Tag Archives: working women

Why did #TheDress capture the world’s attention?

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Last night my daughter asked me to look at a picture of a dress and tell her the color. I mistakenly thought she was planning on buying the dress. Little did I know that I was part of a global fascination. I was stunned to get up today and find they were discussing #TheDress on all the major networks. Everyone was being asked what color do you think it is? The verdict is the dress is blue and black. The real question is not the color of the dress but how did this capture worldwide attention? Maybe we’re in search of a harmless distraction. In this world of Isis, Congressional Showdown, Drive by shootings, Political corruption and everything else just maybe #TheDress gave us a few minutes fun.

Guest Post: 7 Must Ask Questions in Any Negotiation by Eldonna Lewis-Fernandez

A negotiation is nothing more than a discussion through which both parties seek to formulate and settle upon a mutually beneficial agreement, whether this agreement is a multi-million dollar contract or simply at which restaurant to meet for dinner. Our daily professional and personal lives are riddled with negotiations, those across a boardroom table, the kitchen table and everywhere in between.

But, what sets a successful negotiator—one who comes out on top in deal-making more often than not—apart from those who struggle to gain advantages? Of course, there are numerous strategies one can employ to improve their chances of emerging victorious in a negotiation, and paramount among these is asking just the right kind of questions—those that will elicit answers that facilitate a win for all parties involved.

With this in mind, here are 7 “must ask” questions in any negotiation to best ensure a desirable outcome:

1. Would you explain the reasons for your position?
If you can’t clearly understand the other party’s reasoning through simple discussions, the best way to discern the other parties position and motivations on deal points is to directly ask them their rationale for what they are offering or seeking. Once you know the other party’s thought process and justifications, rather than just the outcome they desire, you can better adjust your strategy and response to coincide with their position. For instance, in a scenario where the other party is requiring some advance payment that doesn’t sit well with you, you might find out that they need the funds at this initial juncture to fund required material or other costs in order to put the arrangement in motion. Once you understand the logic behind requests and demands relating to a deal structure, you are better able to control discussions and create agreeable terms.

2. Is there any reason you can’t?
This is a great question to ask when you know the other party is avoiding or rejecting your offer for no legitimate reason or not having thought it through well enough. Sometimes people make shallow excuses for why they can’t do something or shoot down an idea with short-sighted objections. Most often when the question is asked this way, the other party has a hard time coming up with truly legitimate reasons that effectually negate your argument or offer. In instances where the other party does happen to come up with a viable objection, you now have the opportunity to directly address, and hopefully overcome, that objection with sound reasoning of your own.

3. Why do you think this is a fair and reasonable term or condition?
A fair and reasonable term or condition, such as a price, proposal or provision, can be defined as what’s prudent under competitive market conditions, given a reasonable knowledge of the marketplace. Fair implies a proper balance of conflicting or divided interests. Reasonable means not extreme or excessive. So a fair and reasonable term or condition is one that is balanced between all parties and somewhat moderate. If you are concerned about the reasonableness of an offer, do some due diligence to research comparables. Then ask the opposing party this question to encourage them to define and defend the reasonableness of their requirement. This will help assure you are securing the best deal possible.

4. Why is that point or provision important?
Understanding the significance of a specific point or provision is imperative, and can even result in an adjustment of your own position. The answer the other side provides will allow you to fine tune your strategy based on this key learning about their critical priorities and values. Understanding, acknowledging and validating the significance of the opposing party’s requests can not only help you recalibrate your approach, but also create more of a team atmosphere or affinity that builds a level of trust at a faster pace.

5. What part of my proposal gives you the most concern?

This can apply to a large contract negotiation, a job offer or handling an issue with a family member. Breaking an offer down into individual elements or points makes it easier to take things in small bite-size pieces versus one large chunk that, on the whole, is causing kickback. Discussing a proposal point-by-point, particularly specific areas of utmost concern, allows the parties to come to small fractional agreements that may not otherwise have been reached if you discussed the arrangement as a whole. Dealing directly with the most difficult deal points in triage mode—from the most to least problematic for the other side—shows you care. This can get you past those sticking points and greatly expedite the entire process.

6. What documentation or proof do you have to validate your position?

You may have heard the adage “Trust but Verify.” It’s important to know that what is being presented is 100% factual. The best way to determine authenticity is by verifying the facts through documentation that validates what is being presented. A trusting nature will not serve you well in a negotiation where decisions are being made based on certain claims. It’s imperative to secure documentation to back up applicable assertions. And, while cliché, it’s often true: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. There is an important place for skepticism in a negotiation in that it’ll fuel your need for verification prior to officiating an agreement or signing on the dotted line. Once that ink is dry, undoing a deal, however disingenuous, is far more difficult and quite unpleasant.

7. What else do you think I should know?

After you’ve asked all of the questions you intended and can’t think of any other, but you still want to ensure you have thoroughly vetted the arrangement, asking this question may induce some other points that you haven’t uncovered or considered through prior discussions and the negotiation process. There could be something you don’t know that, once revealed, might actually change your way of thinking, what you are seeking, or the strategy you originally started with.

In any negotiation, however large or small, direct communication with open ended questions is vital. People often don’t ask such questions because they fear rejection or how they will be perceived. Even asking just these 7 powerful questions above will help ensure that the agreement you reach is not only in your best interest, but also fair and reasonable for all involved.

Veteran negotiation and contracts expert Eldonna Lewis-Fernandez, author of “Think Like a Negotiator,” has over 30 years of experience crafting killer deals both stateside and internationally, many in excess of $100 million. She’s currently the CEO of Dynamic Vision International—a specialized consulting and training firm that helps individuals hone negotiation skills—as well as a nationally regarded keynote speaker, session leader and panelist on the Art of Negotiation.Eldonna may be reached online at http://www.ThinkLikeANegotiator.com.

Debbie Schlussel’s Brutal Take on the Kayla Mueller Murder

Read the linked story and share your thoughts.


Are black women bossy?

I was watching an episode of the Larry Gilmore show on Comedy Central and he was apologizing for a joke he told on Wednesday night. He asked his panel if black women were bossy and then he went on to ask them to rate bossiness on a percent basis. The panelists did not take the bait, but it prompted me to ask the question, are black women bossy?

Does selling Olivia Pope bother you?

Who watched Scandal tonight? Does the idea of selling Olivia Pope to the highest bidder bother anyone? Share your thoughts.

What happened to Kerry Washington?

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Kerry Washington posted this picture on Instagram. She loved it but her fans are wondering what happened to their black gladiator. Read the article and share your thoughts.


When did Dad become so feminine?

Dads do more for and with their children than the dads did back in the day. You see dads at recitals, games, selling Girl Scout cookies. Dads are there and that is a good thing, but being a good dad does not mean turning in your masculine card. This commercial dad is shown with his nails polished in bright hues. Some would say what a cool dad, he is so secure in himself, but why didn’t he just tell the girls to put on clear polish? Dads have their role in their children’s lives, but what does this commercial actually celebrate? Share your thoughts.

Guest Post: Wednesday Wisdom: Mastering Millennials – Are They Entitled or Just Too Dang Confident?

She walked into the office for the interview. No suit like a Gen Xer would wear, but business casual at least, and with a smile full of potential. Nonchalant in tone; smart; not enthusiastic, yet happy for the opportunity. “You’re hired,” said the CEO (me). “I could use you at the company. You don’t have the experience, but I’m willing to take the chance.” Over the year, she worked hard, she earned what I thought was a decent salary for her limited experience, and two years later, she gave me her you-know-what-to-kiss—well, not exactly, but basically. I wish I could say this was just one employee, but it actually represents many we’ve worked with over the years, and we’re not alone. This saga plays out every day in countless organizations: the mixed emotions experienced by upper management—the excitement of potential and the painful frustration that both come with young professionals known as millennials. IGS, the company I lead, was recently awarded position #871 on the Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing privately owned companies—a milestone for a small, growing business and a personal accomplishment for me, as you can imagine. My business partner and I flew to Arizona for the awards conference and swapped stories with our C-Suite counterparts. Throughout the week, the famous M word surfaced time and time again as leaders asked one another, “How do I deal with millennials?” I felt their pain. For more than four years, we’ve worked closely with millennials. We’ve trained, molded, supported, encouraged, and taken a chance on them. In one case, our millennial hire had promise. But twenty-four months later, she had opinions; she wanted input, she wanted more money and a new title, and she felt she was equally as qualified as her manager who had eight years’ experience. This scenario plays out constantly in large and small businesses alike. From my friends at Fortune 100 companies to peers at small businesses, the question I hear most among Generation Xers is about how to manage millennials. First, it’s important to note that as a CEO, I place millennials in two groups—junior millennials (early to mid-20s) and senior millennials (late 20s to early 30s). I find that most of my colleagues’ concerns are reserved for junior millennials. Senior millennials fall on the heels of Gen Xers and are often themselves frustrated with their junior counterparts.
Hopefully, my Top 3 Tips (there are many more) will help you master the patience to manage these dynamic young professionals, knowing that, yes, there is a role for them in your organization.
1. They believe their own hype, even if it’s not proven. Generation Xers started their first job with the expectation that they would receive little money, but gain much experience. Often we worked two jobs, one for experience and the other for money to party with our friends. Today’s millennials expect one job to serve all their needs. Remember, many of these young adults didn’t work in high school. Their time was spent on their personal activities, social media, and friends.
2. In their eyes, experience is not the best teacher. “Trust me, I can do this job” is what they say; “I’ll prove it to you”—whereas Generation Xers say, “I’ll prove it to you, and then you’ll be able to trust me.” Hard work does not replace experience any more than a good medical student replaces a trained surgeon with more than 115,489 surgery hours.
3. They are not like us. The biggest obstacle Generation Xers have is getting over the idea that millennials should think and perform like Generation Xers. It’s never going to happen. We have distinct ideas; we Gen Xers believe you pay your dues, while millennials believe there are no dues to pay.
Of course there is no one-size-fits-all, but owning and running a business where 50% of employees are millennials is a perfect learning experience in organizational development and transformational leadership. And their energy and insight can be contagious and fun. I’ve even found myself doing crazy things like riding a Big Wheel in the office while wearing stilettos!

Shonda Rhimes to Produce a New Thriller for ABC…is this good news?

Shondaland owns ABC Thursday nights. Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and How to Get Away with Murder are must see television. Shonda Rhimes is now developing another series, The Catch for the network. This is great news to Rhimes and company, but aren’t there any other writers who could actually write a hit?

NBC Biggest Losers are fat again…whose fault is it?

The television show Biggest Losers brings a group of obese people to a ranch and the fitness trainers help them lose weight. The results are amazing and you know something is going on to help the contestants lose weight quickly, and the person who loses the biggest percentage of weight wins a prize. Well, now former contestants are telling tales of torture and starvation. Many have gained the weight back and now they blame the show, but where should the fault be placed? Read the linked story and share your thoughts.



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