Hi. I’m blogging about work, purpose and time, and inspired in this series of articles by a Harvard Business Review blogger’s post on “No is the New Yes,” in which he sets out several strategies for taking greater control of your time and as a result, focusing on what matters.
In my last two posts, I talked about the blind spots that crop up for people with various work styles. In this post, I wanted to make a point about priorities.
Make what matters to your boss what matters to you.
No matter your work style, it’s easy to get caught in a trap of working on the things you value. They might be what you assume is expected of your role, or something you’ve always done, or something you think no one else can do as well as you can. You might do them simply because it would take more time and effort to assign them and mentor that person into executing the task to your satisfaction.
But we ultimately report to a higher level—be that a manager, an executive, a board or shareholders—and so it’s critical to take the time to find out what these people see as important. Continue reading
In today’s Harvard Business Review blog, Tony Schwartz has a great post about “No is the new Yes: Four practices to reprioritize your life.” In it, he describes a typical executive workday filled with meetings, email and hair-on-fire requests that keep their wheels spinning endlessly.
The tyranny of the urgent over the important seems like an unchangeable force, as if we are constantly running on a hamster wheel. But doing so will leave us tired—or fired—unless we can find a way to hop off the wheel.
I observe that for some executives, the hamster wheel bleeds into relationships with colleagues and subordinates: they never seem to be present for the people they are leading. That’s why I wanted to offer five lessons I’ve learned about managing time, work, people and priorities that embraces Schwartz’s fundamental argument about saying no more often … but does so with finesse based on the styles of people you’re working with.
You might be familiar with a work style framework from DiSC, Meyers-Briggs, Kolbe, or others—my personal favorite is Market Force, taught by the folks at aPriori International. I’ll explain each type of style and their blind spots related to saying no.
Lesson one: Balance time discussing what you’re working on with a healthy debate on why. Continue reading
Hi. In fifteen minutes today I wanted to share another negotiation technique that I find is very important when buying from someone who is emotionally invested in what they sell.
Nowhere is this more apparent than at antiques shows. Let me tell you a story…
I have to admit that I hated, really hated antiques as a kid. I didn’t have anything against the objects themselves, but I loathed getting dragged to flea markets, antiques stores and garage sales to find the diamonds in the rough.
My sister and I used to moan, “Oh, no! Not another garage sale!” We still tease my mom about it. (But go see my parents’ home and you’ll have a complete attitude adjustment about antiques. They truly do not make furniture today like they did 100 years ago.)
About ten years ago, my mom got me out of the antique-hater phase by giving me Continue reading
Hello! I’ve been blogging about negotiation techniques lately because I realized there are a whole slew of them that I’ve learned from years of driving a hard bargain (or, as I like to think of it, getting the most for my money).
Yesterday, I described how a Mexican jewelry seller was using his considerable acting skills to convince me to buy (and pay more than I was willing) for a necklace pendant.
I want to describe that scene to you again, but in another context (a different negotiating tip this time): Put your cash on the table.
“Wait, I want you to have this,” he said, dangling the pendant (he was ready for my exit). “Come back in! Let’s try to make a deal. Couldn’t you pay $25?”
“No, I’m sorry, I just have the $20.” I said. As if to prove my point, I pulled a $20 out of my purse. Cash, US bill. I put it on the counter. “I can only pay this much.” Continue reading
A few years ago, I supervised a $60,000 kitchen remodel (including sourcing all the materials myself), and you’d better believe my research and negotiation skills were used every day of that three-month process.
One thing I learned from haggling over sinks and light fixtures was that there is no forced sale. No matter what you offer to pay—no matter how low your low-ball offer—no one is forcing the merchant or service provider to make the sale.
A good businessperson will be smart enough to know their costs and markup, to know what inventory they need to move and what’s hot enough to stay at full price. If you ask for a discount on a just-in appliance, they probably won’t give it to you. But if you ask for a deep discount on that dishwasher that’s been hanging around the showroom collecting dust…well, they just might give it to you for the sake of out-with-the-old and in-with-the-new.
In Mexico, I haggled with a shopkeeper for a fairly inexpensive silver and fused glass necklace pendant, and I offered a price significantly lower than what was posted in the store. Part of my reasoning was Continue reading
I’m talking about negotiation this week and I have another fifteen minutes to spend writing about some of the key guidelines I’ve learned over years of negotiating.
I grew up in a very frugal family, watching my mom haggle at garage sales for most of our “new” clothes, toys and furniture. She liked good, high-quality stuff (real wood furniture, cashmere sweaters) but there’s no way she would (or could, at that time) pay full price.
One thing I watched her do consistently was avoid making the first offer. I call this rule of negotiation “The person who makes the first offer always loses.”
Follow me to a garage sale and I’ll show you how. Continue reading
Hi there. I’m back to blogging after a very nice holiday break. How was yours?
Today, I wanted to share fifteen minutes with you about negotiation.
I love to negotiate. I bring my game face and as much research as possible. Haggling doesn’t fluster me, and I can easily walk away. When I travel internationally to places where debating a price is commonplace, I’m in my element. When I buy big-ticket items in the US, I consider the price tag merely a suggestion.
I used to say there were two key rules to negotiation, and I coached several friends through salary negotiations based on these two rules. But as I sat down to write this blog, I realized there were actually many more. In the next fifteen minutes, I’ll give you the first one. Continue reading