Most business activities including planning, building working relationships, mediating disputes and managing contracts and projects are resolved through effective negotiations.
For example, one of the more essential elements in effective contract and project management is the ability to negotiate. Negotiation is often required as part of a Request for Proposal process (normally with the lead proponent prior to the contract award).
Once a contract has been awarded and the project begins, negotiation is an essential requirement throughout the work phase; it never stops. It can include amending work requirements, including changes to the project plan, scheduling, and staff.
Under normal working conditions at any place of employment / business, negotiation is an essential tool for any leader / manager when working with staff, colleagues and external business contacts.
A person’s position or stature in an organization does not necessarily mean he or she has an “in-born ability or trait” to negotiate effectively. Some people have both the experience and personality to negotiate successfully. However, the majority of us struggle through it hoping for a simple conclusion without any conflict or disagreement.
Planning a negotiation requires extensive preparation and, depending on the complexity of the situation, rehearsals. Areas that the negotiator (or negotiation team) needs to concentrate on are:
- Establishing a proactive negotiation strategy through thorough planning and preparation; win – win strategy.
- Understanding what issues or concerns (all parties) need to be negotiated and their individual / collective importance.
- Understanding human behavioral and communication styles.
- How to establish and use bargaining tactics.
- Resolving deadlocks and impasses.
- How to gather information prior to and during the negotiation.
- Establishing individual and team negotiation roles.
- Negotiating during the project with both internal and external project members, including day-to-day working relationships.
People often get so wrapped up in achieving (winning) their own negotiation concerns without realizing or understanding that the other party has real concerns and issues as well. Negotiation is not about winning; it is about getting the best possible solution to a particular dilemma, problem, or business transaction.
Stevens Consulting Group can assist project and business managers in establishing practical and positive negotiation strategies and processes.