The Negotiator Magazine

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The Confluence of Management and Negotiating

By Henry H. Calero

Throughout my entire business career I have been very interested in the words “management” and “negotiating.” The dictionary definition of “management” centers on such words as “control,” “direction,” in the process of making decisions. A “manager,” therefore, is someone that uses their skills in leading and directing others towards achieving specific goals and objectives. The definition for “negotiating” is “to deal with and settle matters, to complete, accomplish.”

Never-the-less, it is amazing how many executives and managers don’t realize the two words are interchangeable and function like their right and left hands in life. For example, if someone said “He negotiated the turn at high speeds while driving his car.” You would immediately understand the individual had “managed” a very sharp turn while driving. The purpose of this article is to awaken a realization of how important these two words are to a person’s success, happiness and fulfillment in life.

Unfortunately, I didn’t come to the realization of the confluence of these two words until much later in my business life. I first became aware of their confluence while consulting with the C.E.O. of a company. He was in the process of informing me of the many problems his organization faced and the great difficulty he and his staff were having in solving them.

As a consultant, I sometimes feel like a “shrink,” because when my clients discuss matters with me I take a lot of notes, especially about certain words that are often repeated. while analyzing my notes After this particular meeting, I realized that the word “management” had been used 21 times and “negotiate” only 4 times.

Since that time I have established a certain belief that the higher up in an organization a person is, the less they tend to use the word “negotiation” when describing their function in a company. It is almost as though they believe negotiating is the responsibility of subordinates, and not theirs. Sadly, in business, C.E.O.s are responsible for everything, but not anything. As a result of this, when something goes wrong in an organization, a C.E.O. can always find someone at a lower executive level to blame.

After forty years of consulting, managing companies, conducting seminars and writing books on the subjects of communication, success, management and negotiating, I’m shocked at how many executives are unaware of the importance of negotiating skills for their management survival. To illustrate this, I will use three articles published in 2004, by Time Magazine, The Wall Journal and Business Week.

The Time Magazine article concerned a new breed of executives that “will be setting the global standards for management, ethics, marketing and innovation.” In the article, a portion of an interview with each executive was printed. After reading all the interviews conducted, I found that the words “manage” or “management,” were used ten times more than “negotiate” or “negotiating.” Additionally, when the executives outlined the methods or business strategies they planned to utilize in achieving corporate objectives, the words “negotiate” and “negotiating” were once again omitted.

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August 2005