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Now that we've explored the fundamentals of mutual benefit negotiation, we're going to put it altogether by letting you eavesdrop on a negotiation for flex work, between Tom and his manager, Sarah. As the negotiation unfolds, we'll identify the strategies and tactics we explored in the course. Pay special attention to how Tom takes things slowly, how he meets resistance with brainstorming, and stays at the table until he has fully-framed and supported his request. Tom: Hey! Still have a few minutes? Sarah: Of course! Grab a chair. Tom: Thanks! I know you've been in and out of meetings all day. Sarah: It never ends. Tom: I know. No lunch? Sarah: Oh, well, I'm trying to get out early. My son has a class play tonight. He is going to be a fig tree. Tom: (laughing) Well, you have to start somewhere. Sarah: Right. So how is your own little one? Tom: Olivia, oh, she is amazing. Sarah: Aw! Tom: Yeah, she is four weeks old tomorrow. Sarah: Ah, congrats! Tom: Thanks! That's actually what I am here about. Paternity leave was fantastic. Working flextime for the last several weeks was--it was just great, being able to spend time with my wife and my daughter. But now that I am back full-time, I am realizing that I actually got more work done at home than I do here. You know, a baby cries for five minutes, but a meeting goes on for two hours. Sarah: (laughing) I see! So what you are saying is you want to work flextime on a long-term basis? Tom: What I am saying is, I think the whole company could benefit from a flextime policy. Sarah: Aha! Tom: What do you think? Sarah: Well, that's ambitious and I think it might be fine for a start-up, but for someone as big as us, I don't see it. Tom: That's how I thought at first, but I did a lot of research and I found at least half a dozen companies-- Sarah: Tom! Tom: --of our size or--or larger, also competitors, who have flextime policies and they all say the same thing; employee satisfaction goes up, productivity goes up, and employee turnaround goes down. Sarah: Look, that might be great for them, but it's such a radical departure from the way we do business. I wouldn't even know where to start. Tom: Well, have you seen the Customer Service stats from when I was away? Sarah: Yeah, I have. Tom: And what do they say? Sarah: Complaints were down about 10%, sales were up about the same amount. I get it Tom. You were more productive at home. Tom: It wasn't just me though. It was my whole team. Without me here micromanaging them, everybody got to focus on their own tasks, on their own time, and lo and behold it turns out that micromanaging wasn't the answer. Sarah: Hmm. Tom: Can I ask you another question? Sarah: Uh-huh. Tom: Who do you think would benefit from a more flexible schedule? Sarah: Well, Steve and Sally both have long commutes. I am sure they would both love to work from home a couple of days a week. Tom: How about yourself? Well, I mean, if you were able to work from home today, you'd have been able to have a decent lunch and you'd be able to get to your son's play without being rushed. Sarah: Well, that sounds great when you put it that way, but the executive team doesn't necessarily believe that employee morale directly affects the bottom line. Tom: Well, look at it this way, you know Sheila, from my department? Sarah: Uh-huh. Tom: Well, she had to take two days off last week because her kid was home from school and she didn't have a sitter. Now, that's two days of lost work, because she wasn't set up to work from home. And the thing is, is if we had known about this ahead of time, it wouldn't have been hard to do. Sarah: So you are saying we just need to have a system in place where if anybody had to work from home, they could? Tom: Or from anywhere. Sarah: So it doesn't matter where they are when they get their work done as long as it gets done. Tom: Exactly! Results are results. That's all that matters. Sarah: I do see where you are coming from. But pitching this to the executive team-- Tom: Well, just brainstorming here. It doesn't have to be one big sweeping change all at once. We could try one team, not even my own team, maybe engineering, and try it out for a few months. Sarah: Uh-huh. I am not a 100% with you yet. Tom: Okay. Well, I just sprang this on you. Sarah: Yeah, I understand. Tom: What do you think you would need for me to get to that 100% commitment, not 99%, but 100%? Sarah: Let's see, you've got a good start with those customer service stats. If you could make a compelling case that benefits the bottom line and demonstrate how you plan to maintain those numbers over the long haul, that'd help. Tom: I am on it. I'll design a set of objectives, that we can track and measure results. Sarah: Okay. Tom: What else? Sarah: Well, that research you were talking about, I'll need to see that. And give me some examples about how your own team can remotely do their jobs and engineering or anybody, even the receptionist, basically just give me the data, and if it's rock-solid, I'll sign on. Tom: A 100%? Sarah: Yes, if your data is rock-solid. Tom: All right, I think I can make this happen. Sarah: Okay. Tom: And I'll go one up on you. Sarah: Okay. Tom: What if I were to design a pilot plan to go along with these measurement targets you're going to present? Sarah: That's what I am looking for. Tom: Okay. And if I were to get this to you before next Friday, would you be willing to present this at the next executive team meeting? Sarah: Well, if the data is good and our proposal is tight, I would. Tom: Excellent! I am thrilled about this, Sarah. Thank you so much! Sarah: Now, you realize you still have a long way to go? Tom: Yeah, but I am a lot closer than I was five minutes ago. Sarah: (laughing) Okay. I'll be talking to you. Tom: All right! Thank you so much! Sarah: You're very welcome! So that was a great example of how to keep a negotiation on track. And it was great to hear Tom make his way through the conversation with ease, and yet persistence. Sounded like an everyday workplace conversation, right? But everything we covered throughout the course, from diagnostic questions, to handling a lack of cooperation, made its way into the negotiation authentically due to Tom's preparation. Watching that example may have triggered possibilities for you to practice asking for what you want in your workplace. When thinking about a request you've been wanting to make, use this conversation as a template for reaching your goals and finding your way to agreement.
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