Negotiating Tip #47:
Does Intelligence Matter in Negotiating?
We at Mobus Creative Negotiating often cite the work of Adam Grant, a psychologist who has for years been rated as the best professor at the Wharton School. In a New York Times (In Negotiations, Givers Are Smarter Than Takers) article, he asks: Do smarter people do better in negotiating? The answer is complicated.
It turns out, as Grant wrote, “The smarter people were, the better their counterparts did in the negotiations. They used their brainpower to expand the pie, finding ways to help the other side that cost them nothing.” He goes on, “they understood that before you could claim value, you needed to create value.” In an aside, Grant adds an important caveat to this lesson – one that we at Mobus Creative Negotiating emphasize often. As we put it, the best strategy in a negotiation depends on the type of negotiations – in particular, is this a one-time purchase of a standard commodity or is this about an on-going, multi-aspect relationship?
Grant’s aside is, “Tit-for-tat works fine in one-shot interactions. But when ongoing relationships and reputations are formed, tit-for-tat often loses to generous tit-for-tat. If the other party takes a selfish stance three times, instead of competing all three times we seem to be better off cooperating anyway once” to give them a reason to change.