Negotiating for a Win-Win


FountainBlue’s Feb 11 Front Line Managers Online meeting was on the topic of ‘Negotiating for a Win-Win’. To our panelists, negotiating is more about influence than about money, although business and financial interests are often important factors. 

Our panelists spoke eloquently about the importance of building relationships and alliances, so that everyone understands the motivations of other parties during a negotiation, and to increase the likelihood that the negotiated result would serve the long-term and short-term needs of all parties. Below is a compilation of recommended best practices.

  • Communicate in tradeoffs between resources, timelines, and features.
  • Be an open and generous listener so that you can understand the needs and motivations of the other parties.
  • Be curious as you ask about the motivations and perspectives of others, and empathetic to their needs and desires. 
  • Embrace opportunities to see options in shades of gray, delineating factors and weightings which impact available options.
  • Take the time to accept the negotiating process, engaging multiple stakeholders.
  • Enlist the support and leadership of executives and ensure alignment with corporate goals.
  • Make the relationship more important than a short-term win. 
  • Manage your tone and your emotions. Don’t make the negotiations personal. 
  • Ferret out underlying assumptions which might make it difficult to come to a consensus.
  • Look for the double-accounting or win-win – when both parties/products/teams/companies can win!
  • Focus also on delivering more engaged and more empowered people as a victory sometimes, not just the financial benefits of a negotiation. 
  • Strategically plan your negotiations by doing your homework and planning for high-impact results.
  • Sometimes negotiations take place over small nudges rather than one heavy push. 

Negotiating happens at many levels – within and between teams, within and across roles, organizations, industries, individuals. 

The bottom line is that if we look at negotiations with more positive connotations and see negotiations as opportunities to more deeply connect and collaborate, we will more likely find that win-for-all.

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