Bragging Rights: Negotiation Mastery Certification at Cornell University

In August I completed the Negotiation Mastery Certification through Cornell University’s online professional certification program.

It’s a well-designed program that is reasonably easy to fit into a full-time working professional’s busy life. The focus is on negotiation with a heavy emphasis on the kinds of negotiations lawyers and salespeople participate in.

If you are looking for something to help with internal negotiations with coworkers and contractors already committed to a project, then the examples and exercises provided may feel like they don’t apply but the techniques being taught are solid and can be modified to suit any situation.

Truthfully, this was my own struggle in this class, because policy development requires a lot of internal negotiation with coworkers, which is distinctly different from a sale call or a legal negotiation over the acquisition of a large property (a common theme in the homework). However, after taking some time to process everything I learned, I realized that it’s all about working with people and most of the techniques are heavily focused on understanding how people behave during a negotiation and the best ways to navigate the conversation – it’s all about working and communication with people.

It’s an excellent class. I strongly recommend it.

Black Market Hope

Quote

I stood in front of her, hands folded. So, she said. She had a cigarette, and she put it between her lips and gripped it there while she lit it. Her lips were thin, held that way, with the small vertical lines around them you used to see in advertisements for lip cosmetics. The lighter was ivory-colored. The cigarettes must have come from the black market, I thought, and this gave me hope. Even now that there is no real money anymore, there’s still a black market. There’s always a black market, there’s always something that can be exchanged.

She then was a woman who might bend the rules. But what did I have, to trade?

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Explanations are Optional

Septimus shrugged and said nothing, the ways of Camp Heap rubbing off on him. He was learning from his brothers that you didn’t have to explain yourself if you didn’t want to—and that sometimes, with a witch, it was better not to.

Septimus Heap, Book Four: Quest by Angie Sage

Book Review: It’s Not About You

Amazon.com

“Give people something good to live up to—something great—and they usually will. In fact, often they’ll even exceed those expectations.”

This book reads like a novel. It’s a lovely, heartwarming, story about a manager trying to coordinate a merger between a small family business and a larger corporation.

He’s there to convince people, persuade them to do what his employer wants them to do. He’s there to meet his own career objectives. While he achieves his goals, he also learns crucial lessons about doing business both ethically and effectively – about negotiating a win-win situation and about leading a people toward goals that may not be clear to everyone involved.

“The single biggest challenge to any organization is the constant cloud of fear and doubt that swirls around the heads of the people involved. As a leader, your job is to hold fast to the big picture, to keep seeing in your mind’s eye, with crystal clarity, where it is you’re going—that place that right at this moment exists only in your mind’s eye. And to keep seeing that, even when nobody else does. “Especially when nobody else does.” Your people count on you to do this. It’s the biggest job you have.”

This isn’t the business management version of a Christmas Carol. The main character is a far cry from the wicked Mr. Scrooge. In fact, he’s essentially a really good guy with some rather standard perspectives on management and business. This is a story about a good guy transforming into a better guy – a better manager and a better person.

“Building a business takes skill, work, and materials . . . but those are details. More than anything else, building a business—really, building anything—is an act of faith. Because you’re creating something out of nothing, you see?”

It’s a light read filled with truly useful advice, making it the perfect business book to pick up over the holidays.

It’s Not About You: A Little Story About What Matters Most in Business by Bob Burg, John David Mann