Business Negotiation December 3, 2014

Covering-up Differences Won’t Work

Negotiation involves conflict. We do not negotiate unless there is some difference that must be resolved. Because conflict is uncomfortable, too many people prefer to avoid negotiating or to paper over differences when they arise. The trouble is that covering up difference will not work. They will emerge soon after the performance begins and fracture whatever agreement the parties sought to reach.

Most negotiations follow a path. Serious issues are raised by one or both sides and generally settled by compromise or give and take. As talks draw to a close a number of smaller differences come to the forefront. Details become important. Who should do exactly what? Exactly when will something be done and what exactly does the word “done” mean? How and by whom will progress be measured? It has been said that “The devil is in the details,” and it is.

These small but critical matters usually arise later in the negotiation process. By that time both parties are tired of talking and both are afraid to reopen issues already settled. Both hope for the best. So they paper over the difficult details, shake hands and go on to something else only to have the agreement fall apart later.

We pay a high price for papering over differences rather than facing them. We invite misunderstandings and misinterpretations that later lead to rancor or renegotiation. Agreements within the organization, unlike external ones, rarely have legal structure to determine the rights of the parties on matters left unclear. Internal agreements are very brittle and crack easily when challenged.

Workplace negotiations are likely to fail when agreements between parties are left vague. Settlements that contain words like, “My department will provide the necessary support to help you meet the schedule,” will fail unless the support to be provided is carefully specified as to quantity, quality and timeliness. Papering over words like, “We will deliver in ten days,” leads to needless argument and fault-finding about what was meant when delivery is late. Did the ten-day delivery promised include a partial delivery or all of it? Did the time specified include weekend days and a national holiday or just business days? Better to negotiate a bit longer and settle on, “We will deliver the complete program on February 17 or sooner.”

THE PROGRAM WAS GREAT! MY SEMINAR LEADER AND THE STRUCTURE OF THE COURSE KEPT ME CONSTANTLY STIMULATED. I NOW AM BETTER PREPARED TO GO INTO AN IMPORTANT NEGOTIATION MEETING AND STAY IN CONTROL, WHILE FINISHING THE MEETING SATISFIED.

Deanna D.
CASE MANAGER at THE JACKSON LABORATORY

IF YOU HAVE THE TRAINING BUDGET AND TWO DAYS TO SPARE, YOU'LL STRUGGLE TO FIND A PROGRAM MORE FAR-REACHING, ON-POINT, AND INSTANTLY IMPLEMENTABLE.

Jeff G.
BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MANAGER at THE M.K. MORSE COMPANY

EXCELLENT COURSE, BRINGS MORE CONFIDENCE IN MY ABILITY TO NEGOTIATE. I THINK THIS COURSE IS A MUST FOR ALL EMPLOYEES WHO DEAL WITH CUSTOMERS.

John S.
CHIEF ENGINEERING MANAGER at EXXONMOBIL

THIS WAS VERY EFFECTIVE WITH A STRONG FOCUS ON BOTH-WIN NEGOTIATING.

Kathleen L.
SENIOR ANALYST at BLUE CROSS/BLUE SHIELD OF MICHIGAN

THE KARRASS CLASS WAS THE SINGLE BEST TRAINING CLASS/SEMINAR I HAVE EVER ATTENDED. EVERY TIME WE DID AN EXERCISE IT TAUGHT YOU WHAT TO DO DIFFERENTLY NEXT TIME. THANKS.

Kim C.
PROCUREMENT at AMERICAN EXPRESS

THIS PROGRAM HAS GREATLY INCREASED MY CONFIDENCE AND ABILITY TO NEGOTIATE FOR MYSELF AS WELL AS MY COMPANY.

LaDonna E.
SENIOR STRATEGIC BUYER at HALLMARK

THE NEGOTIATING CLASS WAS VERY INFORMATIVE. THE INSTRUCTOR PROVIDED AN INSPIRATIONAL MESSAGE THAT CAN BE APPLIED TO EVERYDAY LIFE.

Mary S.
INTERNATIONAL SOURCING at FMC TECHNOLOGIES

WE NEGOTIATE EVERY DAY OF OUR LIVES, BOTH PERSONALLY AND PROFESSIONALLY. THIS COURSE DEFINES THE PROCESS AND PROVIDES TECHNIQUES TO ACHIEVE SUCCESSFUL RESULTS.

Phillip H.
VICE PRESIDENT at GE

PRIOR TO THIS CLASS I FELT AS THOUGH I WAS GETTING EATEN ALIVE BY INTERNAL NEGOTIATIONS WITH SALES REPS. NOW I FEEL PREPARED TO CHALLENGE WHAT THEY ARE SAYING AND BET TO THEIR REAL NEEDS.

Steve Q.
PLANNER at HONEYWELL

MANY PEOPLE FAIL TO ACHIEVE THEIR POTENTIAL BECAUSE THEY DON’T SEE THE OPPORTUNITIES TO NEGOTIATE A WIN/WIN AGREEMENT WITH THEIR COLLEAGUES. THIS CLASS IS AN EYE OPENER TO THIS DYNAMIC..

Stuart B.
CONTRACTS MANAGER at HEWLETT-PACKARD
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