Everybody knows that there’s a special little something about French bread, antiques and lovers.  Is it the same for French Negotiators?

As you’ll see in a minute, it’s all about the French Revolution. Growing up in France, a hundred times a day, 365 days a year I was exposed to the same simple historical and cultural mantra… which shapes everything the French think, say and do.  Be it in the bedroom or in the boardroom. And although you may think that it’s “Baguette, Bordeaux and Brigitte Bardot”, it isn’t!

Engraved on all public buildings, passports, Euro notes and people’s subconscious, are 3 values inherited from the French Revolution (which inspired the UN Declaration of Human Rights):

Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite

(Liberty, Equality, Brotherhood)

And if you are not convinced, next time you’re in Paris, tear yourself away from the glass of Bordeaux you’re sipping “a la terrace” and glance up – you’re sure to see it written on most buildings. So what does this all have to do with Negotiators, you may ask? Having led countless deals worth billions of dollars across the globe, I have noticed that it is exactly these Values that are the common thread in all my dealmaking. It took me years of experience at the negotiation table to realize that to get a great deal outcome, I relied upon these fundamental Values.  Here’s how:

  1. Liberty – know what you want and feel free to ask for it. By failing to do so, you will “self-sabotage” your deal, as Deborah Kolb, the author of “The Shadow Negotiation” puts it.
  1. Equality – be assertive and treat your counterpart as an equal in your negotiation. You’ll avoid the common pitfall of misusing power (by being overly aggressive or submissive).
  1. Brotherhood – besides securing value, the ultimate goal of a negotiation is building a strong sustainable relationship. Pure self-interest may get you as far as “nailing a good deal”, but it’d be the last deal you’ll ever do with this counterpart… and their network.

Unarguably, businesses as well as individual leaders have an inherent culture and values that shape the way they do business … and the way they make deals. Whether consciously or unconsciously, these Values directly influence the negotiator’s strategy, attitudes and behaviours at the table by impacting how he/she:

  • measures “value” and a “great deal”
  • uses power
  • makes concessions and trades value
  • chooses specific negotiation tactics to rely on
  • burns or builds relationships

I’d go so far as to say that Values impact your and your counterpart’s negotiations more than any other circumstances or factors. So, really, I’m just lucky that my “Frenchiness” … my “inherited cultural Values”… have rubbed off on me sufficiently enough to be my ally in becoming a Trusted Negotiator.

Now, the Million Dollar Question is:

“How well do you know what you and your negotiation counterpart’s Values are?

And, more importantly…

“How will they impact your dealmaking process and outcome?”

Master Negotiators follow a pre-deal routine to prepare for success.  Prep is the most complex part of the process. The way you prepare sets you up for either success or failure at the negotiation table. Want to know how to leverage your and your counterpart’s Values in your Deal Preparation? Get The Deal Prep Sheet that will put all your essential deal puzzle pieces together and put you in control of the negotiation and strike your deal.

“Values are like fingerprints. Nobody’s are the same, but you have ‘em all over everything you do.” Elvis Presley

“It is not hard to make decisions once you know what your values are.”  Roy E Disney

"Imagine a world where the men in business not only come home with more value in the deal, but with a new sense of trust and respect as a society?"

Fabian Courtaux, Trusted Negotiator