The Role That Power Limits Play In Negotiations

by drjim on December 5, 2014

Time is one of the great power limiters in negotiations

Time is one of the great power limiters in negotiations
Image Credit: Alan Cleaver

In a negotiation, nobody is operating without constraints. We all have limitations on what we can and cannot do. It’s how we deal with these power limits that can have a big impact on the outcome of the negotiations. As negotiators, we need to understand that we are dealing with power limits and then come up with ways to deal with them.

Time As A Power Limit

One of the most common power limits that we will all run into during the course of a negotiation is time. It can be all too easy for us to judge ourselves based on how much time we have and how much time a negotiation is taking. We often judge ourselves much more harshly than anyone else does.

If we feel that we don’t have the amount of time that we believe that the negotiation will require to do properly, then time will be a real power limit for us. A great deal of this can be related back to the concept that “time is money” and the more time that we have invested in a negotiation, the more that we feel we have invested in a successful outcome. Taken together, we may find our options to be limited.

Money As A Power Limit

Another power limit in a negotiation is money. This all has to do with our ability to commit the amount of money that this particular opportunity is going to cost. Not having enough money to make a deal happen is what can cause money to act as a power limit.

If during the negotiation you start to feel as though you are not going to have enough money to pull off a deal, then things start to happen. Specifically, you’ll discover that how you go about conducting your negotiations will start to change based on this belief.

In order to deal with this type of power limit, you need to take action before the negotiations start. Your best bet is to take the time to discover what limitations the other side of the table are operating under. Once you know this, you can work it into your negotiation tactics and you’ll be able to overcome this power limit.

What All Of This Means For You

In a negotiation, nobody has a free reign, We all operating under power limits. The key is to make sure that we understand what our power limits are and find ways to deal with them.

One of the key power limits that shows up in most negotiations is time. When we feel that we don’t have enough time to negotiate properly, we start to feel as though our options are limited. Additionally, money can also create a power limit in a negotiation. Taking the time to understand what limitations the other side has can help to equal things out.

Realizing that we are dealing with power limits is an important first step in dealing wit them. Once we know what may be limiting our ability to successfully negotiate with the other side, we can start to take steps to deal with these power limits. Once we master them, we’ll find that we’re able to create better deals and do it faster.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Negotiating Skills™

Question For You: When you find yourself with not enough time in a negotiation, what steps can you do to remove this power limit?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

Every negotiation is about power. Who has it, who wants it, and where did it all go. As negotiators, we are always looking for negotiation styles and negotiating techniques that we can use to become more powerful. It turns out that there is one simple way that we can make this happen: get more information.

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