Negotiation Teams need a Vision!

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Without data, you’re just another person with an opinion.
— W. Edward Denning

I recently had the pleasure of being on a panel discussion in Australia on the impact of human intelligence (Hi) and artificial intelligence (Ai) and creating a competitive edge by combining both. The main question is always “where do we start”? Start with your strategic goals. Ai and Hi are most successful when you use them to solve a problem or leverage an opportunity. A key message was - technology is an enabler, but success depends on leader’s ability to use technology and people together.

Ai and changes to how your employees work are affecting global negotiations. So, using technology as part of your negotiations enables better outcomes.

Technology does not run an enterprise; relationships do!
— Patricia Fripp

Due to the dramatic digital disruption today, India and China are changing faster than the rest of the world. Smaller countries like Thailand and Vietnam are starting to claim global market share, with negotiation agility being key to their success. How agile is your organisation at negotiating? How skilful and respectful are you in dealing with cultural issues? Find out more in The Creative Negotiator, 2nd Edition by Stephen Kozicki.

As a negotiator and leader think about this latest research from the Boston Consulting Group (BCG). BCG found: companies are perishing sooner than ever before, and US public companies chance of failing in the next five years is now one-in-three. Fifty years ago, this figure was only one-in-twenty. In the past, companies focused on winning business and not on developing organisational capability using successful negotiation teams.

Major Business to Business (B2B) negotiations need preparation by cross-functional teams, not just solo negotiators. If teams want to win business they need real value preparation with clear indications showing how all parties will succeed.

When helping organisations build their organisational capability, I focus on who needs to be involved in the negotiation team, by using this process:

  1. Select someone on the Executive Leadership Team to be the sponsor for this project. Preferably one of the customer facing executives.

  2. Find a whiteboard and list the key stakeholders, regardless of title or function. Who are the key people who interact with your top accounts? Who are the key people who work with key vendors to your business? Who are key people who help gain market access?

  3. Create a stakeholder map and draw connections between key people in the organisation. Without fail, there is always a strong connection between people who manage top accounts and key suppliers to the business that impact those accounts. Senior teams are surprised by everything that happens in the background.

  4. Using the stakeholder map, choose key people to attend a 2-3 day negotiation workshop to establish an organisational negotiation framework and to build the planning tools for major negotiations. The workshop is always exciting as we work on live accounts or critical suppliers and the breakthroughs in the room are fast and significant.

Often people in the workshop have never worked together in the organisation before. You’ll be amazed at what you can achieve when you develop negotiating skills for your organisation and not just select individuals. Profitable contracts for your goods and services will be a reality instead of a dream.

Remember, a champion team will always outperform a team of champions.