Some thoughts on negotiation.

    Negotiation is a daily activity of most managers, almost irrespective of the size of the organisation, and the industry it sits in. On many occasions, a conversation may not be seen as negotiation, as it lacks the adversarial background that highlights a negotiation in progress, but if the conversation has an objective, it has in its nature some elements of a negotiation.

    This was highlighted recently in a conversation with a client preparing for a friendly merger, where the outcome had been agreed in principal, all that was left was the “how to” bits, so below is a list I developed for that conversation, in no particular order.

  1. Any conversation that seeks an arrangement where both parties believe they have done better than their “walk away” point is a negotiation, recognise it when it happens.
  2. Failure to neglect or understand the other sides priorities and what drives them to participate in a conversation that is really a negotiation is a fundamental one.
  3. Do not let price hide the other factors that contribute to a successful outcome, particularly the emotional and psychological ingredients.  A negotiation is a “climax” moment in a relationship, if there has been no work on the relationship, it follows that the climax will be sub-optimal.
  4. Allowing established positions to get in the way of sensible and creative compromise that serves the best interests of both parties  is a common mistake.
  5. Early in the process of determining the nature of the negotiation, establish your BATNA (best alternative to a negotiated agreement)
  6. Processing information that emerges during a negotiation purely from the perspective of your inherent bias can prove to be fatal to achieving any outcome.

About strategyaudit

StrategyAudit is a boutique strategy and marketing consultancy concentrating on the challenges of the medium sized manufacturing businesses that make up the backbone of our economy. The particular focus is on their strategic and marketing development. as well as the business and operational efficiency improvements necessary for day to day commercial survival. We not only give advice, we go down "into the weeds" to ensure and enable implementation.
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