Business Negotiation May 11, 2024

What is a Bogey (or Bogie) in Golf, the Military & Negotiation?

Bogey, a term seemingly simple yet widely versatile, finds its place not just on golf courses and military radars but also within the strategic frameworks of high-stakes negotiations. This article unravels the layers of this multifaceted term, revealing its significance in the world of golf, the complexities of military operations, and as an artful skill of negotiation strategies taught in the KARRASS Effective Negotiating® Seminar.

General Definition of Bogey or Bogie

The terms "bogey" or "bogie" have different meanings depending on where you encounter them, from sports and military lingo to the world of negotiation strategies. Essentially, they can be divided into two types.

First, there's the "real bogey." This is when something tangible, like an actual external factor or statement, causes an issue. In military terms, think of an unidentified aircraft blipping across a radar screen. In negotiations, a real bogey might be a concrete factor, like budget constraints or a ticking clock, affecting the whole deal.

On the flip side, there's the "imaginary bogie." Here, the bogey is more about perception than something you can touch. In negotiations, an imaginary bogey could be a perceived obstacle that, upon closer inspection, turns out to be more smoke and mirrors than an actual challenge. These bogies are strategic attempts to create a common challenge that one party will use in an attempt to elicit everything from concessions to financial gains or additional collaborative effort from the other party.

So, whether you're tracking aircraft or trying to close a deal, understanding these bogey terms helps you navigate through real challenges and spot the ones that might be used to gain the upper hand in a situation.

What is a Bogey in Golf?

Many of us are familiar with the bogey definition related to golf; it marks a score on a hole that exceeds par by a single stroke. Par, the benchmark representing the number of strokes an expert golfer should ideally take, sets the standard for excellence on the course. Consequently, a bogie signifies a performance slightly above average, a momentary setback that challenges the golfer's skill and strategy.

Much like negotiation, where each move and decision shapes the outcome, golfers meticulously strategize to dodge bogeys. In the negotiation arena, similar to a golf course, negotiators navigate through obstacles, avoiding pitfalls and diversions. Just as a golfer aims for a score under par to excel, negotiators strive for agreements that exceed expectations, illustrating the subtle art of strategic maneuvering and expertise. As the golfer refines their swing, negotiators hone their skills, aiming for outcomes that reflect not just proficiency but mastery in their craft.

What is a Bogey in Military Terms?

In military operations, the bogey definition you are likely familiar with is related to it serving as a silent alarm, akin to a shadow lurking in the darkness. Just as radar blips indicate potential threats in the vast expanse of the sky, a bogey signifies an unidentified or enemy aircraft, vehicle, or presence requiring immediate attention and surveillance. Much like skilled negotiators scanning the table for subtle cues, military personnel diligently monitor these blips, understanding that overlooking even the faintest echo could jeopardize security and strategic advantage.

Similarly in negotiation, a bogie mirrors this vigilant scrutiny. Its meaning represents a diversionary tactic, a carefully constructed smokescreen designed to distract from the core issues at hand or to create a common challenge that the parties need to collaborate against to shift responsibility. Just as military personnel must discern genuine threats from false alarms, negotiators must adeptly identify these bogeys amidst the negotiations' complex landscape.

Recognizing and swiftly addressing these distractions are like deciphering a cryptic code, ensuring that the negotiation process remains focused on the genuine concerns and objectives, much like military operations staying vigilant against potential threats, thus safeguarding the integrity of the mission at hand.

What is a Bogey in the Context of Negotiation?

In negotiation terms, a 'bogey' is a strategic move where one party introduces an external factor, for example, the bank in an investment deal, to influence the negotiation in their favor. Imagine that Party A proposes a deal costing $40,000, but Party B, while expressing interest, cites a limitation imposed by the bank, stating they can only secure a loan for $30,000.

By bringing in the bank as a bogey, Party B creates a collaborative situation. Both parties now need to figure out a solution or explore alternatives to make the deal work within the financial constraints set by the bank. However, this tactic allows Party B to use the external factor ('the bank') as a reason beyond their control that affects the negotiation, potentially tilting it in their favor.

As you can see, introducing a bogey is a crucial strategic tool to help you align the other negotiating parties against a common challenge (or one that you want them to believe is shared). This added leverage will provide additional ways for your team to better control and collaborate at the negotiation table.

Spotting Bogey Tactics in Negotiation

Navigating through negotiation strategies can be as tricky as deciphering a cryptic puzzle. The bogie, shrouded in subtlety, often catches negotiators off guard. Predicting your counterpart's moves can feel like trying to read minds, making it a challenging game, making it a challenging game, so watch out for the following red flags that a bogie is inbound:

Your counterpart introduces external factors. The sudden introduction of budget constraints, time sensitivity, regulatory issues, or market conditions may serve as strategic bogeys, aiming to shift negotiation dynamics by creating urgency, pressure, or a justification for concessions. Stay vigilant, critically evaluating the relevance and authenticity of these factors to ensure clarity and uphold your position in the negotiation process.

A sudden shift in attitude. Imagine your counterpart showing enthusiastic interest in a lucrative investment opportunity, but abruptly toning down this excitement when the issue of funding comes up. They have you just as excited as they are about the deal and now might attempt to use that momentum to shift some of the financial burden toward you because you don't want to miss out on the opportunity.

A sudden diversion in focus. The opposing party might bring up that some of their stakeholders will need further convincing by adding further concessions to the negotiating table. They are using stakeholders as an external force to divert your focus to what is perceived as a common challenge to the negotiation for the parties involved. Yet, when probed further, they deflect, swiftly steering the conversation toward another potential shared barrier to successfully reaching a solution.

It's important to counter these strategies as soon as possible. Don't hesitate to assess external factors introduced by the other party. Conduct thorough due diligence by independently verifying claims about budget restrictions, market conditions, or regulatory changes. Utilize data analysis, consult experts, discreetly communicate with relevant third parties, and perform scenario testing. Consider historical patterns in previous negotiations to determine whether these factors are consistent genuine concerns or strategic maneuvers.

Recognizing when a negotiating party uses a bogey requires sharp questioning, a keen eye for inconsistencies, and big-picture thinking. And here's a nugget of wisdom: when someone realizes they've been outmaneuvered, that memory lingers, shaping future negotiations. Stay sharp, stay curious, and watch out for the subtle dance of the bogey.

Below are a few insightful examples of bogie situations you may experience when negotiating:

Financial Constraints

Party A is offering a product valued at $50,000. However, Party B, expressing interest in the product, introduces a bogey by citing recent budgetary constraints resulting from company cutbacks. Party B asserts that the company can only approve a budget of $40,000. This tactical use of financial constraints as a bogey places the burden on Party A to navigate the situation.

Party A is now faced with the choice of either reducing the product's price or sweetening the deal to align with Party B's financial limitations. In doing so, Party B strategically shapes the negotiation dynamics to its advantage by leveraging external financial factors.

Time Sensitivity

Party A is motivated to swiftly close a property deal, while Party B is not under the same time pressure. Party B introduces a time sensitivity bogey by emphasizing uncertainty related to potential regulatory changes. By doing so, Party B casts doubt on their ability to commit to the deal before a specified deadline.

This strategic move prompts Party A to respond with more favorable terms or concessions to expedite the deal and meet the perceived time constraints presented by Party B. The use of time as a bogey enables Party B to influence the negotiation in their favor.

Third-Party Approval

When negotiating a partnership agreement, Party A faces a challenging situation as Party B introduces the bogey of needing approval from higher-ups, specifically a distant corporate office or board of directors. By introducing this external factor, Party B complicates the negotiation process, making it contingent on obtaining approval from a higher authority.

This strategic use of a third-party approval bogey puts pressure on Party A to make additional concessions and collaborate more than they may have initially planned. This environment allows Party B to secure more favorable terms and potentially shape the agreement to better align with their interests.

Market Conditions

In the context of selling a commodity, Party A encounters a challenge as Party B introduces market conditions as a bogey. Citing recent fluctuations and uncertainties in the market, Party B expresses concerns about potential changes in price or supply shortages. This strategic move forces Party A to adjust the terms of the negotiation to alleviate Party B's perceived risks and uncertainties related to market dynamics.

Leveraging market conditions as a bogey enables Party B to influence the negotiation process to its advantage by obtaining concessions from Party A to address external market factors.

Regulatory Compliance

In negotiating a service contract, Party A faces a bogey introduced by Party B related to regulatory compliance. Party B claims that recent changes in regulations may impact their ability to comply with certain aspects of the contract.

This strategic use of regulatory challenges as a bogey places the burden on Party A to make concessions that address Party B's concerns regarding evolving regulations. Using regulatory compliance as a negotiating point, Party B will better influence the terms of the contract in their favor, shaping the negotiation dynamics to accommodate external regulatory factors.

In each scenario, the party employing the bogey gains a tactical advantage by using these external factors as bogeys to place the burden on the opposing party to resolve the perceived common challenge. This helps create a more collaborative negotiation process, elicit desired concessions, maintain budgetary constraints, and more.

Ready to master negotiation, define the subtleties of terms like "bogie," and gain a strategic advantage in every deal? Enroll in KARRASS's Effective Negotiating® Seminar and dive deep into a world of tactics, strategies, and skills that will transform your negotiation prowess.

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