Author Adam Grant explains how questioning your thought process may help your business.
Businesspeople discussing strategy in office

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The negotiation table can feel like a battlefield when cooperating agents come armed with endless data points in defense of their client’s bottom line. You can ease the tension, especially in this frenzied market, by fighting the urge to be a “logic bully,” whether it’s trying to change another agent’s or a client’s way of thinking, advises organizational psychologist Adam Grant. The author of Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know, shared some “mind-altering” tips at the virtual 2021 REALTORS® Legislative Meetings in May.

Flexibility and openness to new ideas are keys to success in your business relationships. “We need to be as quick to rethink opinions as we are to form them,” says Grant. Here are his tips.

  • Adopt a scientific mindset. Scientists test theories, embrace discoveries, and pivot to fresh approaches. Grant cited studies showing entrepreneurs who view their work through a “scientist” prism generate 40 times more revenue than those resistant to trying new ideas.
  • Lead with humility. Don’t hide your weaknesses or pretend you know something you don’t. “Others are going to find flaws in your ideas at some point,” Grant says. Admitting when you’re wrong shows that you “care more about getting it right than being right,” he adds, calling “confident humility” a standout leadership quality.
  • Demonstrate curiosity. If your client isn’t taking your recommendations, don’t fixate on proving you’re right. “You can’t force someone to change their mind,” Grant says. “The best thing to do is help them find a motivation to change their mind.” Your curiosity for an alternative solution can spark your client’s, too.

Expert negotiators look for common ground, even if both parties seem worlds apart, and offer fewer justifications—just one or two—for their arguments. “Don’t push ideas on people,” Grant said. “Be curious to learn more about their reasoning.”

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