Feb 8 – Give Others What THEY Want

Some people love walnuts in their chocolate chip cookies.   If you're going to make them as a special treat, it's good to know to include them.

Some people love walnuts in their chocolate chip cookies. If you're going to make them as a special treat, it's good to know to include them.

Cheetah Certified Project Manager (CCPM) Tip of the Day

February 8 – Before entering a negotiation, take a guess at the zone of potential agreement (ZOPA) between you and the other party. When in early discussions, get an idea on the actual zone of potential agreement you do have for whatever it is you are negotiating.


Michelle LaBrosse, CCPM, PMP, PMI-ACP

When you help other people get what they want, you get what you want. The term “win-win” is a concept used in negotiations that means both parties create a win when they enter into a negotiation. This, at times, takes a lot of finesse on the spot, often requiring the other party to have your best interests at heart as well. What is easier is to size up what you want, FIRST. Then find the opportunities that can help you best create that by giving other people what they want.

I learned this lesson in a very tough set of negotiations. I had an Air Force ROTC scholarship for my undergraduate degree in Aerospace Engineering. As part of the exchange for this, I had to serve Active Duty in the Air Force. My senior year in college, I had met a Major who was at the Johnson Space Fight Center in the Shuttle Payload program. He had heard me speak at a meeting he took his daughter to for evaluating if engineering would be a suitable career for her. My dream was to work in the space program and figure out how to work my way into being an Astronaut. This Major loved my speaking ability and wanted me to work in his program at NASA. He put in what is called a “by name” request for me to work there. In the Air Force, a by name request pretty much guarantees you will get that assignment. Two weeks before graduation, I got my assignment. I was being sent to Wright Patterson Air Force Base rather than NASA. I was consoled by the Officers who ran the ROTC program with the adage, “the needs of the Air Force come first.” I started active duty a month later, one disgruntled unit. I was in a wave of 2,000 lieutenants who were to start active duty that year and was one of the first ones assigned. This meant the pick of assignments at this incredible research and development base for Aerospace Engineering. I knew my dreams were too big to be at the mercy of the “needs of the Air Force.” I was committed to make the best of my time there so I could find my way to a civilian career that would help me more reliably achieve my goals. I was clear in interviews that I wanted to create opportunities for a civilian career. I found an incredible office that loved my guts and candor; plus, it was a job most Aerospace Engineers did not want, as it was working with electronic systems. They wanted and needed someone who would like to work in an area that was not “sexy” from an Aerospace Engineering perspective, but it would expose whoever took the job to working with hundreds of electronic defense contractors. Three years into my four-year tour, the US Congress had budget cuts and needed to do a reduction in force. They wanted to get rid of the higher-priced first lieutenants. Since the needs of the Air Force came first, I graciously volunteered to leave. They accepted my offer. I gave them what they wanted, I got what I wanted – my freedom.

You can learn how to do this level of strategizing to get what you want. In the Cheetah Certified Project Manager (CCPM) program, you learn how to set up situations so you get what you want by giving other people what they want.

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