Unleashing Your Future Potential: The Key To Project Involvement And Negotiating Success

In the realm of job and salary negotiations, there is one question you should always ask, regardless of the circumstances: How can I be guaranteed to be involved in projects critical to the company’s future? This question holds tremendous power and should be the initial verbal response to inquiries about your previous salary or salary requirements.

Tom McCabe, a remarkable individual from my hometown, Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, incorporates this question into every job negotiation he undertakes. Having achieved extraordinary success as a global business manager for billion-dollar enterprises over the past two decades, McCabe serves as an inspiring example of what can be accomplished without an MBA, a prestigious university degree, extensive alumni networks or influential family connections (though he does come from a great family).

So how did Tom reach such heights? It boils down to several key factors: unwavering dedication, integrity, exceptional people skills (high emotional intelligence), a good sense of humor and an unwavering commitment to the future success of every employer he’s worked for. Additionally, Tom has a talent for attracting remarkably talented individuals to work with him, as he actively invests in their future growth. The opportunity to be involved in strategic projects serves as a powerful recruiting tool.

Before placing a price tag on yourself (or anything else), it is crucial to establish your value. It’s not merely a matter of “he/she who names the price first loses.” Rather, anyone who quotes a price without comprehending the value at stake is operating blindly. This principle aligns directly with the rules set forth by The Black Swan Group, emphasizing that price is just one aspect of negotiation, and a good price does not necessarily equate to a good deal.

One of the most effective ways to establish value with your negotiation counterpart is by genuinely positioning yourself as someone committed to their future prosperity. In every negotiation, your counterpart is silently asking, “What’s in this for me?” Offering them a promising future is a compelling answer.

Hostage negotiators understand that connecting with the hostage taker’s vision of the future is pivotal to coaxing them out of their volatile situation. Early on, hostage negotiators emphasize their commitment to ensuring everyone’s safety. By establishing a link between themselves and the hostage taker’s vision of a future where they live, even if it’s only for a few more hours, negotiators increase their chances of success.

In the realm of networking, Keith Ferrazzi’s book “Never Eat Alone” stands out as a masterpiece. It shares an intriguing anecdote about the author’s early career experience. Upon receiving his MBA, Ferrazzi landed a job that involved extensive spreadsheet work, which he despised. Unmotivated and disengaged, he was on the verge of being fired or quitting. However, he shifted his focus towards making connections for his company. During his spare time, he raised the company’s visibility by giving free talks at small conferences nationwide. He proactively reached out to anyone who could benefit from a relationship with his employer, concentrating on areas critical to the company’s future. During his annual review, his superiors faced two options: fire him or redefine his job description. They chose the latter, setting the stage for Ferrazzi’s incredible success within the company.

Establishing your value to your current or potential employer in a similar fashion enhances your worth and makes it easier for them to offer you a competitive salary. You become a valuable asset, and negotiating your worth upfront paves the way for success.

Christopher Voss is the CEO of The Black Swan Group, a firm that solves business negotiation problems with hostage negotiation strategies. Chris is also an Adjunct Professor at the University of Southern California (USC) Marshall School of Business and Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business where he teaches business negotiation in both M.B.A. programs.



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