Finding the win-win
"If I was to describe my own negotiation style prior to taking the Negotiating and Influencing Skills for Leaders programme at London Business School (LBS), it would probably be ‘effective, yet bullish’. But after putting my new toolkit to work, it’s definitely now ‘win-win’.
I’m Managing Director of our family-run business, Rosy Blue, which specialises in rough diamond sourcing, cutting and polishing as well as jewellery manufacturing. I’m involved in influencing people across all levels, every day of the week, dealing with everyone from junior miners to global, senior executives. And I’m pretty experienced - I’ve been what I call ‘daily hustling’ for the last 12 years.
Coming to LBS was a way for me to see if my style was as effective as my results. And it taught me some quite enlightening things about myself. One of these was through the pre-programme survey that analyses responses from people I deal with regularly – miners, account executives and internal staff – which told me that I can sometimes be perceived as ruthless. So I’ve really taken that on board.
I learned a lot about myself from the survey results. Most people would call me an extremely effective negotiator. But they also found me coarse. They said: ‘He would do anything to win.’ I ranked highly when people were asked: ‘Would you like Ravi to negotiate on your behalf?’ But when it came to, ‘Do you think he would negotiate to benefit both parties?’ I scored low.”
The main challenge I was up against was my own mindset. I would get very frustrated and agitated, and again, it was one of survey responses that clarified this for me best. A peer pointed out that my mind works fast, so I’d interrupt people’s flow midway because I’d already have arrived at their meaning before they’d said it all. My new approach to deal-making is fresher and more collaborative. And that’s important because it’s such a central facet of my work."