get it automatically. Even the bonus episodes every single week, sometimes multiple times a week. Until, next week. Adios. I'm out!

[a][02:08] @joshua@happentoyourcareer.com

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[g][14:56] @joshua@happentoyourcareer.com

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