Rethinking the daily hustle

"I took a week to observe my negotiation style – it was like an out-of-body experience."

Ravi Bhansali

Managing Director, Rosy Blue N.V.
Participant on the Negotiating and Influencing Skills for Leaders Programme  


A changing mindset

"I’ve realised it’s not just about negotiating, it’s about dealing with people."

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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."

Changing it up

"In an old family business, entrepreneurship is the only way, not only to survive, but to thrive."


Growing self-awareness

"It’s better to allow the other person to take you to their idea at their own speed, in their own time."

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Nurturing stronger relationships

"I’ve had quite a few milestones since the programme finished, from securing contracts with major new suppliers, to renegotiating new financial structures for the overall company. In March this year I also assumed the position of Managing Director and the courses I’ve taken at LBS have been a great help along the way. Anytime I’ve been thrust into a new role requiring skills I felt I lacked, I’ve tried to find a course to help gain those skills. So I’ve now done three LBS programmes - Essentials of Leadership, Finance & Accounts and of course Negotiating and Influencing Skills for Leaders (NISL).

One of the major things I learned on NISL is that interjecting leaves a person feeling they haven’t been heard. It’s better to allow the other person to take you to their idea at their own speed, in their own time. That’s something I’ve put into practice, and I’ve seen good results so far. People feel I’m more receptive to them, which is helping me take better care of stakeholders.

One of the people I deal with regularly is a senior executive at one of the world’s leading mining houses. We deal together all the time. But from the pre-programme evaluation I understood that while he likes and respects me, he felt I had a selfish attitude. The process helped me realise that, if I wasn’t careful, our relationship could have gone in a bad direction. I still drive a hard bargain today, but I do it while creating value-adding partnerships. Ultimately, I’m focused on strengthening the relationships imperative to the business.

Understanding what I do right and what is less effective has given me greater self-awareness and led to permanent changes in my style of negotiating. But I’ve also been pleasantly surprised how the self-awareness and skills I gained have impacted my personal growth as well. Ultimately any human interaction is a form of negotiation – be it with friends, a spouse or even my children. Being able to understand myself better, and observing the other person’s style of talking, arguing, discussing, has led to a lot of fruitful conclusions that could easily have gone another way."

Negotiating and Influencing Skills for Leaders 

Learn how to influence, persuade and create value  negotiation.