In my many years as trusted legal counsel to various businesses across industries, I have noticed what works and what does not. And, without a doubt, I can tell you that business leaders who approach their roles with an eye toward negotiation usually have better outcomes in all areas of their professional life. A lack of willingness or readiness to thoughtfully negotiate often leads to unwelcome surprises, which can adversely affect the outcome of a deal, relationship, or piece of litigation.
According to various thought leaders, there are steps before, during, and after the negotiation process that individuals and organizations can take to ward off adverse outcomes. This process involves more than listing what works for one party, you, in the negotiation, and is something companies can and should define in order to increase better business outcomes across the board. Poor or undefined negotiation strategies can lead to lost opportunities, relationships, and profitability.
Preparation is Key
As we have discussed in a recent post, there are many benefits to early mediation, such as reduced costs and preservation of the business relationship. Additionally, early internal negotiations (i.e. employer and employee) or external negotiations can lead to win-win situations when a thorough negotiation strategy is established.
Outline Your Strategy
It is also advisable to put together, in advance, a playbook of sorts, that outlines how the company should respond if and when “X” occurs. This can provide you with different alternative responses, depending on what the other side throws your way, and allows the business leaders to avoid letting emotional behavior and irrationality get in the way of reaching the right result.
Negotiation Tools to Consider
In my years in practice, I have seen the following tools, used in conjunction with or separate from mediation, be effective in assisting the parties with attaining their objective.
Rank Priorities – by ranking priorities in order of importance, and making this information known within the organization, the business understands what is truly important, which improves the potential to reach the best possible agreement.
Know your limits – come to the mediation table primed with a knowledge of where your boundaries lie. Where are your lines in the sand? Do you even have any? Don’t start setting them on the fly during mediation. That can lead to bad results.
Share information – This is often overlooked, and is sometimes viewed as a weakness. After all, knowledge is power, and why would you ever want to share (thereby reducing) your power? This topic alone deserves an entire blog, but the short answer is that sharing information builds trust, and will help you understand your opponent’s goals and limits, which can only help you reach the best deal possible.
Having a clearly defined negotiation strategy that is implemented by all players at your company can have a transformative effect. For more information on how to set the stage for effective negotiations at your business, contact mediator and attorney Drew E. Pomerance today.