Putting theory into practice

Tom Eaton

Tom Eaton, Senior Director - Sales & Operations Planning at Metrie, talks about how The Ivey Academy's Strategic Business Negotiations Program allowed him to learn and apply the concepts of high-level negotiation.

What led you to take the Ivey Strategic Business Negotiations Program (ISBN)?
Two key elements were deciding factors: applicability and credentials. First, the program’s content seemed highly pertinent to both what I do today, and what I aspire to do in the future. Second, Ivey’s reputation as one of the top business schools in Canada enhanced the expected value of the experience.

How did the program compare to your expectations?
I did have very high expectations, but in every way, the program exceeded them. The content was top-notch, the professors were highly skilled and professional, the applied-knowledge approach to learning was highly effective, the peer group was outstanding, even the dinning, social, and networking components were well-designed and perfectly executed. The Ivey Academy was able to harmonize three different forms of learning: individual learning, team learning, and class discussions, and skillfully connected the three to enrich the overall experience.

How did the program prepare you for the challenges you face at work?
While distributive negotiation is sometimes present in my role, it’s not all that prominent, however, multi-party, integrated & strategic negotiations - where many different issues and outcomes are present - is a critical factor in a number of our important internal and external relationships. This course armed me with knowledge, gave me tactics to use, and allowed me to test and learn approaches – all centered around a key theme: focus on interests not positions, find ways to create value, then work on distributing it.

What particular ISBN moment stands out for you?
Being humbled by one of my classmates – as I returned from what I thought was an effective negotiation role-play as a buyer, where I felt like I secured a great deal, I overheard her outcome on the same case. In a split second, I realized two things: I need to sharpen my game, and I am glad she doesn’t work for one of our customers or suppliers.

How will you approach your current role differently as a result of the program?
I will approach each negotiation (internal and external) with a creative and curious mindset. I will always be well-prepared with my targeted outcome and my resistance point. I will always try to understand the pressures and constraints the other party is under. Finally, I won’t be afraid to lead with an offer, as it’s an opportunity to create a psychological anchor.

How would you describe the program’s impact?
Not only did The Ivey Academy re-ignite a desire and passion for learning and growing, it also made me instantly more valuable to my organization, and frankly, to the other key parties in our industry I have the opportunity to negotiate with.


For more information on the Ivey Strategic Business Negotiations Program, please download a program brochure.


About The Ivey Academy at Ivey Business School
The Ivey Academy at Ivey Business School is the home for executive Learning and Development (L&D) in Canada. It is Canada’s only full-service L&D house, blending Financial Times top-ranked university-based executive education with talent assessment, instructional design and strategy, and behaviour change sustainment. 

Rooted in Ivey Business School’s real-world leadership approach, The Ivey Academy is a place where professionals come to get better, to break old habits and establish new ones, to practice, to change, to obtain coaching and support, and to join a powerful peer network. Follow The Ivey Academy on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

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