Is it just me or is there are remarkable similarity to how people treat negotiating and dieting?

Let me explain….

Whenever I try to lose a few pounds or go on a health kick I find I am incredibly enthusiastic at the start. I read everything I can about it, perhaps try a new exercise activity (I’m currently trying a fitbit which is encouraging me by tracking my steps, calories and activeness throughout the day), and am generally very good about what I eat. I know – and always have known – that to achieve what I want I need to east less and move more. I am usually very keen and focused…for a few weeks anyway. Then I get a bit lazy.

It doesn’t seem to matter if its working or not. If it is working I think, hey I’ve done well, I deserve a treat / rest. If its not working I think, hey its not working, what’s the point. Either way, I manage to convince myself to go a bit easier on myself. Maybe have a wine with dinner. And pudding.

Needless to say, after a few weeks I’m back to the beginning. Feeling slightly overweight and unhealthy.

So what is the correlation with negotiation I hear you cry?

Over the years I have been teaching negotiating 4 things have struck me:

1) Most people know what they should and shouldn’t do, they just don’t actually do it.

2) Most people don’t bother doing what they should do because they don’t have time, think it’s unnecessary or can’t be bothered.

3) People are always looking for a quick fix to the problem.

4) Eventually, whether the new skills work or not, most people go back to old (bad) habits.

In negotiation you need to take time to prepare, you have to spend time discussing things properly with the other party before proposing and you need to do this every time you negotiate, not just when its convenient. There is no quick fix – ploys and tricks are not long term effective solutions. By applying the 4-phases in a purple style at every negotiation, makes you a more effective negotiator. It gives you practice, confidence and assertiveness for when it’s really important.

Stopping and starting is not going to help develop your skills. Consistency is what is needed.

But you know that, just like I know I need to eat less and move more….