We all like to think that we have a certain amount of logic, some more than others, especially when it comes to making decisions that have a serious impact on our future – like in negotiation for example.
It is probably fair to say that when we as people make decisions it is heavily based on value, especially in business. We are constantly talking about “how we can find value” or “how we can create value” or “what can we do that makes us more valuable”. All these different uses of the word value confuse me, every time it is mentioned there is a different definition. If what I value is logical and what you value is logical, then how come they are different?
Maybe it has something to do with the fact that we value things that we care about and we care about things that we have an emotional attachment to.
With all the research done today that involves emotion and decisions, it is pretty hard to ignore that emotion drives decision-making. It is almost as if this idea of logic is something we made up to hide the fact that emotions are heavily involved in how we come to decisions. Sometimes I think we forget that emotions also involve things like joy, happiness, elation, and satisfaction – As opposed to the negative emotions like sadness, fear and loneliness which are a lot of what makes the word emotion almost insulting, especially when it come to the business world. If you referred to someone as passionate as opposed to emotional they would be extremely flattered. Exactly what is the difference between those?
The Huffington Post has a great article that discusses how emotional intelligence (EQ) improves decision-making. It goes on to say that with a tremendous amount of EQ you still make decisions based on emotion, you just do a better job of removing the emotions that have nothing to do with the decision itself. Jim Camp, author of “Start with No” wrote a great article called Decisions Are Emotional, not Logical: The Neuroscience behind Decision Making, where he discusses the importance of emotions to make good decisions. As Jim mentions you can find many instances of studies that have been done to show that people who have damaged the part of their brain where emotions are housed can pass as healthy but no longer have the ability to make decisions, or good ones at least. (For example the story of Phineas Gage.) In Psychology today an article by Ph. D Mary C. Lamia called “Like it Or Not, Emotions Will Drive the Decisions You Make Today” refers to emotions affect on decisions as well. The fact is this information about the relationship between emotion and decision is all around us.
At it’s foundation negotiation is an information gathering process, if you don’t gather the information that helps you to understand the underlying emotional drivers of your counterpart you are going to have a lot of trouble making headway. If you have ever been faced with constructing that perfect argument/objection/position in a negotiation backed by facts and data? Then you present it to your counterpart and you both are still very far apart on the resolution, emotion may have something to do with it.
You overcome these challenges with the proper execution of empathy and good preparation for the process of negotiation. What I mean by that is the communication aspect, not just doing research and preparing what you want and why. But engaging in an effort of turning the other sides emotional drivers into chauffeurs for your solution.