- Change the time shape of performance. Not everything needs to be done now, next month or next year.
- Get the help of someone both sides can trust and respect to mediate the difference. That’s what the Chinese and Japanese do so effectively.
- Alter the risk factors that make it harder for one side or both to say “Yes.”
- Change the scope of work. There is always some room for give and take in the work to be done or the way it is done. Getting into the details serves to enlarge negotiating space and point the way to economies of effort.
- In most negotiations, as the end approaches, the sum of settled issues generally outstrips those that are not. Nobody at the table relishes the idea of walking out after so much has been accomplished. It pays to recapitulate all matters already settled and those still open. The balance usually favors moving on to closure.
- Determine if the gap that separates you can be bridged gradually: a little now, more later and completely next year.
- The best way, by far, to break an impasse is to collaborate with the other person to search for and discover a better arrangement for both sides. Change the mode of negotiating from the conventional competitive mode to one that is collaborative and Both-Win®; that is, coming from an essentially self-centered mode to one that fosters mutual gain.
Tag archive: stalled-negotiations
Forestalling a Breakdown in Talks
Let us consider some ways to forestall breakdowns before they harden into long-term bickering or wars. The suggestions that follow will help get stalled talks back on track. They allow a negotiator to rebuild negotiating space for talk without the loss of face or bargaining power for either side.Read more »
Why it is Crucial to Agree on How Performance Will be Measured
It is not enough for a buyer and seller to reach an agreement on what is to be done and what is to be paid for it. There is another problem, a difficult one, that often rears its head at the very end: “How is performance really going to be measured and when is ‘done’ done?” Most people do not give this matter enough thought, and they often suffer serious consequences later. That’s why the ideas brought up here are important. They apply whether you call a plumber to work at your home or contract with the largest manufacturing companies on a multimillion dollar deal. Let’s say, for example, you hire a contractor to design and construct a pool in your back yard. The contract calls for water recirculating pumps, lighting, heating equipment, planting and cement walks. Equipment and labor are given a one-year warranty. That’s good, but there is more to it. Do the warranties on equipment start one year from when the manufacturer shipped the pool heater, or one year after the heater was installed, or one year after the pool is working satisfactorily? In fact, when is the pool really done? When you can swim in it, or when the contractor says it is done? Is it done if the site has debris around it or the cement patios and walks are still blotched with excess sand and cement patches? When “done is done” is the forgotten issue in too many negotiations. The measurement of services is more difficult than the measurement of product. Once my department was responsible for the acquisition of consulting services for an advanced research facility. All kinds of measurement problems arose. We agreed rather easily on a rate per hour. What we had trouble with was how to measure an hour. When did it start or stop? Was flying time chargeable? How many hours in a day? Who kept the records? How were they to be kept? When was the job done? Was the final report the point at which work ended? What if we found it incorrect or otherwise wanting? What action constituted acceptance and by whom? Who did the measuring? Who checked the measurer and how? Both the quality and quantity of services are hard to measure and control. The absence of reliable measurement standards and procedures leads to inadequate compliance as well as certain aggravation later on. Before closing your next negotiation, ask yourself, “Have I defined the work or service to be done well enough, and have I set up good procedures to measure whether it is done as agreed?” You’ll be glad you did.Read more »
Change the Negotiator
Breakdowns are not always caused by world-shattering issues or great matters of economics. Sometimes opposing negotiators simply dislike one another for reasons that make no economic sense. I have participated in negotiations in which deadlock occurred because our team leader was unwilling to face the fact that his line of reasoning was wrong. He didn’t want to admit error to the opposing leader by saying “yes” to the other party’s logic. To save face and protect his ego, he preferred to deadlock rather than settle. When we changed negotiators, the tension disappeared and we were able to reach a satisfactory agreement. Many deadlocks are the result of personality differences, fear of losing face, organizational infighting, a poor working relationship with the boss or the inability to make decisions. Any consideration of how to break an impasses must take into account the human factor. Personality clashes between opponents is not the only reason for changing negotiators. Often stalled talks can be recharged by raising (or lowering) the authority level of the bargainers. Sometimes one can get things going again by having one participant drop out and replacing her with an associate, friend or spouse. A salesperson can forestall an impasse by bringing in an engineer or pricing specialist to support the seller’s position. Changing the negotiator or the team can bring new perspectives to the table and change the direction of the talks. It can serve to soften the impact of prior disagreements.Read more »
An explosion of interest in negotiations
The debt ceiling talks between Congress and the White House have brought the importance of negotiations front and center. There have been many articles written about why the talks stalled or why a deal was so hard to negotiate. All in all, it has proven that knowing how to negotiate is an important skill to have in politics as it is in business. We came across many great articles about the debt ceiling negotiations but wanted to share two in particular. First, Business Insider had an article entitled “Why We Need More Ethics in Business Negotiations.” The article argues that negotiators sometimes ignore ethical considerations just to make a deal:Read more »
many corporations will ignore ethical considerations when making business decisions due to pressure from intense competition, the quest for higher profits or simple greed. Equally, ‘winning the deal’ sometimes becomes more important for executives than compromising to establish a relationship that could be used to forge multiple deals in the future. Dealing ethically in business means wanting to establish a reputation for behaving fairly and honestly with competitors and clients. It also means taking into account all stakeholders in the deal – not just the two parties negotiating, but the entire community that may be affected by the long-term consequencesRead more: http://www.businessinsider.com/why-we-need-more-ethics-in-business-negotiations-2011-7#ixzz1Tmhvc2SC Steve Adubato writing in the New Jersey Star Ledger finds much to learn in “Debt battle in DC offers negotiating lessons aplenty.” Adubato’s main lessons are as follows:
- Keep your eye on the ultimate goal
- Have a shared goal with the other party
- Listen with an open mind
- Set clear deadlines
8 reasons the other party is stalling
You and the other party are in the middle of a business negotiation when the other party starts stalling. It seems as though they don’t want to reach a deal at all. Is there a good reason for this? In fact, many parties stall or use a no-deal-wanted negotiation as a tactic. There are many reasons for them to stall. The top eight reasons the other party is stalling are:Read more »
- To use it as leverage elsewhere
- To set the stage for deal-wanted negotiations later
- To tie up inventory
- To fish for information
- To delay decisions or actions
- To seek for outside alternatives
- To get third parties involved
- To divert attention
Are you stalled? Just as when your car stalls out, when a negotiation stalls you are delayed or can’t reach your final destination. In effect, stalling is sometimes used as a way to avoid reaching a deal. It is the opposite of a productive business negotiation. Some parties enter a negotiation with the intent of not reaching an agreement. Why? Parties engage in deliberate stalling for various reasons or to achieve certain objectives that the other party is not privy to. According to Dr. Chester L. Karrass, there are several reasons that may be behind a stalled negotiation. These include:Read more »
- To divert attention (similar to the smokescreen)
- To tie up production or inventory
- To search for information
- To delay decision-making
- To search for outside alternatives
- To obtain more time
- To cover up ulterior motives
North Korea Negotiations
What if diplomatic negotiations don’t work? Over the weekend, North Korea engaged in a nuclear test that brought both concern and swift condemnation from the international community. President Obama vowed to “stand up to this behavior,” which many believe proves that North Korea is on the brink of becoming a nuclear power. Has the United States reached a point with the North Korean government in which diplomatic negotiations are no longer feasible? Bloomberg News reports that: “In the wake of the new tests, some argue that the U.S. and its allies must go beyond diplomacy to influence the North Koreans.” Some are calling for stronger international pressure. Others are arguing in favor of pressuring governments and businesses that are engaged with North Korea. Read the full article here: http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=ad2G26D3X61s&refer=home Although we can’t speculate on what will happen with this delicate political and diplomatic situation, we wonder whether you can or should negotiate with a party who does not seem to want to negotiate with you. Clearly, if a party refuses to come to the table, a negotiation is stalled before it even began. However, is it perhaps not that the North Koreans don’t want to negotiate, but rather that there is such a wide cultural rift that both North Korean and United States negotiators are simply not understanding each other? Or maybe the North Koreans subscribe to the idea of winning through intimidation? Dr. Chester Karrass is not convinced that intimidation is an effective negotiation tactic, but that does not stop an opponent from engaging in these types of threatening behaviors. Dr. Karrass, in his book In Business As In Life---You Don’t Get What You Deserve, You Get What You Negotiate, identifies eight types of intimidation tactics: 1. Legal intimidation 2. Intimidation by experts 3. Intimidation by raising the stakes 4. Threats 5. Status intimidators 6. Intimidation by taking hostages 7. Physical and environmental intimidators 8. Emotional, nuisance and embarrassment intimidators It could be construed that by conducting this nuclear test, North Korea is attempting to raise the stakes and perhaps threaten the international community. Dr. Karrass believes that there are ways to deal with intimidation tactics, namely by offsetting each tactic with actions of your own. In this case, the stakes are so high that the United States must find a way to engage with North Korea. What would be your advice to U.S. negotiators?Read more »