February 5th, 2018

Visualize Holes in Your Negotiations

Do you know the saying “Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance”? The same holds true for negotiations.

Some plan to come to a meeting and hear what the other side has to say reacting to the offer of the other side. What happens if you run through “what if” scenarios? Do you know your holes in your approach?

Some people are more visual people.  Some are more intuitive. No matter what we are all different. In the commentary that follows I would like to suggest that the team may be better off if all team members discuss what they foresee happening so that the team can discuss what reactions may be appropriate. This may add to the negotiation process resulting in a better result for your team.

I would like to suggest seven pluses associated with planning out your negotiation instead of simply coming to the negotiation with the best of intentions and knowing your team’s perspective.

  1. Organize your team and thinking By organizing your team with who will be there, what may be a potential list of discussion issues (rather than an agenda per se), who may address what areas, what may be offered or stated with regard to discussion issues, why we may want to offer what we may be willing to share to demonstrate transparency or offers and what may have as underlying interests, it may be possible organize your teams initial plan.
  2. Plan your reactions Knowing what you intend to do, think about what they may intend to do and why? What do you know about the other party’s intentions, their interests, and their concerns? How will you try to build a relationship and actively listen to them? What questions do you have for them? What questions do you think they have for you?
  3. Where are your holes? What are your pitfalls? Evaluate your plan. What else have you not thought of? Put yourself in their shoes as much as possible. Brainstorm what you think may be their concerns? Explore “what if” scenarios. Explore your BATNA. What is the worst case of what can happen for each scenario?
  4. Fill the holes Having determined the holes in your plan what do you need to do to fill the holes? The holes may be material. If that is the situation, discuss as a team creatively what you may need to do to fill the holes. If the holes are not material, maybe these are areas that don’t really matter and you don’t need to worry about these small holes. These may offer immaterial ways to make small concessions.
  5. Identify opportunities Consider your strengths and weaknesses. Focus on your strengths. If you consider your strengths from their perspective and not just your own perspective this may add insights that you had not thought of previously. Turn threats into opportunities for your team and their team whenever possible.
  6. Spend your time where it matters most Consider in essence a sensitivity analysis to your position, your interests, their position, what you perceive as their interests and focus on what matters most. What are the biggest and most important issues? If you can address these the little issues may not matter. Concentrate on what matters most.
  7. Avoid mistakes By going through this process this should save you time and money. You may still make mistakes, but by going through this process you will likely minimize your mistakes and more likely enhance your probability of success.

A plan is obsolete once it has been initiated. Things change, unexpected things happen. However, having visualized this process with your team, you likely have thought up many of the scenarios that could take place and having thought about these as a team, this will likely assist you in addressing unforeseen obstacles along the way of your next negotiation.

Contact Mike Gregory to speak to your group of consult with you, and check out his website, books and free content. Michael Gregory, NSA, ASA, CVA, MBA and a Qualified Mediator with the Minnesota Supreme Court, is an international speaker that helps others resolve conflict, negotiate winning solutions and inspire leaders. Mike services clients business to IRS, business to business and within businesses. On point resources are available online at Mike’s web site. Mike may be contacted directly at mg@mikegreg.com or at (651) 633-5311.