Negotiating Tip #22:
Use Everyone’s Best Skills
It is a well established fact that those most likely to become CEOs are not the star students at school. As Adam Grant explains (“What Straight-A Students Get Wrong”), “Getting straight A’s requires conformity. Having an influential career demands originality.” He goes on: “Career success is rarely about finding the right solution to a problem – it’s more about finding the right problem to solve…. You gain experience coping with failures and setbacks, which builds resilience.”
Does that mean you should always prefer the creative person? No. As letter writers to the NY Times pointed out in response to Grant’s article, “Perfectionists are squares who follow all the rules… We are weirdly detail-oriented, and that works well in a field where details are the difference between life and death.”
Society needs doctors, car mechanics, architects, etc. who obsess about getting things just right, who settle into the system instead of shaking it up. Those straight-A students “might not be the visionaries who will fundamentally transform the world, but we sure can keep a lot of the wheels rolling so that there is something left to transform.”
Your negotiating team needs to draw on both sets of skills – the creative and the detail-oriented. Your job is to find the best way to draw upon both sides of the aisle. That can be tough. If it is just you negotiating, you have to learn how to push back and ask yourself if you have been both creative and detail-oriented. If you are managing a team, it can be a real challenge to get the two types of people to work together: they often do not naturally function well together.