"negotiate (v): to discuss something formally in order to make an agreement; to get over, though, or around (something) successfully"
As businesspeople, we constantly negotiate. Beyond traditional big-time mergers or acquisitions, we negotiate building leases, vendor contracts, strategic plans, employee hiring and performance evaluations, and so much more.
As believers in business, we are called to a higher level in our negotiations than many with whom we negotiate.
Here are five key principles gleaned from 14 powerful verses that must set our standard for any business negotiation.
14 Bible Promises for Business Negotiation
Trust in the Lord
"He who handles a matter wisely will find good, and whoever trust in the Lord, happy is he" (Prov. 16:20).
""But they were not able to withstand the wisdom and the Spirit by which he spoke" (Acts 6:10).
I know this is a somewhat trite-sounding principle, yet it needs repeating. His ways are always better than ours, His wisdom deeper, His steps better, His Spirit stronger.
Maintain Your Integrity
"Debate your cause with your neighbor himself, and do not disclose a secret to another; lest he who hears it put you to shame, and your reputation be ruined" (Prov. 25:9-10).
"Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you should answer everyone" (Col. 4:6).
"A wholesome tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it crushes the spirit" (Prov. 15:4).
Perhaps the greatest testimony during negotiations is to maintain your integrity.
"Be strong and of a good courage. Fear not, nor be afraid of them, for the Lord your God, it is He who goes with you. He will not fail you, nor forsake you" (Deut. 31:6).
"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go" (Josh. 1:9).
"For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and love, and self-control" (2 Tim. 1:7).
When you know the Lord is directing your steps, it is good and right to stand firm and be bold. Non-Christians expect us to wimp out or cave in. After Pentecost, not one of the Lord's apostles wimped out. Neither should we.
Grow a Partner—Not an Enemy
"If it is possible, as much as it depends on you, live peaceably with all men" (Rom. 12:8).
"The beginning of strife is as when one lets out water; therefore abandon contention before a quarrel starts" (Prov. 17:14).
"You shall do no unrighteousness in judgment regarding measures in length, weight, or quantity. You shall have honest balances, honest weights, an honest ephah, and an honest hin" (Lev. 19:35-36a).
If a productive, professional partnership is not possible, it may be best to delay the agreement. Negotiated agreements designed in conflict can lead to nothing other than more conflict.
"The end of the matter is better than the beginning of it, and the patient in spirit than the haughty in spirit" (Eccl. 7:8).
"Wait for the Lord; be strong, and may your heart be stout; wait on the Lord" (Ps. 27:14).
"He who is slow to wrath is of great understanding, but he who is hasty of spirit exalts folly" (Prov. 14:29).
Yeah, this one is tough on me, too. It goes against every traditional entrepreneurial tendency we have —to be fast, agile, quick to decide, intuitive, Type "A" go-getters. Yet Moses had to wait. Joseph had to wait. David had to wait—as did so many others. How many times has the Lord made me wait to simply avoid a pending disaster of my own making?
Your Negotiation Insights
Please share your thoughts, insights, and verses you embrace on how to approach business negotiations.
Dr. Jim Harris is president of The Jim Harris Group, an international speaking and advising firm dedicated to helping believers in business unleash their unfair advantage in the marketplace. He is the author of Our Unfair Advantage: Unleash the Power of the Holy Spirit in Your Business and numerous other award-winning business books.
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