Client got 10% more. I was more excited about severance – @SixFigureStart
That was a Tweet I wrote for my recent Forbes post on Ask For Even More: Five Items Even Savvy Professionals Forget To Negotiate For. My client came to me for negotiation support on her multiple six-figure package, and we did get it up 10% but she also asked for and received a guaranteed severance package of one-year’s salary in the event of a restructuring or some other involuntary termination. This is significant because most companies tie severance to tenure, and it would take years, even decades, to get up to one year’s worth.
When we think about negotiation, it’s often in the context of salary or something else involving money or price (yard sale! Is anyone else a fan of Flea Market Flip like I am?). But negotiation is much broader than money – negotiating terms, such as severance, for example. Negotiation also applies to your day-to-day work. You negotiate:
- Deadlines – is the report really needed in one hour?
- Resources – can you get 50% of superstar junior person to help on project Amazing?
- Responsibilities –given that you introduced client Lucrative to the firm, could you oversee that relationship?
- Boundaries – given that colleague Shirks-a-lot oversees executive compensation, would it make more sense for him to also draft the options grant communication instead of you?
- Information – do your colleagues and/ or senior management have data, contacts, or institutional best practices that are critical to getting your job done? Do you need more feedback or direction?
In the ideal world, people would share openly, never overstep, give you responsibilities commensurate with your skills and contributions, grant you the appropriate level of resources and set deadlines that are reasonable and fair. But things are not often ideal, and not because the outside world is out to get you. People are busy and preoccupied with their own workload. If you need something, you will have to ask for it. Help people help you.
A deadline might be imposed from three departments removed, and they have no idea what you’re working on or how long what you need to do will take. Don’t get defensive; just be clear. Let people know competing deadlines. Give people an estimate of how long requests take. Don’t just agree. Propose the deadline that works for you
Resources might be available but if you don’t ask, management assumes you don’t need. Why should they volunteer something that is costly and limited? Don’t just assume that you have to do everything yourself. Ask for additional help – budget, staff, consultants
Responsibilities consistently change, especially in today’s changing market. Maybe you absorbed something when budgets were tight or a deadline loomed, and it was all hands on deck. This doesn’t mean you need to do this forever. On the flip side, maybe you want more responsibility because your scope of work isn’t critical to the new business initiatives. Don’t assume that your management knows what you’re working on and is proactively thinking of the best next development steps for you. Identify the clients, projects and role you want, and ask for these
When people are preoccupied about their own work, they may unknowingly overstep on requests and push your boundaries. If a colleague, boss or client is imposing too much, say something. Come up with an alternative solution and propose that – so you’re not just saying No but actively trying to work together. But don’t just agree and seethe in silence. They may have very willingly agreed to a compromise, but you didn’t ask
Finally, don’t forget about asking for information – feedback, data, contacts, institutional best practices. One client was tasked with growing a new business unit over 300% in the next two years. Her boss has extensive connections in this area. Has she asked him for introductions? No, she thought it best to prove she can do it on her own. Does he help other people? Why yes he does, and he likes playing that role….Presto! She will pull together a list of target companies and review with him where he can generate leads
One of the things I love about coaching is that it self-selects for people who take action. They’re getting coaching because they want to fix a situation, to improve on their personal best, to hit an outrageous goal. These actionable people are so used to doing that they forget to ask for help. But it’s rare that an outrageous goal can be met alone, and generally speaking, people want to help. Help people help you. Ask for even more than you normally do.