Being agreeable only gets you so far
Do nice guys finish last? A recent study seems to support that notion.
Two professors at Vanderbilt University's Owen Graduate School of Management in Nashville, Tennessee, spent a couple years studying behavior at the bargaining table. One key finding: Agreeable folks did worse in certain types of negotiations because they tend to value cooperation over protecting their self-interests. That might not be surprising, but how about this: Intelligence had absolutely no impact on the outcome of win-lose negotiations (where one side comes out ahead), say professors Bruce Barry and Raymond Friedman.
What does matter? Nerve and toughness, say the profs. Have them
and, odds are, you'll come out on top.
If you're an agreeable person by nature, your best bet is to go into the negotiation strongly focused on what you want out of the deal--not on making nice with the other side--and you'll probably do okay, say the researchers.
Incidentally, in negotiations where true win-win outcomes are
possible, intelligence does benefit a negotiator because he'll
be more adept at sniffing out what really matters to the other
side. In fact, in those kinds of negotiations, say Barry and
Friedman, intelligence is a key factor in reaching a successful
Robert McGarvey is Entrepreneur's "Web Smarts" columnist.
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