Is Your Negotiation Strategy Up to Date?

Jeff Cochran


For those who succeed in the business world, having a solid negotiation strategy is critical. However, negotiating can be a difficult skill to perfect. There are many common mistakes that are made during the negotiation process, from poor planning to making incorrect assumptions about the other party. With the following five tips, you will be able to hone your negotiation strategyand ensure that you are able to make deals that benefit your business.

1. Don’t Assume It’s a Fixed Pie

One common mistake made during negotiations is assuming that the other party will only be willing to negotiate so much. Also referred to as assuming the pie is fixed, this mistake is frequently made when both parties actually want the same result. By assuming that the other party will only meet you halfway, you could be missing out on getting the whole pie. Margaret Neale, the director of two programs teaching negotiation at Stanford, has found that about 20-25% of the students in her class make this mistake during negotiations.

2. Understand Cultural Differences

Another common mistake that you can make in your negotiation strategy is failing to take cultural differences into account. When entering negotiations with individuals from other countries and other cultures, making a foolish mistake because you do not know the culture can cause you to lose the trust of your adversary. For example, in some cultures, making eye contact is a sign of trust, but in other cultures, it is a sign of aggression.

3. Focus On Cooperation

When it comes to your negotiating strategy, there are two main tactics you can take: zero-sum games vs. cooperation. While zero-sum games are combative and ultimately lead to worse results for both parties, cooperation helps businesses establish a positive relationship that leads to win-win negotiations. By keeping your negotiations positive and maintaining a tone of cooperation, you can ensure better results.

4. Don’t Ask Yes or No Questions

A good strategy to help you succeed when negotiating is to ask open-ended questions rather than yes or no questions. This is because open-ended questions allow the other party to reveal more information about their wants and needs. Understanding what the other party wants out of the negotiation and where they are coming from will put the situation in perspective and help you come to a better solution.

5. Take the Time to Prepare

Last but not least, never underestimate the importance of taking the time to prepare for your negotiations. Good negotiators not only do their homework on the other party, but they also make a detailed plan for how the negotiation will play out. You should always have a good idea of what your priorities are for any negotiation as well as how you can alter those priorities, if necessary, to come to an agreement that works for both parties.

Are Virtual Environments the Future of Leadership Training?

Jeff Cochran


Businesses are searching for a more effective way to conduct leadership training using virtual environments. Learning in virtual environments has many benefits, as training sessions can be led completely online and a wide range of simulations can be created for more effective lessons. Read on to learn more about how virtual environments are being used in leadership training, why companies and organizations are benefiting from this new movement, and how you can implement these strategies at your organization.

 Effective Leadership Training & Virtual Environments

A recent study conducted by ON24 and Training Industry, Inc. uncovers the importance of effective leadership training for organizations and discusses how virtual environments allow them to create more effective, efficient leadership training. Overall, leadership training is an estimated $2 billion industry in the U.S., which means maximizing ROI in this area is critical. While the organizations in the study were investing about $684 in leadership training per employee, the largest obstacle to the effectiveness of that training was sustaining its impact over time.

However, for organizations that use virtual environments for leadership training, those undergoing the training rated it as more effective. Furthermore, the study found that effective companies invest 44% more in leadership training than ineffective companies. This study shows that effective leadership training is important for business success, and using virtual environments leads to more effective training.

How Virtual Environments Are Being Used

When virtual environments are used for leadership training, this training is most commonly conducted through simulations. In the military, simulation-based training is used to both practice and develop the skills that soldiers need to succeed. There are many advantages to using such simulations in leadership training. Simulation-based training is beneficial because it can be completely customized to meet the needs of the trainee. Furthermore, research shows that it is helpful for those undergoing such training to watch themselves perform tasks in the virtual environment, as this allows for greater reflection on the process.

Building Virtual Teamwork

When it comes to virtual leadership training, the most important element is building virtual teamwork. However, there are a few challenges faced by virtual teams that are important to keep in mind when implementing these strategies at your organization.

  • Communication: While virtual communication can be difficult, there are a number of tools that your organization can utilize to alleviate this challenge. The key is to ensure that you are using the right tools for each individual situation.
  • Trust: Building trust can also be a major challenge in building virtual teamwork, particularly when team members come from different cultures. It is important to ensure that the manager in the situation invests in relationships with the virtual team and is prepared to work with individuals from diverse backgrounds.
  • Management: Finally, managing virtually can also be a significant challenge. Fortunately, studies have shown that employees who work from home actually work harder, which means that less management is necessary.

Practical Applications From Lessons of World’s Smartest People

Jeff Cochran


Over the course of our series on the habits of the world’s smartest people, we’ve discussed a number of habits, both positive and negative. On the plus side, those who are highly intelligent live intentional lives and never succumb to laziness and its accompanying mistakes. On the down side, the world’s smartest people are also highly prone to addictive behaviors that can lead to the destruction of their personal lives even as they maintain successful careers. With this post, we offer an overview of the big picture lessons you can draw from our series on the world’ smartest people.

The Positive 

As we have seen throughout this series, the world’s smartest people have a wide variety of positive attributes. Those who are highly intelligent are goal-setters and avid readers. They also have self-discipline, and they are self-aware about their own knowledge. Highly intelligent people are also open-minded, and they are able to admit when they are wrong.

Most importantly, the world’s smartest people are hard workers who approach everything they do with the utmost enthusiasm and determination. Overall, these people live their lives with intention, which means that they know what they want, and they go for it.

The Negative 

Unfortunately, intelligence does have a downside. While the world’s smartest people have many positive habits, they are also at risk for a number of negative habits and attributes. Research shows that intelligent children are much more likely than their peers to both drink and do drugs as adults. Those with high IQs are much more likely to binge drink at a greater frequency. Furthermore, boys with an IQ higher than 107 are 2 times more likely to use illegal drugs than their peers, whereas girls with the same IQ are at an even higher risk – 3 times that of their peers.

Another negative habit of the highly intelligent is poor sleep patterns. Those with higher IQs are much more likely to go to sleep later, leading to sleep deprivation. In turn, sleep deprivation increases your risk for depression, heart disease, and obesity. Finally, the world’s smartest people are also more at risk for anxiety. A 2012 study found that a higher IQ is correlated with generic anxiety disorder, which can also lead to depression as well as neuroticism and smoking.

The Takeaway 

What can we take away from these facts about the habits of the highly intelligent? Essentially, being among the world’s smartest comes with a price. While those who are highly intelligent are capable of succeeding in their careers, negative habits can yield the opposite results in their personal lives. However, as long as highly intelligent people continue to be self-aware and take charge of their personal lives, they can prevent themselves from developing such negative habits.

4 Habits that May Be Holding You Back

Jeff Cochran


Even if you are actively pursuing habits that generally contribute to success, some of your habits may be preventing you from truly excelling in your field. Over the last month, we’ve been studying the common traits that are shared by the world’s smartest people. Today, we’re going to look at some of the habits that those highly intelligent people share that actually hurt their success.

As we’ve discussed before, brilliant people usually have habits such as reading, self-discipline, goal-setting, and metacognition. Often, harmful tendencies such as drinking too much, using drugs, losing sleep, and being prone to anxiety accompany those positive habits.


1. Drinking Excessively

The health risks associated with alcohol are no secret, which makes it even more surprising that smart people are often more prone to binge drinking. One study found that children with high IQ scores are much more likely to binge drink frequently as adults. This behavior seems all the more bizarre considering that these intelligent individuals are more likely to be incredibly aware of the risks associated with alcohol consumption.

Even though this habit is linked to highly intelligent people, it’s important to get help if you are struggling with alcoholism. Begin by identifying situations that trigger your urge to drink and make a conscious decision to start avoiding those types of situations. If you have a serious problem, take action now by joining an AA group.


2. Using Drugs

A massive British Cohort Study discovered that children with high IQ scores were also much more prone to drug use as adults. Smart boys were found to be twice as likely to use illicit drugs as adults, while intelligent girls were actually 3 times likelier to abuse drugs as adults. It’s crucial to get rid of a habit like drug use in order to fulfill your full potential in your field. Begin by making a decision to initiate change in your life and then seek professional help.


3. Losing Sleep

Several different studies have reported that children with high IQ’s generally go to bed later as adults. Unfortunately, unless they are also able to sleep late the next day, those intelligent individuals are losing sleep. Without a regular sleep pattern that allows you to get enough rest each night, you may suffer from health problems such as impaired memory and increased stress levels. In order to ensure that you are functioning to the extent of your abilities, make sure to develop habits that allow you to get full nights of sleep.


4. Being Anxious

A recent study found that people with higher IQ scores often suffered from generalized anxiety disorder. Although this study also suggests that anxiety could actually be a natural by-product of high intelligence, it is important to learn how to control your anxiety in order to enjoy a more positive and fulfilling life. Take control of your anxiety by sorting out things that you can deal with and then letting go of your worries about issues that are beyond your control.

How Self-Discipline will Lead to Lasting Success

Jeff Cochran


Did you know that the world’s smartest people share many similar traits and habits? Even when they come from incredibly different backgrounds, many of our most brilliant thinkers and leaders exhibit certain behavioral patterns. This month, we have begun to examine some of these habits, such as reading and setting goals.

Self-discipline is another common trait of the world’s smartest people. Although it may seem unsurprising that self-discipline can help geniuses to succeed, it is surprising how that sense of self-discipline plays out in every area of their lives.


Life Decisions

Even though brilliant individuals are often consumed by their intellectual pursuits, they usually apply the self-discipline that allows them to excel in their field to their personal lives as well. Naturally, too much self-discipline could become problematic, but in general, it allows smart people to be more proactive about their lives.

For instance, a person’s IQ level is often a solid indicator of whether or not they will have sex as an adolescent. When students reach college, statistics say that 87% of them have had sex. However, at top schools, that percentage drops. At Princeton, only 56% of the undergrads have had sex, while MIT boasts an even lower percentage of 51%.


Self-Discipline = Happiness

Recent studies have begun to demonstrate a link between self-discipline and happiness. Despite the fact that we tend to think that self-disciplined people have less fun and perhaps gain fewer life experiences, their self-discipline actually allows them get more enjoyment out of their lives.

For instance, self-discipline might lead a smart individual to simply avoid situations where they would be tempted to make a bad decision. Even if that means missing a party or not going out to dinner, that person is likely to feel happier with themselves thanks to their self-control.


How to Enhance Your Self-Discipline

If you’re trying to improve your own self-discipline in order to enhance your skills as a businessman, it’s important to take care of yourself emotionally and physically. Self-discipline tends to slip when you are tired and stressed, so make sure to care for yourself by getting enough sleep, exercising, and spending time with your loved ones.

In the business world, one of the best ways to improve your self-discipline is to set more concrete goals. Think about what outcomes you want to see and write them down. Recording your goals allows you to begin developing intelligent plans to help you reach those goals. When you are more aware of your goals, you are more likely to use self-discipline to stop yourself from making choices that would detract from your success in those areas.