A civil action

J. Paul Getty, American industrialist and founder of Getty Oil, once said: "You must never try to make all the money that's in a deal...if you have a reputation for always making all the money, you won't have many deals." If applied to common negotiations in the Middle East, Getty hits the nail on the head.

COMMENT, Facilities Management

J. Paul Getty, American industrialist and founder of Getty Oil, once said: "You must never try to make all the money that' in a deal...if you have a reputation for always making all the money, you won't have many deals."? If applied to common negotiations in the Middle East, Getty hits the nail on the head.

We've all seen the movies featuring high-profile businessmen in über-contemporary offices negotiating million-dollar deals and not taking 'no' for an answer. They approach a negotiation as a battle to be won or lost, and their sense of identity, right/wrong/, good/evil is directly connected to the number of career wins they record. In short, they're the ones that 'try to make all the money', and they're becoming more and more prevalent in the Middle East.

While they make for good movie characters, my guess is, the Gordon Gecko's (Wall Street) and Edward Lewis' (Pretty Woman) of the world don't make for very good negotiating partners. That's because by focusing wholly on the end result and employing a win-lose, zero-sum strategy to negotiations, they forget the people involved and in doing so, destroy the process.

The remit of FMs is so broad and integrated nowadays that industry professionals often play different roles on different days. Whether your job description includes overseeing crisis management, subcontracting waste removal or negotiating a better price for toner cartridges, the fact is, negotiation is part of your job. While some of it seems like common sense, there is a science to negotiating - ?particularly in cross-cultural situations - ?and this month's cover story addresses five important variables to consider before taking your seat at the negotiation table.

B.C. Forbes, renowned British journalist and founder of Forbes Magazine, once wrote:" Any business arrangement that is not profitable to the other person will in the end prove unprofitable for you. The bargain that yields mutual satisfaction is the only one that is apt to be repeated."? Unlike the win-losers, Forbes recognises that inherent in a 'successful' negotiation is a mutual sense of having benefited from the process.

We've all been in situations where our actions toward another person has come full circle to bite us; we've all burnt bridges or tempted karma. Despite our grandmothers' warnings, I'll bet there's not a reader out there that has always done unto others as they'd have done to them. As Forbes points out, that can't happen in negotiation. And, given the small fraternity that is the FM market in the Middle East, unless you're willing to lose the client or contract altogether, it really can't happen here.

Given the slow diversification of the region, cultural challenges and the occasional language barrier are inevitable, but they shouldn't be deal breakers. While you probably dislike the position of your negotiating partner - ?and they most likely dislike yours - ?mutual satisfaction is the only way to ensure that service providers and end users remain satisfied and negotiations remain civil.

Jeff Roberts is the editor of facilities management Middle East.

Most popular

Awards

CW Oman Awards 2020: Meet the winners
A round of the thirteen winning names at the Construction Week Oman Awards 2020 that

Conferences

Leaders UAE 2020: Building a sustainable, 'resilient' infra
AESG’s Phillipa Grant, Burohappold’s Farah Naz, and Samana's Imran Farooq on a sustainable built environment
CW In Focus | Inside the Leaders in KSA Awards 2019 in Riyadh
Meet the winners in all 10 categories and learn more about Vision 2030 in this

Latest Issue

Construction Week - Issue 767
Sep 01, 2020