Negotiation Case Studies , Negotiation Strategies , Planning for Negotiations July 19, 2010

Are you prepared for a crisis?

Emergency situations are unpredictable—they will arise at any time, without warning. Currently, we can see first-hand how a company is dealing with a crisis as BP tries to handle the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, which was set off by a fatal explosion on one of its rigs...

Emergency situations are unpredictable—they will arise at any time, without warning. Currently, we can see first-hand how a company is dealing with a crisis as BP tries to handle the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, which was set off by a fatal explosion on one of its rigs.

In fact, you can’t avoid emergencies but you can be prepared for them

BP has been roundly criticized for being caught unprepared. In business negotiations, the implications will rarely be as far-reaching as what is happening in the Gulf, but crisis situations will arise and your negotiating team should be ready to handle them.

Here are a few crisis situations that could affect a business negotiation:

• The lead negotiator for either party is suddenly unavailable due to illness, an accident or even death;
• A situation outside either party’s control, such as a natural disaster or a power outage, derails negotiations;
• The stock market tanks, creating financial panic;
• One party’s company falls to a hostile corporate takeover or is forced to declare bankruptcy;
• Production on the parts/supplies you are negotiating over is delayed.

As you can see, there could be many scenarios that could affect your negotiation. Are you and your team ready to deal with any or all of these scenarios? As part of your negotiation preparation spend some time dealing with crisis preparation. To do this:

1. Draw a list of likely crisis scenarios that could affect you
2. Brainstorm responses to each of these scenarios
3. Name someone on your team and someone in your home office to act as crisis point people
4. Create a complete list of emergency contact information (work, home and cell numbers of negotiating team, corporate leadership team, hospital, ambulance, and other emergency services)

Being prepared for a crisis or emergency situation will lessen panic and reduce stress. It will also mean that you will be able to continue your negotiation when things return to normal.

Do you have a negotiation crisis response plan?



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