Words of Wisdom: Better Leadership

You lead better by asking questions than by giving directions


Words of Wisdom: Maximise Productivity

To maximise productivity and performance it is critical that your employees are so invested in the company, that they feel and act like owners



Words of Wisdom: Empower your People

It is not discipline, willpower, nor pressure from others that facilitates adherence to a challenging course of action. Rather it is the freedom to choose among alternatives, the personal commitment to the mission, and the willingness to take responsibility for the consequences of their decisions that steels the will and emboldens the spirit


Negotiating with influence: The Ten Irrefutable Laws

If you have been following my posts for a while, you may have picked up (or not) that my passion and purpose is in helping people achieve their goals and dreams. I love being able to share lessons from my own life which help others move onward and upward in their career, business and even life.

Confession – One of my big life ambitions is to earn my living as a Motivational Teacher 😉 and I had my first opportunity a few weeks back to start this trajectory formally when I was invited by a friend to speak at their company quarterly meeting. I have to state right off the bat that this was an incredible honor for me, and at the same time quite stretching as this required a 45 minute talk (my longest to date has been 15 min) in front of a crowd of complete strangers (most of my talks have been to in-house training groups and or members of my church’s congregation)

The day came. I was prepared! I knew what I needed/wanted to say and I was excited to share with this amazing group. I got to the event prior to the start so that I could get a feel for the room and meet a few of the attendees – My talk was at the end of the day and followed a presentation by one of the senior leaders, lunch, a few more presentations (all which I love because once again these events gave me time to take in the atmosphere, learn more about the audience and get into the zone. Then my turn came up enter stage left, lights come up and I was on and all of a sudden my mouth was full of cotton balls, my mind kept having blank moments and I thought “Floor please swallow me up now”

Over the course of last week I shared four of the ten Irrefutable Laws of Negotiating with Influence. As a reminder

I know through experience that when you apply these four laws consistently the chances of you getting more Yes’s, and building stronger value adding relationships are increased  significantly.

The challenge in all of this unfortunately is that the mind is a devious thing and because there is a high chance you haven’t applied Irrefutable Law Five that the first four laws don’t happen or if they do are not done as should be.

This is what brings me to today’s post and the picture below


The figure in the picture is one of the great Chinese general, military strategist and philosopher Sun Tzu who lived between 544 BC and 496 BC (the Chinese Spring and Autumn). The Sun Tzu that wrote (in my opinion) one of the greatest war and business strategy books of all time The ART of War. The quote in grey is from the book – I took the liberty of adding the “or lost” bit as I felt that this was the piece to be very aware of.

Let me explain – YOUR MIND (and specifically your subconscious mind) is the deal breaker. What you are thinking and believing about yourself and the moment is what becomes your reality – Take my opening story as a point: I started off really strong and then mid way through my opening I had a thought that I had missed a few of my traditional opening statements and that this was bad (cotton ball moment number one). Luckily I know how to work through this and continued albeit a little shakier than my start. Then I noticed that there were a few people looking down and my mind immediately went to “Oh no, I am not engaging them, I must be speaking badly) and from there the cotton mouth seemed to get worse and worse.

For more insight into these internal dialogues we have with ourselves I highly recommend reading The Chimp Paradox by Prof Steven Peters which I mentioned in one of the earlier posts. Prof Peters has explained the way our mind works in an easily understandable and highly entertaining manner.

The power of the mind and the impact of self fulfilling prophesies is very real. Let me share some research I came across in the daily blog I subscribe to Program on Negotiation (PoN) from Harvard Business. Three Professors – Kristina A. Diekmann (University of Utah), Ann E. Tenbrunsel (Notre Dame University), and Adam Galinsky (Columbia Business School) in research they conducted on self-fulfilling prophecies in negotiation found that negotiators who expected their competitors to be more competitive (even if not a reality) tended to reduce their own demands resulting in worse outcomes. That’s only half  the bad news. They also found that because of this behaviour the competitor (because of the win) started to believe they WERE more competitive and therefore started to claim more value.

Adapted from the PoN Daily Blog: Power in Negotiation and self-fulfilling Prophesies (link above)

Further research I came across once again thanks to the Program on Negotiation Daily Blog – has shown that if we do not manage our minds, our minds will manage us and in negotiation this translates into the propensity to take damaging actions like

  • making a first initial offer/request
  • Responding quickly to what ever the counter is
  • Making steep concessions
  • Exit negotiation early

So how do we manage our minds and ensure we are in a space to apply Laws One to Four effectively and consistently?

Join me tomorrow when I share Irrefutable Law Five


Have a great evening


Words of Wisdom: Accelerate Success

When you involve the organisation every day in defining the required actions, You increase the capability to manage and accelerate success in the chosen area


Negotiating with Influence: Ten Irrefutable Laws

In my work helping organisations and their people flourish, the most recurrent challenges my coaching focuses on resolving is “how to negotiate with influence”.

The 10 Irrefutable laws I am going to share over the next ten days are laws I have learned and continue to put into practice to negotiate with influence. Not only have I used these in my adventures as a budding entrepreneur, but they are the 10 key lessons I have taken and distilled from experiences, observation and study in school, family life, friendship and marriage.

No matter where you are in life, I know from personal experience that if you take these 10 laws and commit to mastering them that you will get “Yes” to more of your requests, build long term value adding relationships and ultimately enjoy a more fulfilling life

Irrefutable Law One – You have to communicate what you want!


I start with this law because of the principle that states “if you don’t ask, you don’t get”

How often have you experienced the following scenario: Either yourself or a person that you know are unhappy about their circumstance. When delving a little deeper the reason for the unhappiness is that you (or they) are not getting what you want; or are doing things you don’t want or would prefer not to do). These things can include but are not limited to –

  • Wanting more/better reward or recognision
  • A role or responsibilities you have been given and want to change.
  • Getting onto or out of a project
  • Handling increasing demands from your boss or clients
  • Being treated badly by colleagues or the aforementioned
  • Being squeezed for more time, money or service/product delivery

Nod your head if you can relate to the next paragraph

Typically when I ask clients who are in this situation whether they have spoken to and asked for/pushed back for what they want the answer is No!

I recently had the privilege of sharing these Ten Irrefutable Laws at CapGemini’s Consultant Development Community Quarterly Event in London and in my research I asked the community what their biggest concern was when having to ‘negotiate’. The biggest reasons: over 50% of the respondents replied that they were worried about damaging the relationship with the other person.

This is completely understandable and a very fair concern for anybody who has relationship as one of their core needs. Unfortunately if this is stopping you from communicating what you want this then doesn’t open the doors for negotiation.

Here are a few tips which will help you ask for what you want in a way which will help maintain the relationship

  • Tip 1: Make sure to follow the square of communications


In all communications it is critical that you communicate with the right person. How do you identify the right person? In most cases it is the person who you are dealing with directly however this may not always be the case. It is then a good idea to look for the person who has either the money/power or title (more about this in another post). It is no use, especially when it is about a conflict of interests to speak to others as this may cause more harm than good.

Rule of thumb (biblical principle) –

  1. Speak directly and alone with the person the first time
  2. If still a no go back with a second person and repeat the conversation
  3. If still a no then go to a person with more influence/authority)

The right time and right place are just as apt. No use jumping it on the person in the midst of another discussion or when they/you are not in a good mood as this will more than likely cause friction

The right agenda and the right way will be covered in the upcoming Irrefutable Laws two – ten

  • Tip two – Specifically where you want more or better

Ask for far more than is realistic i.e. ask for something which you know in all likelihood will be a No. Two reasons for this

a) If you don’t ask you don’t get :0) You never know they may just give this to you

b) Once they say no, then ask for what you really wanted. the chance of them saying yes to you on this increases tenfold as it is far more difficult to say no twice

  • Tip three – This tip comes from one of the Six principles of persuasion shared by Roberto Cialdini called Commitment and consistency. Make three to four statement questions which you know will/should get a yes e.g. My work has been of a high standard? I have delivered on all my promises? We have a good understanding and work well together? … now ask your question. Because they have committed to the first questions as yes it is much harder to say no to the request as this would in essence be saying that what they had agreed to previously was a lie… use this with caution and properly
  • Tip four – Specifically if you need to say no to a request
    • Saying no to a request (because it is over and above or more than you can handle) Saying no is important not only because if you don’t you end up over subscribed and weary but also because it shows assertiveness and strong sense of self and creates mutual respect. Saying no in the wrong way however causes friction and can damage relationships.

Instead of saying “no”, say “thank you for asking, I would love to help. You currently have me working to deliver x and y which you stressed as important. We have this much time frame/budget/resources and I want to ensure that I deliver to a high standard – which would you prefer – that I stop one of these or that we extend the time / budget etc to add this in.”

There you have it – Irrefutable Law One of Negotiating with Influence – You have to communicate what you want. Four tips on how to go about this in a way that gives you the best chance of maintaining and building your relationships

Tomorrow Irrefutable Law Two

If you would like to have this talk (all ten Laws) done for your team or your business please email flourish@leadershipinmotion.co.uk with your request