Business Negotiation February 11, 2013

Putting Together A Successful Team: What To Look For

The day of the one-man negotiating team is over in business and personal affairs. If you want to do well, negotiate with someone at your side.

Not long ago, the government would assign a person to go from plant to plant closing multimillion dollar deals. Government negotiators were like traveling preachers. It was an absurd practice because most contracts were too complex for a single person to handle well. There are still a few industrial companies who continue to depend on an “all-wise itinerant negotiator.” They would, in my view, be better off with two or three persons on the team if the size of the contracts or the importance of the issues warranted the extra cost.

The advantages of team negotiators are overwhelming. Teams bring a broad base of knowledge to the table. They are more creative than individuals. Properly organized, they are less apt to overlook important details. They plan better and, as a group, think better.

Research indicates that teams tend to take greater risks in setting higher targets than individuals. However, when risks entail large losses that are potentially life or organization threatening, they become conservative. Groups of people on the same team perceive power differently from those who bargain alone. Individuals tend to dwell on their own side’s limitations, whereas groups reinforce each other’s strength by challenging their team assumptions and constraints. .

Teams serve another important function after the contract is signed. Having many people from various departments participate in the bargaining helps sell the final agreement internally. It provides each department with an understandable basis for allocating budgets and committing themselves to performance. Griping and “Monday morning” criticism about the agreement are reduced.

Team bargaining does have drawbacks. Good leaders are not easy to find. It’s hard to lead a cavalry charge if you don’t look good on a horse. Leaders have to look and act the part. They have to be tactful and flexible.

One difficult responsibility of the team leader is to control the content and flow of discussions. Discussions sometimes drag on interminably on points hardly worth talking about. I’ll never forget a session where eight people at the table wasted three hours because an engineer asked how the bubble in the gyro was extracted. It was interesting, but not useful. The team leader should have cut the discussion short. Most of us have been on teams where the leader allowed team members to speak at the wrong time and reveal too much information. These dangers notwithstanding, go into the talks with someone knowledgeable at your side if the stakes warrant it. This will enhance your bargaining power.

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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