To get more of what you want there are four steps. Assess, prepare, ask, package. To give you an example, my dean recently sent me an email indicating that I would have to be going from five courses a year to six courses a year. Because he had received information from the Provost that we needed to be consistent in the amount of contact hours, and course credit. I was not happy about that email. So, my response was, I think I need to talk to my dean. Let’s negotiate. But, before I started a negotiation, I thought hard about why was he doing this? What was in his interest? His interest was probably, to make sure the provost was happy. What was my interest? Not to move from five classes to six classes. And it turns out I teach two different types of classes. MBA electives, and then some specialty classes. There are lots of folks who teach MBA electives. There are very few folks who teach specialty classes. So, I thought I should focus on the specialty classes.
So, then I went for the ask. I set up a meeting, and part of that meeting was to verify the information that I had gathered in my planning session. And, it did turn out to be true. He was interested in making the provost happy, so then came the proposal that packaged our interests. He said he wanted consistency between contact hours and credit. So, what he did is he changed the credit to match the contact hours. I suggested, why not change the contact hours to match the credit? Because it turns out that in my courses, in my specialty courses, we always went over. So, while they were three hours, it was common that we would go for 3 and a half to 4 hours. So, let’s make them 4 hour courses. And, keep me at 5 rather than move me to 6.
He said to me, I never even thought of that, and why didn’t he? It wasn’t that weird. Because he didn’t have the information that I had, that my classes routinely ran over. And, so when I gave him that information, it created a solution that made him as well off as he was, and made me a whole lot better. By the way, I was the only faculty member to get an exception. And why did I get an exception, because everybody else had the same email? For two reasons. One, I decided to negotiate. And, number two, I provided him with a solution that made us both better off.
So, what are the unique opportunities and challenges that women face when they negotiate? Let’s start off with an example that’s pretty far away from what most of us think about as negotiations. In 2006, the U.S. Tennis Open’s Grand Slam Tournament got some new technology. And, for the first time, they were able to replay the calls. And, so they allowed the players to challenge the calls of the referees. Now it turns out, that over the course of the entire tournament, about one third of the challenged calls were given to the player. But interestingly, if you divided up the number of challenges by gender, it turns out the men challenged 73 calls, while the women challenged 28. Now, we can come up with all sorts of stories about why men’s tennis is different from women’s tennis. Men’s tennis is faster. Maybe the judges make more mistakes. Maybe the judges are paying more attention to the women. Maybe. But three times difference in the number of challenges? Women are simply uncomfortable with asking. Expectations drive behavior. If we expect to do poorly, we will behave in ways that ensure a poor performance. This was demonstrated in a piece of research that I think is very telling.
When women were told that people who are like them negotiate poorly, they did significantly worse in their negotiation performance than their male colleagues. When they were told that people like them negotiate well, they did significantly better than their male colleagues. Expectations drive behavior. If you change your expectations, you will change your outcomes. As women, we need to be very cognizant of three aspects of negotiation. Why am I asking? How am I asking? And, for whom am I asking?
Let’s first talk about why you are asking. It turns out that women are much more effective in negotiations when they pair their competence with a communal orientation. Women need to demonstrate their concern for the other. So, how are my skills help you, the organization, my employer, my team, to do better? So, let me give you an example. A colleague of mine had gotten a wonderful job offer from an East Coast university. So, she came to me and said, can you help me figure out how to leverage this offer? I really don’t want to move. I said, no problem. We can do this. So, I said, make an appointment with the Dean, and take the offer with you. Be very clear. Dean, we have a problem. I love Stanford, but I just received this offer, and it’s an attractive offer. I need some help. Can you help me figure out how to stay here? She wasn’t making a demand. She wasn’t giving an ultimatum. She was saying, can you help me? Communal problem solving. How are you asking?
Male evaluators penalize female negotiators in a single issue distributive negotiation when I ask for more money. In ways that they do not penalize her male counterparts. Female evaluators penalize both males and females for asking for more. Why the women were penalized? Was because they were perceived as being too demanding and not nice. Now note I said a single issue. They were negotiating issue by issue. So, how can I help you with this pool of resources that I need to do my job more effectively to make you better off, and packaging? Communal packaging.