In this episode, we talk about negotiation so that you understand the concept of conflict and how you can go from contention to solution. In any type of negotiation, if you don’t get it right, it’s going to be an energy drain, the conversation will stall and you find yourself in a constant battle. If you get it right, you start to make progress, get some understanding and finally, produce some sort of resolution.
The 3 principles that you need to understand are:
- The details bogs you down
- The meaning that people give to situations is highly emotional
- We need to find our solutions above the meaning and details
The Solution Pathway
To go from contention to solution, there are a couple of things to understand:
- Observations: What happened? This is the detail, the stuff that we get caught into and we can’t get away from it because we’re stuck in the specifics.
- Emotions: What made it happen? What are the meanings placed in it? We need to understand the meaning that comes from it.
- Realizations: What is it about? This is where your solutions can be found.
What they are doing
- Excavation: At an observation level, they dig into the problem and create a hole of emotions.
- Personalization: Once they dig in, they make it personal.
- Escalation: This is when we start to really have problems. People are worried about the details and escalating it.
What they should be doing
- Information: At the observation level, we actually should be getting the facts and not placing blame on anyone.
- Appreciation: Acknowledge and realize what they are feeling. Identify the difficulties and emotions without discounting it. Have empathy.
- Resolution: At the highest level, we finally get to the resolution.
— Begin Transcript —
Hey there, Mel Abraham here, the author of the #1 best-selling book, The Entrepreneur’s Solution and the founder of Thougtpreneur Academy where we teach you how to brand yourself as an influencer so you can have more impact, more income and more freedom. And welcome to this episode of The Entrepreneur’s Solution show. In this episode, we’re going to talk about conflict resolution. We’re going to talk about negotiation. Talk about how do we go from contention to solution.
I’m going to give you what I call my framework, The Solution Pathway and give you the ability to get the action guide that helps you through this. It’s called The Resolution Conversation. If you want to grab that action guide, just go to MelAbraham.com/session084. If you are not around your computer or if you are not close to your computer and you want to make sure you get the action guide then just text me MYLEGACY one-word no-spaces to 38470. We will make sure that we get you the download link so you can have that and work through it.
So, here’s the thing. We’re going to jump into this now and start to understand this concept of conflict resolution. Having conversations that are high stakes. You may sit back and say, “I’m not in the middle of a conflict.” Well, we actually all are. We’re all in the middle of this negotiation, this transaction. I mean, especially in today’s world where we are today, the challenges that most people are having conversations at the wrong level and because of that, things aren’t going the way they want.
And it’s not about getting your way.
- It’s about communicating.
- It’s about openness.
- It’s about transparency.
- It’s about being heard and trying to understand the other person.
Unfortunately, what I see going on is people are close minded to other people’s thinking and there truly is never going to be any progress without having some sort of open dialog. It doesn’t mean that we’re going to go to the other side; if there is an other side. It doesn’t mean that we’re going to necessarily agree completely. But it does mean that we’re going to have meaningful conversations.
Here’s the challenge with this, is that when we talk about negotiation whether it’s mediation negotiation, transaction negotiation, conflict negotiation; whatever it is, when we talk about this if we don’t get it right, if we don’t understand the principles of dealing with this solution pathway then we’re going to find ourselves in a situation where it’s going to be an energy drain.
And in fact, it’s going to be this constant beating your head against the wall and it’s going to suck the energy out of you and that may be something that you’ve already noticed. I mean say, if you can think back on a time where maybe you were having a conversation with someone. It was a bit heated and you couldn’t get them to see your point of view, you couldn’t get them to acknowledge the kinds of things that you were feeling and how that started to suck the energy out of you and build the anxiety and build the walls up so you couldn’t move through it. And so, we’re going to talk about how do you navigate through that process.
The other thing to realize is that if we don’t get this thing right, if we don’t understand how to communicate in these high stakes situations then you’re going to find that the conversations stall.
We’re not moving forward. There is no progress. There is no real discussion. It’s he said, she said, back and forth, back and forth, and there is this impasse if you will where you can’t move from.
And then, the last thing is that you find yourself in a constant battle.
You’re constantly hitting heads. And there is this constant friction and let’s face it, if that’s truly the case, it’s certainly not the way that we want to live.
- It’s not a productive way to live,
- It’s not a positive way to live, and
- It’s certainly not something that is enjoyable.
And one of the things we need to think about is how do we have meaningful conversations?
So, if we do this right, here’s how things start to shift for us. If we do this right, ultimately, we find that we start to make progress.
- There’s transformation
- There’s progress
- There’s movement if you will
Now, maybe it doesn’t get all the way to where you wanted. In fact, we were just recently negotiating the purchase of a car for my wife and this whole process played out in front of her eyes, in front of our eyes in the negotiation where we started to move through and use some of these principles to allow us to actually to walk out of the dealership with the deal that we wanted in the first place, with the deal that we were trying to get. So, effectively we were able to negotiate and get everything that we wanted in that deal.
Now, I’m not going to say that it happened immediately. We had to go through the process in doing that. If we get this right, not only do we get progress, we start to get some understanding.
The other side or both sides start to understand each other at a higher level. It doesn’t mean that there is agreement.
So, let me clarify.
- There is empathy
- There is understanding
But there may not necessarily be agreement and that’s okay. We’re not talking about coming to an agreement and having unanimous consent. I sit on a number of boards of directors where we’re constantly having high stakes negotiation, we’re having conversations, we’re buying and selling businesses and not all the directors agree completely but we understand each other. We’re heard. Our concerns are heard. Our positive aspects, the aspirations are heard and we’re understood. And I think that, that goes along ways to moving beyond it. It’s not necessarily getting to agreement.
The other thing that happens ultimately if we get this solution pathway correct is that we get some sort of resolution.
Is that we get to a place where all parties can agree on something and we move past the impasse and that’s really where we’re trying to get to. It’s not necessarily that we want the pendulum to swing one side or the other. Certainly, we would love to have it all our way.
But let’s face it. That’s not the reality of life and we need to understand as a society, as a humanity, as entrepreneurs, as thoughtpreneurs, as people in relationships, as parents that there is certain things that we’re going to negotiate and have a conversation around that we’re going to come to resolution because of our understanding at a level that allows us to realize even though we may not have gotten everything we wanted, it’s still a win for both sides.
So, if that’s really where we’re going through. If that’s really where we’re trying to get to, what are the things that you need to know to get yourself there? What are the key principles that when you understand them and put them in a place and put them into this framework, will start to drive the negotiation, drive the mediation, drive the conversation if you will at a higher level?
Well, I think, the first principle that we need to think about is this, is that, the first thing is that the details, the stuff, the weeds, that stuff bogs you down.
If we’re talking in the context of something that may be happened and you’re stuck in the details, “Well he did this and then he did this and she did that”, well you’re stuck in actually the specific things that happened which is important to understand and we will talk about how that fits in, in the framework.
But if that’s where we’re trying to solve things what you’re going to find is that everyone’s pointing fingers for fault to each other.
- They’re creating blame,
- They’re critical of each other, and
- They’re complaining
Because we’re stuck in the details, we’re stuck in the stuff, we’re stuck in the weeds. We’re going to need to move beyond that at some point and time.
The other principle that we need to understand is this. Is that the meaning that people give situations is highly emotional.
In other words, two of us can come to a very similar situation. We can look at it in that context but we can come away with it meaning something different, both of us meaning something different.
In other words, I can look at going into a presentation and say the presentation doesn’t go well. Okay, we’ve; it doesn’t go well. I can come away from that in one of two ways. I can come away from it saying “That didn’t go well, what did I learn and how am I going to improve? What am I going to do with it?”
The alternative is I can come away from it and say, “I’m no good at it. I should quit.”
It has to do with the emotion and the meaning we bring to it. Same thing happened but the meaning that we gave to it is different. So, the meaning that’s given to it is an emotional impact which is one of the things that makes it really challenging when we’re stuck in that space to transcend it.
The third thing is this: If we really want to find resolution, we need to rise above it. We need to find our solutions above the meaning and above the details and we will see that in the upcoming framework.
We can’t be in the weeds with our face against the tree and think that we’re going to get the solution. The solution doesn’t exist there. The solution exists above that as we go through it.
So here is what I’d like to do. Now that you’ve got an idea of why it’s important, what happens if we get it wrong and what happens if we get it right and the principles that you need to understand to move through this type of a conversation or mediation or negotiation or solution investigation; any of that type of stuff.
I want to introduce you to The Solution Pathway framework and in order to do that we’re going to jump back to the iPad and we will draw this out for you. So hang with me here. Let’s jump to the iPad.
All right, so here in front of you, you get a chance to see what I call The Solution Pathway and it’s what we do we need to do to go from contention to solution.
And there’s a couple of things to understand. There are 3 levels that we’ve already kind of talked about in the principles. The first level is what I call the Observations. It’s the observations. It’s really about what happened.
This is the details. This is the stuff that a lot of times we get caught into and we can’t seem to get ourselves away from that because we’re stuck in specifics of exactly what happened.
But what really starts to erode is when we bring the emotions to it and this is the second level is where we talk about the Emotions and the emotions when we look at this is really about What each of the parties make it mean.
What meaning did they place on it? What meaning did they place on it?
Because what happens is that above the details and I will give you an example of this in a moment, above the details is emotions, is the meaning that we gave to it. We need to understand that meaning that comes to it and then, there is that third level, that level up which is really where your solutions are going to be found and this is what I coined the Realizations. And this is What’s it really about? What’s it really about?
When we start to look at this as a framework, there’s 3 levels.
- What happened?
- What do we make it mean?
- And what’s it about?
Let me give you an example. Let’s just take a; I’m going to take a personal situation for a moment. Let’s just take a married couple where one cheats on the other. So what happened is that say one cheated on the other. Maybe, it’s the husband cheated on the wife and trust me I don’t agree with any of that stuff but let’s just assume that that’s what happened is that one person cheated on the other.
That’s what happened. That’s the observation and so, you’ve got a wife that sees the husband cheating. Now she is interpreting is saying, “My husband cheated on me.” He’s interpreting it as, “Oh my god, I cheated on her.”
The emotions that come into play, the meaning that we given to it is she maybe says, “He doesn’t love me anymore. I’m not attractive.” And he may look at it and put a different set of emotions on it and that may be something like, “She doesn’t care about me and she doesn’t give me attention.”
Well, so now we’ve figured out what the details are, we figured out what the meaning is. Now you see that there’s an impasse between the details and the meaning. The details are the facts. The meaning is emotions that each person’s feeling. But what’s it really about and this is where the solution is going to be found.
What’s it about?
- In her eyes it’s trust and respect.
- In his eyes it’s typically something like, in his eyes, it could be attention and affection.
It’s something greater. It’s something greater that we need to think about. So, if we look at this kind of a situation, we need to be talking at the highest level about what’s it about. To come to an agreement, to figure out how we rebuild the respect and the trust and the connection between the two before we start to deal with those details. The details are just a symptom of the situation. So, here’s how else I would fill this framework out is to realize that what happens on the side of the parties, the people that are going through this.
At the observation level, what they’re really doing is what I call, Excavation. And here is where the problem is, Excavation is digging in. They’re digging in the details and they’re going to dig and dig and dig a hole of deeper emotion and deeper seeding and that’s where we start to have the problem of getting them above that.
The second thing that happens is that when they start to do that, once they start to dig in, you’re going to see that there’s Personalization. They make it personal. They personalize it.
- What’s wrong with me?
- What is it?
And they personalize it in that context and when you personalize things it’s hard to remove yourself to get to that solution and then ultimately, what happens is that, if they’ve gone through dug in deep into the details and they’ve personalized it then ultimately there’s Escalation and that’s when we start to really have problems.
That’s when we really start to dig in and we can’t get out of the details and you can see it going along, going around in society right now. People are not having conversations at the realization level, at the solution level. They’re worried about the details and they’re personalizing it and they’re escalating it and we need to look at things differently no matter what the conversation is about.
And in order to do that, the things that we need to focus in on are a little different. At the observation level, at the observation level, what we really need to focus in on is simply getting Information. This is just getting the facts. This is not about necessarily placing blame, pointing fingers, figuring out any of that. This is just about getting the information. So, it’s about information.
The second thing that we need to do when we start to understand the emotions that are involved at that second level is to realize that we need to have an Appreciation for what they’re feeling. Acknowledge what they’re feeling. Realize what they’re feeling. Realize the difficulties and the emotions that are there and acknowledge it not discount it, not say that they shouldn’t be thinking that way and all of that. We need to appreciate that what they’re feeling. We got a come to it from an empathetic ear, an empathetic heart to do that.
And then, the last thing to really start to move from that because if we can come at it and say, this is, that down here is information and we now appreciate the emotions that are involved, we now at the higher level, we have the ability to find Resolution.
And so, when we look at this model, this is how we need to look at things. So when I get involved in a high stakes negotiation or a high stakes situation or mediation or a conversation, I ask myself these questions.
- What happened?
- What did they make it mean?
- What’s it about?
- What can I do to move myself from information to appreciation to resolution?
And in order to do that, I actually have another framework, an action guide that helps me navigate through that process, that helps me ask the right questions to move me through that process because ultimately, we don’t want conflict, we don’t want disagreement. We’re going to have those kinds of but they don’t need to create a wedge, a gap and a chasm between parties, between people and we’re seeing it today in society. I’ve seen it in businesses, we’re seeing it in communities now, I’ve seen it in relationships and we can avoid that if we understand these principles and start to move through it.
So, let’s look at this concept at a much higher level and that’s the resolution conversation. How do you have that conversation?
And the way I do it is I basically walk through a 9 box grid. Basically, three different types of questions that come into play. One is pre conversation. In other words, before I get to the conversation, I need to understand some things. I need to get clarity.
- First thing that I need to understand is: What’s the single most important issue right now?
- The second thing that I need to understand is: What’s an example or analogy of this issue coming to light? How is this coming to bear? Where does it come from?
- And the third is: What’s the concern or the result of the issue?
So, before I even go into a conversation, I want to understand those things.
- What’s the issue?
- What’s the example of the issue?
- And what’s the result of the issue?
Now, I can move into the conversation and when I move into the conversation, I think about three other things.
- Why is it important to resolve this?
- How does it affect me and the other people personally?
- And what am I hearing from them?
Remember that we got to come from an appreciation standpoint, an empathetic standpoint. I need to hear them, they need to be heard. If I don’t allow them to be heard, they’re going to feel discounted, they’re going to go back on their heels, they’re going to dig their heels in and they’re not going to move.
Once we’ve move through that conversation, there’s three other things to take it from conversation to completion and to make sure that we move through that.
The first is: How can I show curiosity?
It’s an interesting dynamic. When you simply start a question as “I’m curious, can you help me?” Then you come to it with a curiosity bet. They’re going to help you understand. They’re going to look at it a little differently as we move forward.
So one of the things I look at it and say, “As I’m going through this, how can I be more curious about what’s going on?”
The second thing is: What do they need and what do I need to make sure that whatever resolution we come up with actually stays in place?
And then, the third question is: What’s each person’s next step? What’s the very next thing that I need to do?
- Is it a phone call?
- Is it a letter?
- Is it an action, some task?
- What is the very next thing I need to do to move this forward towards resolution?
- And what is the next thing that the other parties need to do move it forward?
And we get agreement across all those lines. And so, any time I’m going into some sort of negotiation-mediation, I ask myself these 9 questions and I move through it. This is how I bring that solution pathway that goes from the element of observations to emotions to realizations to life. And so, this is the thing that I’m going to invite you to do as you move into high stakes conversations whether they’re personal business.
To download this action guide, again you can get it at, MelAbraham.com/session084. Download this action guide, use the resolution conversation, understand the solution pathway and see how your conversations go differently because you’re going to come at it from a different level, you’re going to solve at the realization level not at the detail, not at the observation level but not with the stuff and the details where you can’t get solutions and resolutions. So we need to get out of the weeds, get above the clouds and deal with what it’s all about and not the details of what’s happening. So, download the action guide.
Again, if you’re not at your computer, you can text me MYLEGACY one-word no-spaces to 38470. I will send you that download link. If you’re having challenges or you’re going through this and you’re unclear, go ahead and send me a note. Go to AskMelNow.com. You can send me a question, a note or you can just post it down below.
I’d love to have a conversation with you. I’d love to have a dialog with you. See how I can support you. Tell me what you think about using this framework in your conversations as you move forward and seeing how this may help you move through whether it’s a negotiation, a mediation or just a simple conversation to build through it.
And if you haven’t done so already, couple of things I’d love to have you to do. One is Subscribe. Hit the subscribe button wherever it is. I think it’s somewhere in here. Hit the subscribe button, stay with me so we can have more of these conversations and I can give you more tools for success, wealth, becoming a thought leader and influencer and an entrepreneur, to help you out as best as I can.
And then, the last thing is would you share this with a friend? Share this with someone else that maybe is having some difficult time, maybe having some difficult conversations and give them this tool so they can take that into their life.
So, I hope again that you found this of value. Hope you’re doing well. I can’t wait to get a chance to chat with you further and maybe see you at one of my live events coming up soon.
And until we get a chance to see each other again,
May your vision be grand, your journey epic and your legacy significant!
See you soon. Cheers. Talk to you. Bye!!
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