Before the conversation, you need to get a better understanding of yourself and what you hope to accomplish. You can use the CCF internally as well.
- One of the biggest barriers I see when I work with people as it relates to negotiation and conflict resolution in general, and especially with these difficult conversations about race, people focus so heavily on the external negotiation that they miss the internal negotiation. We have to figure out what it is that we want and need before we have the external negotiation. And it's very important for us to take the time to get this clarity because that makes us much more effective in the actual difficult conversation. And so I'll give an example as it relates to me. And so I remember one time I was working with a company, and we were negotiating the contract and what would go into the training program, and they wanted to be a little bit light on the training. And so as a business person, you would think, "Okay, revenue coming in, that's good enough. Just start here." But it just didn't feel right. And so what I did is I stopped the negotiation and said, "Let's continue this conversation at another time." And so I started to have that negotiation with myself. We're going to use the exact same framework that we use for the external negotiation for the internal negotiation, and that's the compassionate curiosity framework. We're going to acknowledge emotions. We're going to get curious with compassion and engage in joint problem-solving. So for me, the emotion that I had to acknowledge is that I felt uncomfortable. I didn't feel satisfied with the arrangement that we had. That's the emotional component. And then getting curious, I had to ask myself why. Why do I feel this way? Shouldn't you just feel satisfied? And remember, you see that tone (laughs) that I just took with myself? Oftentimes we are our own worst critics, and so that's why we still need to get curious with compassion so we can go through this process and learn about ourselves. And I recognized as I asked myself these questions that I wasn't comfortable with the agreement because I didn't think it was enough. I didn't think it would have the appropriate impact. I thought we were just checking boxes. So with joint problem-solving, what we want to do is we want to reconcile the differences between our hearts and minds. How do I feel about this? What's my emotional need, and what do I want out of this? What's my substantive need? And then we reconcile those. And so I recognized that the only path forward for me was to either up the level of commitment from that organization or walk away because I didn't feel like it would be in line with my goals and my values to give them something that I didn't think would work. And that's how you have that internal negotiation, and it makes you so much more effective in the external negotiation.