What If You Want To Use Joomla, But Your Boss doesn’t

We’ve all been there: having to maintain a website that just isn’t maintainable. Changing the links in your footer requires you to change each and every page, uploading a file can only be done using FTP, adding a link means you must use complicated HTML tags, etc. Once you discover there are alternatives such as Joomla, matters get even worse. You will soon find out that changing a link in your footer requires only a single change to your Joomla template, uploading can be done using the administrator and adding a link does not require any knowledge of HTML at all. Once you confront your boss with this common reactions include: “why change what we have, it is working right?”, “we don’t have the resources available for this” and “why don’t you just do your job and leave the thinking to us”.

In this blog I will teach you how to convince your boss to switch to Joomla in order to make your life – and eventually probably his life as well – a lot easier and more productive. The methods described here are based on those published in the classic works “Getting to Yes” and “Getting Past No” by William Ury and Roger Fisher.

Traditional negotiation on positions

We all negotiate every day. This could be simple negotiations such as a discussion at the lunch table about whether to add a suffix to your URL or not or complex discussions in the board room about developing a custom Joomla template or using a prebuild template from a template provider. To most people, negotiations are shaped very similar to the bargaining strategies used in the Middle East. In these negotiations the salesman names a ridiculously high price for the product on sale, after which this the buyer names a significantly lower price, then the salesman names a price higher than that but lower than his initial price. This continues until there is an agreement about the amount of money to pass hands in exchange for the product. This is a classic example of negotiation on positions. The alternative (as described by Ury and Fisher) is to negotiate on interests.

Focus on interests

With a focus on interests beyond just positions. This point can be illustrated using the example outlined above. Rather than just shouting different amounts of money turn-by-turn, the two parties could have discussed alternative solutions. Perhaps the salesman had another item of interest for sale, which could be sold as a bundle to the buyer. This way the salesman would have gotten a larger sum of money, and the buyer would now have an item of interest he might not have bought otherwise. But what to do if you propose a reasonable preposition (focused on interests) and the other party just digs in to their position: no? Then you can use the so called ‘breakthrough strategy’.

Breakthrough Strategy

The most important step in negotiating with your boss about whether to use Joomla or not is actually a step that doesn’t involve any interaction him or her.

Prepare

Heading into a negotiation without a thorough preparation is like running onto a battlefield like a headless chicken. In order to have a successful outcome of the negotiation, you have to know what the interests of you and your boss are. Your interests will probably be similar to the following: easier maintenance of the website, less hours of work spent on work already done by others, powerful customization options etc. Your boss’ interests will most likely center around issues like: more productive work hours, a more stable website, the possibility to add new options easily etc. In your preparation you might look into finding answers to any objections your boss might make to your arguments. This way you don’t have to make up any arguments on the spot, and will be able to negotiate more calmly and focused.

Go to the Balcony

In order to regain your own mental balance, you should ‘go to the balcony’. The balcony is used as a metaphor here to describe that you should try to view things in a larger perspective. When you view down from the balcony to your negotiation, you should be able to calmly evaluate the situation, almost as if you were a third party. This will allow you to think rationally for both parties and try to find a win-win solution to the situation at hand. Going to the balcony restores your own mental balance.

Step to the Other Side

Now that you have restored your mental balance by going to the balcony, you should help the other party regain theirs. Rather than acting as an opponent, you should work side by side with the other party. You should acknowledge their fears and arguments, and try to work out a solution with mutual gains that way.

Reframe

Rather than fighting their arguments and thereby digging in to positions deeper, you should accept and reframe them. See their arguments as possible solutions to the problem by reframing them.

Build a Golden Bridge

The golden bridge is used symbol to describe your effort to bridge the gap between their interests and yours. Help them save face and make the outcome feel like a victory to them.

Use Power to Educate

When the other side believes they can beat you at a power game, try not to let your self get drawn into that. Instead, try using your negotiation skills to get the other side back to the table. Show them they cannot win by themselves by only together with you.

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