The Hidden Value of Trust In A Negotiation (DACA) – Negotiation Tip of the Week

When someone trusts you in a negotiation (you’re always negotiating), they’re more likely to believe what you tell them. Thus, there’s hidden value in trust when negotiating from a long-term perspective. Once trust is broken it’s difficult to regain it. Therefore, broken trust sets off negative ripples that can have unintended and unexpected consequences in the future.

Let’s look at the trust factor with DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) as an example. The kids in the DACA program were brought to the US by their parents. In most cases, they had no input as to whether they would stay where they were, or travel to the US. They instinctively trusted their parents with that decision. Then, there’s the US government.

The US government basically said, if you register for the DACA program and abide by our requirements (i.e. check in every 2 years and make payment to stay in the program, go to college, serve in the military, stay employed, pay taxes), you’ll be OK in the US.

Some registered and some didn’t. Those in the DACA program trusted the government and abided by their mandate. Then, trust was thrust out the window. Those in the DACA program cried, ‘We did what you asked of us! Why are you going back on your word? We trusted you!’ Those that did not register for the program, if not stated out loud silently thought, ‘see, I told you so; you should not have trusted them. The government can’t be trusted. Now, the information you gave them will be used against you.’ The ripple that such a message sent to non-DACA members was, stay in the shadows and let the darkness protect you.

In the eyes of those in the program, the US government went back on its word and broke the trust it had conveyed. Suffice it to say, the ripples set forth from this situation will cause the government not to be trusted in future matters by different entities. They’ll mentally relate their situation to the resemblance of the DACA plight. That means those submitting information requested by the government will be skeptical at best and cynical at worse when contemplating a course of action that they should adopt. In essence, through the loss of trust, the government has made it more difficult for others to trust it.

If I tell you the truth, will you believe what I say and trust me? If my perception of the truth is altered in the future, will I be declared a liar? If so, what will become of our future negotiation efforts? Those are questions every negotiator needs to consider before and during a negotiation. That’s the hidden force that trust has on a negotiation.

When trust is the foundation upon which a negotiation is built, the truth becomes a happier companion in the negotiation. Therefore, when the truth as one knows it shifts, the shifting of the truth can still have believability.

Change allows you to embrace new experiences, and everything changes. Thus, what’s true today may be proven not to be valid tomorrow. Nevertheless, once trust has been established and nurtured by consistency, over a period of time change can withstand the onslaught of doubt and suspension. In so doing, even when your negotiations become difficult, you’ll have less of a challenge finding a path to success, simply because you had trust adding hidden value to your negotiation… and everything will be right with the world.

Remember, you’re always negotiating.