Recently, Disney CEO Bob Iger was interviewed on the Tim Ferris podcast, going further in depth on the lessons and wisdom shared in his best-selling 2019 business memoir “The Ride of a Lifetime”.
While the interview touched on a number of interesting topics (So great to learn that Mr. Iger is a fellow Pizza connoisseur!), his two minute monologue on what makes a successful negotiator is especially noteworthy since one might consider him the greatest business negotiator of our time, having negotiated a number of billion-dollar brand acquisitions, ranging from Pixar, to Marvel, to Star Wars.
Though I highly recommend listening to the entire interview, I felt motivated to share his answer transcribed in full, as I believe it’s impressively insightful for an off the cuff response –
What in your mind separates the A players from the B players from a negotiation standpoint?
Well, I think first of all, the thing that sets a good negotiator apart from a bad negotiator is one that gets a deal done. It starts there, in a way that I think is satisfactory to both sides. I’ve always been a big believer, and this is sort of cliche, but you know, negotiation should work both ways, the buyer and the seller should come away both feeling good about it, or maybe both not feeling good about it, I’m not sure.
But I happen to believe that a good negotiation is one that is conducted efficiently and effectively. I don’t think it’s something that should be necessarily protracted, as it takes a lot of time and energy. It should be one where the value that is seen by the buyer is delivered by the transaction, which means that the price and the circumstances ought to in some form or another conform to the value proposition, that’s really important.
I like being very honest. I like getting to the heart of negotiation fairly quickly. I like putting my cards on the table instead of keeping them completely close to one’s vest. There are times though in a negotiation where I’ve found you do have to get up and walk away from the table if the terms that you’re looking at just don’t make sense, and being willing to lose a deal if you can’t get the right terms. I’ve done that a number of times.
That’s I think just good honest negotiating. I don’t approach negotiations with the need to win, I approach them with a desire to close a deal. I guess winning, that certainly contributes to winning, closing a deal, but when I mean winning I mean winning on all points, on all terms, etc. It’s not that necessary to me.
The above is truly the tip of the iceberg in regards to the thoughts he shares on deal-making, leadership, emotional discipline, and much more.
Full interview can be found here –