The Philippine economy is a developing one, with great potential to progress further. We recently surpassed China for being the fastest growing economy in Asia since the first quarter of 2016. We are not poor, resources wise. In fact, we have everything we need to compete internationally, even against first world countries. We have highly skilled laborers, smart executives, and exquisitely rich natural resources, to name a few.
While we’re Asia’s fastest growing economy, our business environment has its many flaws. It’s somewhat unstable, somewhat hostile and unfavorable. Our tax rate is among the highest in the world. Also, we look into the nature of concession in the Philippines – the Filipinos’ attitude towards negotiation. It seems that we don’t like negotiation that much. We take so much time sleeping on making decisions, a clear indication of indecisiveness and disrespect of other people’s time. In short, we suck at negotiation.
10. Non-Confrontational Attitude
Pinoys hate confrontations. We can talk behind other people’s back (say, “bad bosses) with so much aggressiveness and derision, but when it comes to face-to-face confrontations, we cower. We appear polite, but deep inside we’re about to explode. For instance, when a manager or supervisor speaks with an employee inquiring about the latter’s productivity, how he may improve and what he needs to do so, the employee may sugar-coat their discontent in the workplace. The employee’s non-confrontational attitude could leave them stuck to their current predicament or could cause them to get fired.
9. Manana Habit
Business negotiations and meetings have deadlines because executives have goals they want to achieve. Sadly, Filipinos like to delay making decisions and taking actions unreasonably, making it hard to come up with a resolution in the best interest of all parties. Worse, they may retaliate when the final decision on the matter skews towards other parties’ interest, not admitting their own indecisiveness and complacency.
8. Lack of Diplomacy
Because Pinoys are not confrontational, when pressured to face others, defensiveness sets in. Taking the illustration in #10, the employee instead of sugar-coating their reply, he or she may accuse the boss for seeing only their shortcomings, singling them out. Or, instead of honestly telling the boss of their need for an ergonomic office chair and better lighting, they could downplay the management’s concern for its employees’ welfare.
7. All or Nothing Attitude
The goal of negotiation is to come up with a decision that should be acceptable to all parties, not what one or only few parties want. However, this all-or-nothing attitude among Pinoys could be their downfall at the negotiation table. We want everyone to agree to our terms, and not we agreeing to theirs. We don’t want to bend and compromise. We forget the give-and-take rule of business (and perhaps in every aspect of life including personal relationships). We let our egos rule, and so we turn our backs from people with whom we should be negotiating and compromising.
6. Lack of Courage & Confidence
This one is related to #10. On some occasions, we might need to step out of our comfort zones and face the people who may have critical roles to play in making our lives better – particularly our career or business. But instead of reaching out to them, giving them incentives to do business with us, maybe apologize for past conflicts or stand up to the big names in the industry, we walk away and discard the possibility such partnership.
Emotion is the greatest enemy of reason and logic. That is why we’re constantly reminded to never make a decision when we’re angry or depressed, at the heat of the moment. It’s okay to sleep on something for a night or two, to think clearly and to get our emotions in check. But when we bring strong emotions at the negotiation table, we lose focus on the goal, we get sidetracked. Remember that during negotiation, there will always be arguments, heated discussions, and disagreements. But with professionalism and understanding, parties can reach an acceptable decision.
4. Low Self Worth or Esteem
What could be the reason for a diligent worker to never knock on the boss’ door and ask for a raise? Doesn’t the worker feel they deserve a promotion, even if it’s not something the boss is considering at the moment? Sometimes, you have to initiate the promotion by opening up to your superiors. That way, you’ll know what they think about your ambitions and needs. That way, you won’t end up a discontented employee who does nothing but complain and malign their bosses behind their backs. When you’re working very hard and producing far more than what’s expected of you, don’t you think you deserve recognition and reward for your accomplishment?
Just a side note, some staff treat customers depending on their financial status. I see this a lot in restaurants and boutiques. Those who look affluent, they treat more nicely than those who look shabby. No one should get the best seat just because they have deeper pockets and ability to pay higher tips, unless of course your ticket says General Admission. Rich or poor, if you’re a customer, you deserve the same quality of treatment within the bounds of the service or product you’re paying for. Negotiate, or in this case, demand!
3. No Ambition or Drive to Progress
What’s worse than being a disgruntled, non-confrontational employee? Someone who has no ambition. “Okay na ako sa ganito.” (I’m content with this.) You often hear this statement from Filipinos. But come on! There’s more to eating three meals a day. How about becoming financially ready to marry your fiancé? Perhaps you can speak with your boss about that promotion he’s mentioned months ago. Any incremental increase to your salary, you can add to your wedding funds or use for the down payment of an apartment. How about realizing your childhood dream to become a restaurant owner? Being a waiter for now is a good start, but you can’t realize that dream if you wait tables the rest of your life. Negotiate with your boss to allow you to learn the ropes of management or observe the guys at the kitchen.
2. Unwillingness to Assume Greater Responsibility
Promotion comes with greater rewards and greater responsibility. You can’t expect to earn more without working more. That is life. Some people may be earning more without working as many hours – but that’s because they delegate and put their eggs in high yielding baskets. They work smart. Although they only work say 8 hours a week, they are responsible for the lives and families of maybe a hundred or a thousand employees. That’s such an enormous responsibility. Sadly, some Pinoys don’t want to be burdened. Some just want to beg. Some just want free lunch.
1. No Room for Negotiation (Bosses or Other Parties Are Close-Minded)
In this case, Pinoys can’t do anything but shake the dust off their sandals and go to the next door. If you don’t like the current company you’re in, negotiate. If they don’t welcome negotiation, resign. Don’t grumble, complain, and yet remain. Unfortunately, once confronted with a close-minded boss or party, some may get emotional, get aggressive, become disgruntled, and yet they still remain in the current situation that’s giving them headaches. They are scared to move on, to find new opportunities or to improve their lives somewhere else.
Negotiation is a powerful tool to get your way with things. But remember you can’t always get what you want in the fullness of it. Often, you’ll have to settle with what’s agreeable for all the parties involved. When negotiating, you lay down your demands, as well as the things you’re willing to do for the other party. It’s give and take. Negotiate, because although you may not get what you want exactly in the end, at least you know you tried.