Take a Dive once in a While

As a project manager, negotiations may be a daily occurrence for you in one form or another.

Are you negotiating with a stakeholder the terms in which an element of the project must be contained? Are you negotiating with a team member the manner in which their input will be incorporated? Are you negotiating with your senior management for the resources your team needs to succeed?

These negotiations may take many different forms and often play out in many different forums. In a number of ways, we are trained as PM’s to set ourselves and our teams up for success through strong strategic planning and tactical execution of our Plans. However, one often overlooked element of negotiation or overall project management is the need to give a little from time to time. You will find yourself in a situation soon enough where you have an opportunity to let your position relax in the face of another. We all know the hard-charging, never-take-no-for-an-answer PM. Overall; do their success rates trend higher than your own? What is your style?

Your ability to instantaneously assess the pros and cons of standing down on occasion may well be determined by your ability to evaluate and capitalize upon the value of the goodwill your concession will earn. Try to involve the consideration of what positions you might sacrifice on equally as deeply as your consideration of the items on which your position must prevail. Once you have this in mind, take a dive once in a while.

You may find that upon receipt of this goodwill that opposition for what you truly desire has vanished. And even when it hasn’t, the truly exceptional PM will be able to leverage that goodwill for far more than had it not been earned. So take a step back before you rush in and consider where your pawns lie in every conversation. Don’t trade them away for nothing, but don’t let your project go off track because of your inability to compromise!

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