Why Your Negotiations Fail: Lack of Integrity

Integrity is often defined as doing the right thing at all times and in all circumstances, whether or not anyone else is watching. Integrity speaks directly to who you are. Integrity is the measure of your character. Integrity is not just measured, though, by some external code or morality but, even more importantly, by the compass of your internal truth.

The noise around us says we must compromise our values and integrity to secure the outcomes we desire. This cannot be further from the truth and, success may come and go, but integrity is forever.

Using any kind of dishonest tactics or manipulative techniques when negotiating shows a lack of integrity. Disingenuity and not operating from a place of integrity will eventually come back to haunt you. Building a reputation of integrity takes time; you will need to work to protect that reputation.


One of the behaviors we most commonly think of when talking about integrity is honesty, or a lack thereof, with others. If anybody finds out that you haven’t been honest, it will kill your credibility. Not being honest can cause others to distrust everything else you’ve said.


Another less-often examined form of integrity, though, is honesty with self. A lack of or alignment with your inner truth results in serious internal and external challenges.

If you lack integrity with yourself, and cannot hold to your internal values, you will experience a kind of internal conflict. You won’t feel right and others are likely to sense it through the energy you give off. As others feel your internal conflict, it will negatively impact the whole interaction.

There are numerous examples of this, and, almost always, the common indicator is that someone ignored or let logic override a gut feeling. Some internal signal came up during the negotiating process, and it was dismissed.

For example, deep down, you may not particularly want to do something. But still you’re moving forward because of pressure from family others or “it’s what you think you should do.”

The person across from you can sense if you’re being disingenuous. They may not know exactly what’s going on, but they will sense that something’s off. This sense could put off a negotiation.

Always engage and hold to your internal values and moral compass during a negotiation and, for that matter, in everything you do if you want true negotiating success and to live an authentic life.

Is it worth risking your credibility, reputation, self-respect and peace of mind? If you’re wavering, take a moment to consider just how much you’re worth without those things.

On the other hand, when you have integrity with yourself, the other side senses your alignment and becomes less likely to challenge or question your resolve. They will also be more likely to show greater authenticity.

As you consider the reasons why negotiations fail, which I have discussed in this and my previous blogs, you may observe that I haven’t mentioned anything about failure caused by not being sufficiently trained in negotiation techniques. Many people fail at negotiating because they do not do the hard work to reach the level of clarity and confidence needed negotiate without conflicted emotions, without being rigid, or letting their ego take over. Not because they lack negotiation strategies and tactics.

Before you begin to ask, “How am I going to approach this?” look inside yourself and pay attention to who is showing up to the negotiation. If it’s the fearful, unprepared person who comes from a place of insecurity, whatever strategy, tactics, or techniques you try are not going to work. Who you are in the negotiation is the foundation of the negotiation. If you are willing to do the work necessary and avoid the top six reasons for negotiation failure, all of which are further detailed in my book Authentic Negotiating, your chances of negotiating success will increase exponentially.

Corey Kupfer is an expert strategist, negotiator and dealmaker. He has more than 35 years of professional deal-making and negotiating experience. Corey is a successful entrepreneur, attorney, consultant, author and professional speaker who is passionate about deal-driven growth. He is also the creator and host of the DealQuest Podcast.

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Corey Kupfer is an expert strategist, deal-maker, and business consultant with more than 35 years of professional negotiating experience as a successful entrepreneur and attorney.


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