Successful Negotiating Teams are well-prepared

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The single most untapped competitive advantage is teamwork.
— Patrick Lencioni

Successful negotiating teams need to be well-prepared with solid research, 'what-if' scenarios and all the other essentials of negotiating. But they also need to be well-prepared as a team.

To ensure each member of your team plays a counterpoint to the others, rather than overwhelming them by playing their own song, you need to be sure you understand the difference in individuals. By understanding these differences, you can use them to your advantage in developing high-performance teams.

You need to examine several aspects of team building:

  • The importance of teams in the negotiating process
  • The dynamics of a normal team preparation process
  • Problems arising in team negotiations and how to deal with them
  • Behaviour of teams in the negotiation process

I am certain that teams are more powerful than individual negotiators because I know most people honestly want to contribute at work. They want their input as a member of a team to be valued, and it is the same with a negotiation.

I accept that there are occasions when the most effective way to negotiate is on your own, a one-on-one negotiation. However, in many cases, teams are the most effective way to negotiate. Team negotiations are increasingly becoming the most effective way to find mutually acceptable solutions.

It's not hard to find examples every day in the tabloids or on the evening news. Every time there is a major union or management negotiation, you'll see two teams hard at work presenting their respective cases, with an abundance of 'experts' on both sides.

Some years ago in the military, I used to teach leadership skills in outdoor survival activities. Time after time, the group came to realise the benefits of using a cooperative team approach over the sometimes limited resources of individuals.

It is clear that a champion team will accomplish more than a team full of different champions trying to win as separate individuals. The group in the military learned a valuable lesson by watching a team tackle the problem and solve it. Being told that something is so, is not the same as knowing it is so. When active learning takes place, when people learn by doing - they know.

When you compare successful negotiations with the disasters, then the 'pattern' for success emerges very quickly. For more information on seizing the power of team negotiations download our eBook: The Power of Team Negotiations.