GSBLSU Favorite Class: Negotiate to Win for Bankers

About the Professor: Jim Thomas

jim_thomasJim Thomas is a Washington, D.C. attorney, speaker, trainer, and author.  Throughout his 35 years of practicing law, Jim has specialized in negotiation, garnering himself a reputation as one of the nation’s best.  His experience includes mergers and acquisitions, arms control, labor relations, domestic and international business transactions, trade and diplomacy, and more.  His impressive client list includes the majority of the Fortune 500.

The name of the course and the content is directly from Jim’s book and Workshop series by the same name: Negotiate to Win.  First published in 2005, the book is a HarperCollins international bestseller, available in 18 languages around the globe.  He can often be found as a guest commentator on a number of radio and network news programs and is often invited to speak at events worldwide.  He is a partner in a Washington, D.C. law firm, a principal in a California venture capital firm, and a member of the faculty at The Georgetown University Law Center, the University of Washington’s Pacific Coast Banking School, and GSBLSU.

About the Course

Jim’s no-nonsense, highly interactive approach in his instruction is welcome by students.  The classroom is near capacity for each session of this elective course as he applies the principles of negotiation to a variety of scenarios designed to keep students interested and on their toes.  Realistic exercises allow students to work together through the negotiation process, applying the rules they have learned along the way.

Negotiation is not just an art, it is a make-or-break career competency that every banker needs in order to remain competitive.  From bargaining rates with customers to sorting out compliance issues with regulators, the ability to negotiate properly affects nearly aspect of the industry.  As Jim guides students through the process of successful negotiation in this series, he elaborates on each of the seven critical rules of negotiation:

  1. No free gifts!
  2. Start high
  3. Follow a dramatic initial concession with sharply diminishing concessions
  4. “Krunch” early and often
  5. Never settle issues individually
  6. Conclude with a  nibble
  7. Keep looking for creative (high value – low cost) concessions to trade

As Jim points out, Americans are historically poor negotiators and we have gotten away with it until now.  The globalization of the economy, tightening of economies, shrinking of margins, and growing scarcity of resources worldwide has made an inability to successfully negotiate unacceptable in today’s marketplace.

A Little Bit of Lagniappe

Negotiate to Win is an engaging class, and Jim’s expertise and experience mean that students will get a lot of additional knowledge and interesting facts throughout the series.  Here are just a few tidbits you may pick up:

  • There are actually 21 total rules of negotiation.  The first seven are “critical,” but the others are also important to becoming a successful negotiator.
  • Jim provides a comprehensive list of “krunches” ranging from the tried and true to the humorous.  It’s all about knowing in what situation and with whom you can use each one.
  • Jim was a member of the U.S. team during the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) negotiations with the former Soviet Union.  Under this treaty, nearly half of the world’s nuclear weapons were destroyed.

If we’re being completely honest with ourselves, we could all use some lessons in negotiation, regardless of profession.  However, it is essentially important for bankers.  To get full explanations, real life examples, and experience using the seven critical rules of negotiation and more, you’ll have to enroll at GSBLSU and choose this enlightening elective.