The Numbers All Go To Eleven

A few years ago, I got into a little issue at work.  I had found that my negotiation dial could go all the way to 11.  Being the Type-A person that I was, I learned how to crank it to 11 on a regular basis.  And like the child whose mother warns him to not make that face because it’ll freeze like that, sure enough, I got to a point where I couldn’t turn it off.

No, I don’t mean dial it down, I mean turn it off at all.  There was no 0.  Oh, and 11 became the new 1.  Which meant that there were even higher and much more intense levels above 11, too.  It took about a month for it to impact my then-new marriage.  A few days later, folks at work started to bristle, too.  Uh oh.

With some patience, time and a little vacation, I reset my meter – only this time, 0 was 100% off and 5 was the new 10.  Guess what?  I didn’t lose any effectiveness at all.  I was able to accomplish the exact same results as before – only this time, I didn’t piss people off in the process.

As with anyone who has undergone this type of behavioral transformation, it makes me more sensitive to others’ similar behavior.  So when I see a slew of articles recently on negotiating everything from a raise to a new car or better ISP rates, I think back to being “at 11” and wonder about when it’s ok to NOT negotiate.

It’s ok.  I really did just say “not negotiate.”  And I meant it, too.  (The world is not coming to an end.  I promise.)  There just happen to be times when it’s absolutely recommended to simply agree with the other party and take what they offer in the form in which it’s offered.

The question, of course, is: “When?”

Well – it’s up to you.  But I recommend agreement without negotiation when the proposed solution/offer/etc is:

  1. Within your means to provide.
  2. Within your previously-considered range of acceptable offers.
  3. Not necessarily going to create a precedent that you’ll be tied to in the future.

Does this mean you might pay a little more?  Maybe.  Do a little more?  Maybe.  Get a little less?  Maybe.

In exchange, you’ll keep your sanity… and your friends.  Those are way more important than “winning” every negotiation.

[My apologies to Nigel and Spinal Tap for the stolen quote as the topic.]


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