You Negotiate How?

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Negotiate How

Leader A and Leader B is working on new job procedures for two departments.  Both Leaders have met several times to make sure implementation of new procedures will be a smooth transition for both departments.  They have been struggling over making this smooth transition happen.  Leader A is a play-it-safe negotiator and Leader B is an adversarial negotiator.  Describe how Leader A and B should negotiate a win-win outcome.

Did you respond to this case study in my August blog?  If not, that’s ok. 

Let’s get started now.

Here are three steps to negotiate a win-win outcome:

Step 1: commit to personal integrity and positive outcome.

Since most negotiation settlements occur at or even beyond the deadline, be patient.  True strength calls for the ability to sustain a positive attitude without flight or fight. Keep your defense response under control.  Remain calm but alert for the favorable moment to act. 

Step 2: exchange information, clarify issues by focusing on interests, not positions. 

Recognize and uncover (if necessary) any emotional issues to be able to find options agreed upon.

Agree on ground rules which might include process, timetable and authority.  Find out what the other side wants, even when you are fairly sure you will not like what you hear.  Then, tell the other party what you are prepared to do to determine how far apart you are in the negotiations.  Don’t jump to conclusions without clarifying issues; ask for more information, if needed. 

Discuss major issues, differences, how other people are affected and more.  Search for alternatives that are acceptable to both parties.  When common interests dominate, use your logic to solve the problems.  When conflicting interests dominate, be cautious of overstating, compromising or even escalating into an argument.   

Remember, to search for alternatives that are acceptable to both parties.

Step 3: commit to a formal approval process for agreed upon option and follow-up to assure option is working as planned.

Here is a word of caution if the other party is unwilling to negotiate a win-win outcome: beware of tactics used to take advantage of you.  These tactics can be illegal, unethical or simply unpleasant. 

Possible tactics to watch out for

Phony facts: a practice of verifying false information.

Ambiguous authority: a practice of false power.

Hidden agenda: misrepresentation of intentions.

Stressful situations: physical environment creating stress.

Good-guy/Bad-guy: one person takes a tough stand and the other person takes a friendly.

Personal attacks: attacks your status, knowledge and experience.

Threats: pressure designed to force an unacceptable agreement.

Extreme demands: start with extreme proposal to lower your expectation.

Escalating demands: raises one demand for every concession made.

What if: a way of testing readiness to settle.

Vise: “I’m sorry, you’ll have to do better than that.”

Impasse: the appearance of no solution.

Emotional outburst: using emotions to throw other party off balance.

Expert: using expertise to reduce challenge from other party.

Negotiation is the use of information and power; it is a discussion to bring about a result. 


Three questions to determine whether you should or should not negotiate:

  1. Am I comfortable negotiating?
  2. Will negotiating meet both needs?
  3. Is the expenditure of my energy, experience and time create a win-win outcome?

Your answer to each question will help you know whether or not to negotiate. 


Carrie Van Daele is president and CEO of Van Daele & Associates @ and  She also is the author of 50 One-Minute Tips for Trainers, published by LogicalOperations.