Deal World Rule #5 - Know Thyself


Central to the wisdom of the great sages is this principle -- "Know Thyself." This simply stated, yet difficult thing to achieve is the primary challenge faced by negotiators -- because the hardest person you negotiate against is always yourself.

If you Know Thyself, you will separate yourself from your ego (a horrible negotiator) and from the emotion of the situation. You will create natural flow, which yields clarity of purpose and the strength to confront any fear. There are many paths to self-awareness:

Desire it - This will cause you to see and tune into opportunities of selfawareness.

Seek it - Create a simple journal (handwritten preferred), and take a few
minutes each day to reflect upon the following questions:
  • What is your passion? Passion points to purpose.
  • What do you value? This is the filter of all major decisions.
  • Who do you admire and why? What are their values?
  • What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail? Leaning into your fear is the most powerful exercise for personal growth.
  • How would your eulogy sound? You are going to die, embrace that thought so you get off your butt and step into your greatness – NOW!
These questions can be found in a great book - BE by A.C. Ping

Self-Analyze - As you become more aware of the questions to ask, you can start to really focus on how you behave in certain situations and what truly provides happiness. You can, or Myers-Briggs Personality Inventory as aids.

Feedback - Ask your trusted friends for feedback about your areas of brilliance, strengths and weakness.

Coaching - Get a coach to help you establish a structured approach to tackle all of these questions with effective feedback and continuous self-assessment.

As you grow, learn, and evolve, remember the most important attribute of great negotiators (and happy people) is that they know themselves. Do you know yourself?

Creative Genius


I've been reading a great book lately: Orbiting the Giant Hairball, by Gordon MacKenzie. I would say that after 11 years, the book is getting a little dated, but some ideas are just a little too sticky to go out of vogue.

One of the first stories in the book is about the author's visits to elementary schools where he displays his steel sculptures and talks art with the kids. Predictably, as the groups of kids get older, the less enthusiastic they become about discussing their own creative genius. To illustrate the point, I was taking a walk this past Sunday around a nearby lake. A young girl and her mother were walking just ahead and discussing the various ideas for sandcastles and sand-sculptures they could make when they got to the beach. The mother's ideas were primarily based on castles, moats, mermaids, etc. The young girl had a different idea: A half unicorn, half duck sculpture. She reasoned that she really liked ducks and really liked unicorns - so why not put the two together (Duckicorn or Uniduck?)!? Awesome.

Obviously, not every off-the-wall idea will work and certainly there is some comfort in having grown ups act in predictable patterns. But this draws out the distinction between being "normal" and being ORIGINAL, which is what we're really driving for when we want to unlock our creative genius.

One of the more powerful ideas here was about validation:

My guess is that there was a time - perhaps when you were very young - when you had at least a fleeting notion of your own genius and were just waiting for some authority figure to come along and validate it for you.
But there is still hope. You are an adult now. As an adult, you can chose to become your own authority figure.

I get a huge kick out of that idea. Authorize and validate your own genius!

Deal World Rule #4 - Use Maps to See the Deal Landscape


Ernest Shackleton, Robert Scott, and Roald Amundsen were among the great explorers of the modern world. Armed with their passion, knowledge, and tools, these intrepid souls boldly ventured into the unknown, in search of great rewards, yet keenly aware that tragedy might befall them instead. Deals are like expeditions. Dealmakers are the explorers. We embark on a journey into new territory, relying on our passion, knowledge, and tools in the hope of reaching our business goals, yet recognizing that the risk of a bad deal is ever present. One critical tool that explorers use is a map.

Dealmakers should use them too. A deal map allows you to see where you are within the whole landscape in relation to the desired destination. Maps clarify and simplify complex terrain. Where are you now? Where is the destination? What risks & obstacles lie in the way? How can they best be navigated? Are you on the best course? You should start with a deal map based on what you know at the outset, and add detail as you uncover it during the expedition. This will help you in the deal, and it will foster greater knowledge transfer and retention beyond the deal.

A picture is worth a million words. Just as it’s better to show than to tell, a deal map is superior to the old memo. Memos may have their place in certain situations, but deal maps should also be added to your toolbox.

This Deal World Rule #4 is about seeing the whole landscape. When you can see what you are doing, in context, you have deeper understanding that makes you more effective at achieving better results.

How do you map your deals? Do you do it in a visual way that allows you to see the whole? Do you fill in the deal landscape with more detail as you move forward? If so, congratulations. If not, start today.

(click picture for the full view)