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15 May 2012 · Article

Negotiating Tips...Should You Listen To The Wise Old Owl?

Remember the story about the little field mouse lost in the woods, unable to find his way out? Seeing a wise old owl sitting in a tree, he pleaded, 'Please wise owl, how can I get out of these woods?' 'Easy,' said the owl, 'Grow wings and fly out, as I do.' But how can I grow wings?' asked the mouse. Sniffing disdainfully, the owl quipped, 'Don't bother me with the details, I only decide the policy!'\r
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Do you ever feel like that field mouse as a negotiator or manager, especially during protracted negotiations or when someone issues a 'take it or leave it' ultimatum on a significant issue? Or let's say you've been negotiating for months. And at the eleventh hour, one party decides to introduce new terms and conditions, just when you were planning the celebration.\r
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Or are we sometimes like the wise old owl? Did you ever have to tell the other side, 'no' and the reason is 'that is our policy'. (And you may have added, under your breath, 'deal with it'). Isn't that the same as telling the mouse to grow wings?\r
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By Dave Barton, VP of Customer Contracts, Agilent Technologies


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