Business Insider Edition

A former Wall Street CEO says the secret to negotiating is having no secrets

Shana Lebowitz , Business Insider US
 Jul 26, 2018, 11:58 AM

Success doesn't mean one person losing, says Sallie Krawcheck, pictured.


  • Success in a negotiation means both parties winning and maintaining the relationship, according to Ellevest CEO and former Wall Street exec Sallie Krawcheck.
  • Krawcheck said her approach to negotiations is to be as transparent as possible about her goals.
  • That's because she said it cuts through the "macho, 'I want to win'" culture of negotiations.



The latest instalment in the #AskSallie series on Instagram features Sallie Krawcheck, the CEO of investing platform Ellevest, answering a question about the secret to a successful negotiation.

Krawcheck was once called "the most powerful woman on Wall Street": She's held positions including CEO of Smith Barney and Merrill Lynch wealth management and CFO of Citigroup.

In the video posted to Instagram, Krawcheck said the secret to a successful negotiation is "both sides winning and maintaining the relationship". Even if both parties leave slightly disappointed, they should each get "a chunk of what they want".

Krawcheck explained the way she personally approaches negotiations: "I'm pretty transparent."

Instead of keeping a private list of her negotiation goals and "drizzling them out over time", Krawcheck said, she lays out explicitly: "Here are the three most important things to me. Here are the things that are less important to me. If I can get these three things, I'm good."

Krawcheck added, "I find it cuts through a lot of the other stuff that's lost with the macho, 'I want to win' back-and-forth of negotiations."

This isn't the first time Krawcheck has alluded to "macho" business culture. On an episode of Farnoosh Torabi's So Money podcast, Krawcheck said the problem with much of the career advice given to women is that they're encouraged to act more masculine at work — which can backfire.

As Business Insider's Libby Kane reported, Krawcheck has said women tend to focus more on relationships than men do and look at things "a little more long term" — both good things.

Krawcheck has also previously discussed the topic of negotiations. At the S.H.E. Summit in New York City in 2016, Krawcheck said that if you're petitioning your boss for a raise, you need to provide the hard numbers to show why you deserve it.

"Be as quantitative as you can be," she said.


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