Christian executives have the potential to be the best negotiators because they have access to biblical principles that we ensure negotiating success. The Bible is a great tool to help leaders learn the principles of success.
5 Key Biblical Principles That Help Us Negotiate to Win-Win Outcomes
1. Biblical Principle #1 – Start With The Other.
Key Biblical Principle: Philippians 2:3 – Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. (NIV)
Great negotiations begin when we understand the other party and consider them more important than we consider ourselves.
In the book “Getting More” by Stuart Diamond he explains how a businessman used this powerful principle to change the thinking on 3,000 farmers. One night, in the early 1990s, an American businessman stood in a Bolivian jungle clearing amidst a group of impoverished Indian farmers. He was there to make a deal: He wanted the farmers to stop growing coca (the plant used in the production of cocaine) and instead grow bananas that he and his colleagues would export. Wearing a three-piece suit, tie, and suspenders, the businessman looked at the farmers in their tattered rags and said, through an interpreter (the farmers spoke Qetchua, an Indian dialect),“Look at me. You and I couldn’t be more different. I dress differently. I talk differently. I look different. My plane ticket down here probably cost more than many of you make in a year. But I think we have some things in common. We both want a better life for ourselves and our children. And if we work together, we just might be able to do something together.” The businessman went on to form a strong, lasting relationship with the farmers, in the end convincing 3,000 of them to abandon the coca plant in favor of bananas.
You must always put the other party’s interest before yours. Putting their interest before yours would give you an edge in carrying out the business very well, without others losing interest in you.
2. Biblical Principle #2 – Put Justice First
Key Biblical Principle: Psalm 112:5 – Good will come to those who are generous and lend freely, who conduct their affairs with justice.” (NIV)
God reminds the leader and the wealthy to conduct their affairs with justice. The Biblical synonym for justice is righteous or righteousness which simply means, to do what is right. God standard for what is right doesn’t change, and He has a clear standard of righteousness. This is where we find the rules for making business deals in a way that would glorify Him.
Conducting with justice means we should always practice fairness.
There’s nothing wrong with making or saving money as a result of good negotiation. As Christian business leaders, we should be on guard for anything that may send the message that we are not acting with integrity. Sometimes we negotiate too hard or with word choices that may be inappropriate.
3. Biblical Principle #3 – See the Other Person’s Side.
Key Biblical Principle: 1 Corinthians 10:24 – “Try to do what is good for others, not just what is good for yourselves.”
We are to consider others, and that means that we should go the second mile to think about what the deal will cost the other party. This helps to have a larger impact on our vendors. As Christian businesses, we have the opportunity to show people the difference or how a Christ-centered business acts versus a typical business.
Another way of having a reasonable negotiation with another party is by understanding what they want, and how best you can convince them to like what you want in order to know how to present what you have for them. For both sides to win.
You must show to them that you care more about them than just your business. This will take you into a relationship with your customer. You should be able to relate to your customer beyond the transactions. This will, in turn, earn you more, cause your style of customer relationship will be different from that of the messenger who can’t wait to be paid after his delivery. This means you have to maintain a close relationship with the other party, in order to keep each other’s integrity.
Coaching Question: Is it fair to say that when somebody makes a deal with you, he or she should walk away feeling like he or she dealt with somebody who is different from the world? How could you make that happen?
4. Biblical Principle #4 – Share Your Passion
Key Biblical Principle: 2 Tim. 3:16 – “All scriptures were given by the inspiration of the Almighty.”
In the book of Job, the Bible talks about a “Spirit in Man and the inspiration of God giving this spirit understanding.” We all have something that inspires us to things, like a drive. When you are so convinced in you that you have been inspired to carry on with a particular trade, then you can go ahead with the trade. As believers, God is our source of inspiration. There are a couple of businesses out there that were inspired from scriptures, such as IN-N-OUT BURGER, FOREVER 21, CHICK-FIL-A and some others. It should, however, be noted that all companies founded on God’s inspiration are often blooming more than the ordinary ones.
5. Biblical Principle #5 – Plan Ahead.
Key Biblical Principle: Luke 14:28 – “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it?”
Making plans on how you want to carry out your business, how you want to interpret your business to the world. This is where most of the work is because it needs an accurate strategy. This is the point where you will determine the fate of your business. The plans you make will determine how far you will go in business. For instance Toyota, the founder sat down one day and decided to come up with an idea of the automobile. They must have started rough, but trust me the plan made then has given the company a good fate today. Now, we have nice cars made by Toyota. So is every other competitive product out there, there is always a strive to become better, and produce better results than the last ones. Just like JOB in the Bible, his end was greater than his beginning, so is the business of every Christian. Our latter end should always be better of than the beginning.
Christian leaders would be wise to use all these principles and the many more that are discussed in the Bible. There are ways to which you can make a healthy negotiation with the other party. However, you should avoid hate, when it comes to negotiations. And lastly, you should enter into every negotiation with an open heart.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Ken Gosnell serves leaders by helping them to have great experiences that both transform them and their organizations. He has worked with hundreds of CEOS and their leadership teams to enhance their strategic, operational and people accomplishments. He is an author, coach, and strategic partner with CEOs. He is married to Shonda, and they have four children. You can connect with him at https://www.linkedin.com/in/kengosnell/