- Identify the issues or differences you wish to resolve. Prioritize them. Identify the other’s interests and priorities.
- Which issues should we talk about? Which should be avoided—or maybe delayed to a later date?
- What is the best time and place to negotiate? Can this matter wait for a better time, place or hearing?
- List your sources of strength. What are their limits and constraints? You have more power than you think. Why?
- How will you open the negotiation and best support the position you take?
- Most negotiations are settled through compromise and concession. How should you do so? What concessions might you ask for in return for those you make?
- How will you and the other party document or otherwise assure that what both have agreed to will be accepted as a commitment to execute the terms of the agreement?
- The best way to reach a committed agreement is by jointly searching for and finding mutual gain solutions that resolve differences and problems. Write down some Both-Win ideas before entering the meeting.
- Consider asking an associate to play the role of a “Devil’s Advocate.” Let them defend the other person’s position and rebut your viewpoint and arguments.
- Cool the “hot potato.” The more difficult the issue, the more important it is to cool off before dealing with it. Don’t start with a chip on your shoulder or a hot potato in your hand. Wait. Wait.
- What relationship do you now have with the other person? Can something be done to improve that relationship before negotiating? After agreement?
Tag archive: failed-negotiations
The Quick Negotiation Preparation Checklist
Avoid failed negotiations
Failed negotiations can lead to business losses, even business closure as was the case with American Axle and Manufacturing in Buffalo, N.Y. The Detroit News reports that American Axle was unable to reach an agreement with its labor union, resulting in a decision to close the plant at the end of the current contract. It is clear that in this situation, the outcome of the negotiations was lose-lose. How do negotiations fail? There are many reasons that the parties cannot reach agreement. In the article "Six Ways to Blow a Negotiation" Lisa Yoon lists the following reasons:Read more »
- Poor planning
- Poor/misguided assumptions
- Failure to listen
- Being culturally insensitive
- Failure to establish the bases of negotiation
- Accepting an offer too quickly
- Preparation and planning
- Building rapport with the other party
- Building your credibility
Re-Negotiating A Broken Contract
What happens when you try to re-negotiate on a broken contract? In case you haven’t been watching television in the last couple of days, NBC is quitting its failed experiment of airing The Jay Leno Show at 10:00 p.m. and wants to push it back to start at 11:35 p.m., after the news. The problem starts with the Tonight Show and Conan O’Brien. Conan took over the Tonight Show when Jay Leno left for the earlier time slot. Conan had been promised the slot when he started with NBC several years earlier. Now, NBC, in spite of having a contract with Conan, wants to push The Tonight Show to a later start, at 12:05 p.m. Conan is refusing, as this statement revels: (http://mediadecoder.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/01/12/conan-obrien-says-he-wont-do-tonight-show-following-leno) because he feels it would destroy the show. NBC is a difficult situation because it has to re-negotiate with two stars (Jay and Conan) and two contracts. Both contracts stand to be changed or even broken by time slot changes. There are many lessons to be learned, perhaps chief among them, as columnist Steven Pearlstein of the Washington Post points out, is that you should not resolve internal conflicts with costly, untested solutions. He writes: “For NBC, the decision to move Leno to an earlier time slot had nothing to do with the desires of TV viewers. Rather, it seemed like a clever solution to the problem of having promised the "Tonight Show" to O'Brien five years earlier in an effort to prevent him from jumping to a rival network. It's a common mistake in business -- letting key decisions be driven not by market demand but by the need to resolve internal conflicts. As NBC discovered, it rarely works out for the best.” Read the whole article here: (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/01/12/AR2010011203671.html) which gives an excellent overview about what happened at NBC. For business negotiations, the question is can you re-negotiate a broken contract? Can you reach an agreement when there are broken promises and hard feelings on the table? The NBC drama is unfolding and we will soon see how NBC executives end up resolving this acrimonious dispute. What do you think will happen at NBC?Read more »
Boston Globe Negotiations - Will They Shut Down?
Will the Boston Globe close because of failed negotiations? Over the weekend, a deadline came and went and no agreement was reached in a month-long negotiation to decide the future of the Boston Globe. The New York Times (owner of the Boston Globe) is seeking concessions worth $20 million from the Boston Globe’s unions. The Times is threatening to close down the Globe, which has been in publication for 137 years, and is planning to file a 60-day shutdown notice on Monday. Negotiations may still be conducted during the notice period. The story from the AP is here: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090504/ap_on_re_us/us_boston_globe_future But why haven’t these high-stakes negotiations worked? Power imbalance This is a bad time for newspapers as they have been hit hard by declining ad revenues, readership losses, and increasing production costs. The Boston Globe has been especially affected, losing $50 million in 2008 and projected to lose even more this year. Clearly, the Globe is in a weak position in relation to the New York Times, which controls the purse strings. (Read the New York Times story here: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/04/business/media/04paper.html?_r=1&hp) Perceived hostility The Boston Newspaper Guild said in a statement: “This tactic, while expected, is representative of the bullying manner in which the Times Company has conducted itself during these negotiations. Despite the Company's hostile tactics, we continue to negotiate in good faith and work diligently toward an acceptable outcome." In other words, one party senses hostility from the other, creating bad will between them. (Read the Boston Globe story here: http://www.boston.com/business/articles/2009/05/04/agree_or_else_globe_tells_unions/ Too many players The Boston Globe has several unions (mailer’s union, Boston Newspaper Guild, delivery drivers union, Boston Newspaper Printing Pressmen's Union) representing different interests who may be prepared to make different types of concessions. A large sticking point Apparently, the sticking point with unions is that the Times seeks to eliminate lifetime job guarantees. Do you think the Boston Globe will survive?Read more »
Did IBM or SUN Really Want the Deal?
How much do you really want the deal? In any business negotiation, knowledge is power. One thing you know that the other party does not know is how much you really want the deal or not. This knowledge is one of your most valuable assets, and you should hold it close to your chest. This past Monday, a big deal went down in the tech world. Oracle www.oracle.com acquired Sun Microsystems www.sun.com after Sun’s negotiations with IBM www.ibm.com failed. See CNN article: http://money.cnn.com/2009/04/20/technology/sun_oracle_ibm/?postversion=2009042013) Oracle paid $7.4 billion for Sun Microsystems, while IBM had offered $7 billion. Sun had negotiated with IBM for weeks, and IBM had been very interested in acquiring Sun’s Java platform. Now, IBM has not issued any public statement but analysts have speculated that it did not really want the deal, and that it is not threatened by an Oracle-Sun merger. Furthermore, it seems Sun has a server division which is in trouble, and fixing that division may be a challenge for Oracle. It is possible that IBM knew all along that Oracle would want Sun, and further, that Oracle would be put at a disadvantage because of the server business. And perhaps IBM knew throughout the negotiations that it didn’t want to acquire Sun. Nobody but IBM negotiators knows how much they wanted the deal or why exactly they chose to let this one go. In this case, negotiation may have been a tactic for IBM to achieve business goals other than to acquire Sun Microsystems. Perhaps IBM wanted to learn more about Sun or wanted to see if Oracle would want Sun. We don’t know. But we can surmise that IBM did not really push for a deal.Read more »