One of the things I have realized over the time, when we’re negotiating with creditors and in actual fact when we are negotiating or dealing with things in life, is that there are no winners in an argument, whether it be our partners, whether it be our children, our parents. As soon as you get into an argument what we’re trying to do is to try and prove that the other person is wrong and that we are right. Now, from our point of view we’ll be right but if we accept the other person’s point of view from theirs is right, then we get a lot further.
The example of that is when we are negotiating or when we are arguing with creditors and disagreeing and you get into this argy-bargy fight with them, there can only be one winner and one loser. But the reality is both of you lose. Because even if you prove the other person’s wrong, they feel bad, they feel upset and they feel like they’ve been beaten. So you don’t win because there’s that resentment there. One of the things I have learnt years ago is to just picture that person and think of what’s in it for them, from their point of view what are they trying to say. And when we try to understand the other person, we might not necessarily agree with them but we understand where they’re coming from.
I was recently involved in a negotiation where a person had put $600 odd thousand into a business, and the business hadn’t worked out. The director had spent the money on what he thought was wisely, but the whole thing just collapsed. Now, what happened was the director of the company was wanting the investor to put some more money in. The investor had got to the end of this tether and said, “I don’t want to put more money in, because I don’t know where it’s going”.
Now in that type of situation who’s right or who’s wrong? And the important thing is that it doesn’t matter who’s right or who’s wrong? I can look at it from the investor’s point of view and say, “Hey, you put the money in without any business plan, without any KPIs, without any performances so that you could see where your money was being spent”. Or I can look at it from the director’s point of view and say, “Hey, you had a whole heap of money in the bank and you just spent it. Now was it wise spending it or not, there wasn’t any plan”.
So you can take it from either point of view. The important thing is to understand where the other person is coming from. And if you understand that in a conciliatory way, well then you can both walk away winners – not necessarily agree with one another, but you both walk away winners because you understand.
Instead of trying to beat them, or prove them wrong, or prove yourself right, if you understand why they think they are right. And that saying, “Agree to disagree” – shouldn’t even get to that stage, but if you understand where they are coming from, it’s a lot better, then you both win.