by Steven Lesser
Negotiators often have a position that is their rock bottom, their least acceptable deal.
Sometimes negotiators communicate this as a take-it-or-leave-it. Some negotiators use the take-it-or-leave-it even when they are not at their minimum deal. When used this way, the tactic borders on being unethical.
Take it or leave/lose it:
- Conveys a supposed least acceptable deal
- Forces acceptance of a stated or argued position without necessarily having a sound reasoning
- Forces concessions that you may be unwilling to give (e.g. threat of being fired or quitting your job if a pay rise or promotion isn’t forthcoming)
Even when the negotiator is at the minimum acceptable deal, using the take-it-or-leave-it can damage the collaborative spirit of a negotiation. If the negotiator positions the take-it-or-leave-it as a power move designed to get the other party to concede his/her position, it will create a win/lose outcome.
Negotiators who are at rock bottom on one negotiating point should soften the take-it-or-leave-it and be open to making other concessions in other areas that may be less costly in order to create a win/win solution.
If you are faced with a negotiation in which the tactic is being used, evaluate whether the other party is truly at his/her minimum acceptable deal. Be patient, do not make concessions right away, and ask questions to understand the other party’s position.