Most of us have heard the statement that perception is reality.
Sometimes we see a person and things through our own assessment, but that person may see themselves and the situation very differently.
I have been in situations where people have argued over what one person meant and the other of how they perceived it.
At the end of the day, perception is reality because the person who is perceiving is going to act accordingly.
The closer our perception is to the actual facts, the more likely we are to be able to negotiate successfully.
As the definition of perception is the ability to see, hear, or become aware of something through the senses, it is critical in negotiation that we properly perceive our actual positioning.
An example might be my friend, Kevin. Kevin’s company announced that they would be doing some restructuring due to a new relationship with a global partner. Kevin’s immediate supervisor, who was a senior vice-president, would be moving to another office overseas. Although it would be a year before the move would take place, Kevin saw this as a great opportunity. In his mind, he was the next in line for the position his supervisor would be vacating. Kevin had been at the company for 10 years, and no one in the office could match his technical skill set when it came to product development.
He spoke to his current boss to ask about plans for the position and to ask his advice on negotiating his promotion. Kevin was surprised when his boss told him that, although he had great technical skills, the company probably would recruit from the outside, as the widespread perception in the company was that Kevin did not work well with other people.
The perception was that he wasn’t a team player.
For where the company was headed, it was essential for senior management to have people who had leadership skills – and, specifically, people skills.
Kevin disagreed with the perception of his boss and other colleagues concerning him. He failed to ask for specific feedback that could have assisted him in making the necessary changes over the course of the year.
Kevin simply proceeded to be dismissive of the perception of others.
What Kevin failed to realize was that it was these same people who would have input as to who would fill the new position.
Over the course of the next several months, Kevin worked harder and stayed later, but did nothing to improve his people skills. He did not believe it was a problem.
Six months later, as the company began interviews – first from internal candidates – Kevin was prepared. He had pulled information about projects he had led and worked on over the past 10 years, the times in which the projects came in ahead of time, and how they had significantly added to the bottom line of the company.
Kevin was not at all concerned about what his boss had previously shared.
After applauding Kevin for all his contributions to the company, the team moved him through three rounds of interviews but did not move him into the final interview.
Kevin never got the opportunity to negotiate because he never made it to the negotiation table.
You see, Kevin was in the process of still selling himself, and that is always a problem when you are considering going into negotiation.
By the time you get to the negotiation table, selling is over; perception has spoken, and your reality speaks.
What is perception speaking about you? Have you been trying to negotiate when people are not even sold on you?
Remember, my friends, you may not agree with it, you may not like it; but perception is reality. Don’t let reality slap you in the face.
For more Negotiation Tips – click here.
CALL TO ACTION:
Take a short poll of how people perceive you in three critical areas of your life (Personal, Business, and Career).
Don’t argue if you disagree. Ask the question, “What makes you believe that?”
There you will find your answers and the things you need to work on before you begin the negotiation process.