Negotiation Skills

Negotiation Skills

Negotiation Lesson #6: Working Backwards Can Help You Move Forward

Posted 2:55 PM by
When facing a complex, multi-party, multi issue negotiation, one way to manage the complexity successfully is to, “Begin with the end in mind.”  Develop a negotiation process map.  The word, “process” in this context refers to how one will negotiate.  There are always two levels in any negotiation: the first level deals with process, determining “how,” the parties will negotiate.  The second level of negotiation deals with substance, “what” it is you will negotiate for, i.e., a higher salary, new technology, or a sales contract. Begin the process negotiation with all negotiation parties in the room, jointly articulating... Read more →

Negotiation Lesson #5: Labor Management Negotiations

Posted 1:36 PM by
Negotiating When There is No Trust, No Working Relationship and a Bad History One morning in early January, the phone in my office rang and the individual on the other end of the line laid out the following negotiation challenges:My name is ___________ and our organization has to negotiate with the most powerful union in our state.They openly brag that they’ve won everything but the kitchen sink. Contract negotiations three years ago were nasty and contentious; as a result, we don’t like them and they don’t like us. We don’t trust them, but we... Read more →

Negotiation Lesson #4: “When Emotions Threaten to Derail Negotiations: Focus on Process not Substance”

Posted 4:31 PM by
This is the fourth blog in my series, titled, “10 Negotiation Lessons.”  Lessons 1-3 have advised you to “Always Test Assumptions,” “Address Elephants and Red Flags Early,” and “Make the Invisible Visible.” Today’s lesson deals with emotions. A goal I hear most often when teaching negotiation skills is, “I want to learn how to get rid of emotion.”  If you’ve ever been involved in a negotiation where parties yelled, cursed, threatened or abruptly stormed out of the room, you can understand that sentiment.  However, it is impossible to get rid of emotions, they come with being human... Read more →

“Know When to Hold Em, Know When To Fold Em:” Patience and Judgement in Negotiation

Posted 4:12 PM by
Paraphrase of a line from a country music song, made famous by Kenny Rogers Although the line in the song is about a card game, poker to be exact, the two attributes Kenny Rogers is singing about, patience and judgement, are critical attributes for successful negotiation.  Why is patience important?  Any negotiation is like a puzzle to which a negotiator has only some of the pieces.  The other party or parties to the negotiation hold the pieces that will help a negotiator determine whether to, “hold em,” i.e., continue the negotiation because an agreement is possible, or, “fold em,”... Read more →

Negotiation Lesson #9: Explicitly Raise and Address the Issue of Trust

Posted 1:23 PM by
Trust is critical but not essential in negotiations. During the cold war we negotiated with the Russians all the time, but we didn’t trust them.  However, when there is trust between and among the parties to a negotiation, the sky’s the limit in terms of achieving creative, flexible, efficient effective, optimal agreements. This level of trust is built over time. When trust is absent, and both sides enter negotiations with their defenses up, agreement is possible, but it will take longer to reach an agreement and it is likely to be a sub-optimal agreement.  One would think... Read more →

Is Negotiation A Tool For Bridging our Current Partisan Political Divide?

Posted 6:36 PM by
I’m departing from my “Negotiation Lessons,” series this month to comment on the state of our political negotiation process. I’ll return to the regular format next month.  If you’ve staked your reputation on doing everything you can to stop the other party, is it possible to negotiate any agreement about anything?  Can the Freedom Caucus ever agree with the more moderate wing of the Republican Party, let alone the Progressive Democrats in Congress?  Can these very divided, partisan groups ever hope to negotiate any type of agreement about anything, even if negotiating an agreement is good for... Read more →

Negotiation Lesson #8: Utilizing the Media in Negotiations

Posted 4:42 PM by
Normally, we advise clients not to negotiate in the media.  Negotiating in or through the media tends to lead to posturing, blaming, attacking and hyperbole.  Instead the parties to any critical negotiation should as a part of their process negotiations, agree in advance, on the ground rules for dealing with the media.  There should also be protocols for dealing with any breaches of an agreement on how to deal with the press.  They should agree on who on each team will speak to the press and what other members of the team should do when approached by the press.  If... Read more →

Negotiation Lesson #7 - Know Thyself: Preparing Your Inner Negotiator

Posted 9:57 PM by
In preparing for a negotiation, a negotiator has two kinds of work to do, outer work and inner work.  Outer work refers to work that is tangible, and is or will be visible both to the negotiator and to those with whom he/she is negotiating.  Outer work involves things like doing research, developing a strategy, and then implementing that preparation and strategy at the negotiation table.  It involves the actions and words of the negotiator at the negotiation table. It also involves anticipating the interests, needs goals and concerns of the other negotiator and preparing to address them.  The... Read more →

Negotiation Lesson #3: Negotiation Magic: Make the Invisible, Visible

Posted 4:30 PM by
What is highly visible in most negotiations, the other negotiator’s positions or demands?  However, it’s what’s invisible, the underlying needs, goals, fears and concerns that are driving the other negotiator’s demands that often gets in the way of achieving the best negotiation results.  The name for these underlying needs, goals, fears and concern’s is, interests.  The other negotiator is unlikely to share their real interests for fear of looking weak or being taken advantage of or because they aren’t even clear on what their concerns are.  It takes three things to make the invisible,... Read more →

“Red Flags” and “Elephants” Derail Your Negotiations!

Posted 9:00 PM by
Red Flags and Elephants” can derail, destroy or unnecessarily prolong negotiations; so if you are aware they exist, deal with them before you get to the substance of the negotiation.  If they surprise you or arise in the middle of the negotiations, press the pause button on negotiating substance and either address them immediately or agree on a time when you will address them.  What Are, “Red Flags and Elephants?” In negotiation, the term “Red Flag,” refers to issues, behaviors or words that evoke strong emotion in one or more of the parties to a negotiation.  Once strong emotions are... Read more →

10 Negotiation Lessons

Posted 3:42 PM by
1 - Always Test Assumptions My law professor and negotiation mentor, Roger Fisher, co-author of Getting To Yes, Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In, said beware of anyone who gives negotiation advice using words like, “always” and “never.” Negotiation is highly contextual, a tactic that works well in one situation may be a disaster in another.”  Why then am I advising, “always” test assumptions.  Twenty years of experience in teaching, facilitating consulting and advising in the field of negotiations, has led to the formation of some key strategic principles.  Principles are general guidelines, not tactics.   One reason negotiators fail to achieve... Read more →

Few Learn, But All Need Negotiation and Conflict Resolution Skills

Posted 8:10 PM by
Whether I’m training business, government, not-for-profit or educational leaders, I often introduce my negotiation or conflict resolution workshop with these words: “The most important things you need to know in life, no one explicitly teaches you, i.e., how to build a solid, healthy relationship with your significant other, how to raise a child, how to cope with failure, how to manage success and how to deal with conflict constructively.  If we are lucky we have parents who can model these skills successfully.  However all too often they had little or no preparation for these major life... Read more →

Managing Emotions in Negotiation

Posted 3:18 PM by
When I lead a two or three day negotiation training workshop, I begin the workshop by asking participants to share their goals.  Invariably, someone in the group will say, “I want to learn how to take the emotion out of negotiations,” Others in the room will often nod their heads in vigorous agreement.  Others will say, “I want to learn how to deal with other people’s emotions in negotiation.”  The first goal, ridding the negotiations of emotion, is not only impossible it is not desirable.  The second goal, dealing effectively with the emotions of others is both possible and... Read more →

When Negotiation Fails…?

Posted 4:00 AM by
Not every negotiation you engage in, even if you are highly skilled, will be a success.  Although the collaborative process of negotiation Ki ThoughtBridge teaches is designed to maximize your possibilities for achieving negotiation success, the process also anticipates the reality that no method or process of negotiation can guarantee success every time.  This blog will explain how one simultaneously plans for the possibility of success and the possibility of failure at the same time.  Below, in figure one is the Seven Element Negotiation process Ki ThoughtBridge recommends for important, complex negotiations.   Six of the seven elements help you prepare... Read more →

Process is Power in Negotiation: Don't Leave Process to Chance

Posted 12:14 PM by
Never leave the process you use to negotiate to chance or to the person or group with whom you are negotiating.  Generally, I tell my clients to beware of any negotiation advice that begins with, “always,” or “never”.  Why then, have I begun this blog with a, “never,” statement?  The answer, the process you use determines the value you are able to create and claim at the negotiating table.  Value refers not just to dollars and other tangible resources, but also to efficiency, and effectiveness in reaching an agreement, and the ability to implement and sustain what you’ve agreed... Read more →

Internal Negotiations: The Key to Success in External Negotiations

Posted 3:25 PM by
Often I begin a negotiation workshop or consulting session by asking participants to map out the people within their organizations with whom they must negotiate to do their jobs effectively.  I also ask them to map out the parties they must engage in their external negotiations, i.e., clients, customers, regulatory agencies, etc.  Then I ask, which set of negotiations are most difficult, internal or external?  Invariably, more people say that their internal negotiations are more difficult. Although this answer may seem counterintuitive, my experience is that they are correct.  Internal negotiations are more difficult than external negotiations.  In addition,... Read more →

21st Century Organizations: A Crucible of Organizational Conflict

Posted 9:30 PM by
Crucible: A vessel designed to withstand extreme temperatures without melting or cracking.  - Webster’s Dictionary  Can your organization withstand the extreme heat generated by conflict and globalization?Massive, rapid, ongoing change - changes, in technology, markets, economies, competition, communication, and governments have meant organizations have had to rapidly change their strategies and structures to survive and thrive. Change triggers transition which increases the frequency and intensity of organizational conflictGlobalization has created a more diverse economic market place and a more diverse workforce and has heightened cultural proximity.  Organizations must communicate across geographical, cultural and language boundaries.  The opportunities for miscommunication and... Read more →

The Urgent Need for the Inner Work of Leadership

Posted 2:02 PM by
Exercise "The more we love, the less we fear; the less we fear, the more we can love. If we exercise our bodies, we can lower our cholesterol. If we exercise loving-kindness, we can re-open the clogged arteries of the soul." -Br. Mark Brown Society of Saint John the Evangelists Above is the daily message I woke up to this morning. What a timely one it is for my soul feels a heaviness reminiscent of previous times, times when the Country’s shadow re-emerged, that part of the cultural psyche that is the repository of the least... Read more →

What Not To Do When Negotiating With Your Boss or Anyone with Greater Power or Authority

Posted 2:39 PM by
In my last blog, I advised you on what you should do when negotiating with your boss or with anyone with higher authority or greater power than you have.  In this blog, I’m sharing a few things you should avoid doing.As a general rule, don’t negotiate with your boss when either of you are emotionally upset or angry.  If, during the negotiations, emotions start to get out of control, take a deep breath and slow the conversation down.  Try and reschedule the negotiation or take a break.  Examples of what to say:“This issue seems to have... Read more →

Dealing with Difficult Conversations

Posted 1:26 PM by
In a recent encounter with a very able colleague lamenting about having “lost it” in a situation in which there was in her view highly unprofessional behavior, I was reminded of how difficult it can be to be in such situations, and the courage and skill required to confront the individual involved.  It is a particular skill that Ki ThoughtBridge brings to our work, and one we always include in our leadership and negotiation trainings.  There are numerous instances in our personal and professional lives that can precipitate “losing it” but there are reasons why this doesn’t happen; the... Read more →

Negotiating With Your Boss or Anyone of Greater Rank or Status

Posted 12:47 PM by
The skill of effectively negotiating with those above you, i.e., “negotiating up,” is critical to your success in any organization.  Leaders need those on the leadership team to deliver hard truths and critical information they may not be eager to hear.  How you go about delivering that information will determine whether you are viewed with respect and appreciation or whether you get viewed as a, “trouble maker,” or, “not a team player.”  Negotiating with your leader begins long before there is an issue. You need to sit down and discuss with him or her.  The negotiation, influencing and persuading... Read more →