Discerning Tactics At Negotiation

When we talk about an efficient manager, negotiations become an integral part of his communication; be it with colleagues, clients, or other stakeholders. A negotiation is often perceived as competitive, an opportunity that offers a case which you need to win, and, try to convince the other side to see things from your perspective. Such an assumption however is faulty, since it implies that you believe that the other party’s point of view is wrong, which can lead to biased decision-making.

 

A critical driving force behind the evolution of modern day business is the ability among organisations to build global strategic alliances through collaborative strategies of international standards. Businesses today are being built on networking platforms, where success hinges on the ability of organisations to develop cooperative strategies to share resources, skills, and expertise for maximising market reach and corporate profitability. Here, we would concentrate and reemphasize on the indispensable negotiation skills combined with expertise on essential IT applications as appropriate tools for negotiation tactics.

 

In Quotes “A critical driving force behind the evolution of modern day business is the ability among organisations to build global strategic alliances through collaborative strategies of international standards.

 

For such a purpose, the office managers have a pivotal role to play as they are often involved in the process of bargaining and negotiating between multiple parties. The power of bargaining and the art of meaningful business negotiations determine the extent of success of business alliances. In today’s context, office managers must possess skills for paving the way for an organisation’s efficiency and a competitive market positioning. As negotiation is a critical and integral part of the business atmosphere today, office managers need to be abreast with processes, which cover avenues of collaboration for helping develop mutual interests in company mergers and takeovers. Very often, negotiators perceive situations from their perspective and try to influence the other side to view it from the same perspective, which generally has the potential for the negotiation to fall flat. Negotiators should treat the process of negotiation as a creative process, where they should look at increasing the size of the pie, ensuring achievement of both parties’ objectives.

 

A critical and often undermined factor in any negotiation relates to the handover or transfer of technology. Where there is an alliance or partnership, there are teething issues, which at times, impede the implementation of a working relationship. There are critical integration, migration, and scaling concerns that must be supervised by a technical expert. Companies using legacy systems are bound to have data integration hiccups. Data is often stored in different and perhaps multiple formats across the organisation. In most cases, the strategic goals are intertwined with technology usage. Often, up scaling involves IT infrastructure investments that need to be put up for discussion. It is essential to ensure that a CIO or CTO is engaged from the very initial stages. In customised solutions involving intranets and extranets to facilitate data collaboration, there are various security issues, which can be detrimental to operationalise processes when unaddressed.

 

There are many underlying factors that impact negotiation and alliance as well. Cultural barriers for one can result in a serious communication gap during instances of a merger, or worse, a takeover. Employees getting absorbed into the alliance may not match the technical skill set of the parent organisation, thus creating operational problems. What is therefore needed to be addressed is for successful negotiations, when at the negotiation table, one should rank priorities in accordance of importance, define their targets such that they are feasible, and, be ready with alternatives up their sleeves. 

 

In Quotes “What is therefore needed to be addressed is for successful negotiations, when at the negotiation table, one should rank priorities in accordance of importance, define their targets such that they are feasible, and, be ready with alternatives up their sleeves.

 

To optimise functional negotiation skills, the following aspects need to be kept in mind:

 

1. Prepare before the negotiation process

2. Reveal sufficient to arouse interest

3. Refrain from overemphasizing authority

4. Initiate the first offer

5. Try and achieve a win-win situation

 

Options are explored across a whole range of business negotiations from agreeing to collaborate in areas of strategic interests to company mergers and takeovers. However, the crux of the matter is whether to divulge all information or be more transparent. At times, being transparent about your priorities can help create more value for you and the other side.

 

Prepare before the negotiation process: Before negotiations, one should prepare well and invest time/ resources to gather relevant information. This is primarily important because the internal team members should be in absolute sync, while having sufficient background research of what the other party expects, from the final negotiation. 

 

Reveal sufficient to arouse interest: Offering information builds trust and can help with joint problem solving. One needs to prioritize the issues, discuss possible modes of collaboration, and, explore the benefits accruing to both parties, and the ultimate outcome if the deal is concluded successfully. In order to achieve this, it is helpful to reveal some information first, as a trust-building mechanism.  

 

Refrain from overemphasizing authority: Complex negotiation processes lead to influencing others, but it does not promote creative thinking. Working on the basis of authority can hinder that creativity. The message is to be a good listener, enter into healthy debates, and, address the point of entering into a strategic collaboration through negotiations which would be a win – win situation for both parties.

 

Initiate the first offer: Making the first offer is extremely powerful as it builds on the anchoring effect. The initial offer influences the counter-offer and thus pulls the entire space in which the negotiation takes place towards it. Empirical evidence suggests that the first offer advantage is strong in most cases. The office managers need to build on the level of conviction, confidence, so that they are in a position to make the first offer, and, carry out the entire negotiation process for obtaining a better outcome.

 

Try and achieve a win-win situation: Office managers very often view negotiations as a competition and tend to initiate oral scuffles with the other party, which might prevent win-win situations. Office managers need the other party to work in sync and not to merely split a fixed pie that is offered, but to grow that pie in the first place is an ideal position for win-win situation. If the pie is larger, then the share of each party also increases, which helps attain a win-win situation. The primary objective should be to use the resources and work in collaboration with the other party for fulfilling objectives. At the same time, one should keep in mind that the other party also has financial, moral and brand value benefits evolving due to the business alliance.

 

Thus, to engage into negotiation, one should rank priorities in terms of importance, define and state stretched targets keeping in mind what is realistic, consider alternatives in mind and be aware of bottom lines, which should or should not be revealed. Compounded with this aspect are the nuances of transfer of technology, which is a big aspect of negotiations today. The technology transfer should be in line to attempt to ascertain the other party’s priorities, goals, bottom lines, interests and milestones that they intend to achieve. In the negotiation process managers should harness their skills over time covering across various dimensions and contemplate on several aspects and negotiation tactics as outlined above.

Soumitra Mookherjee is an Associate Professor – International Business at ISBF. He has an experience of over 15 years in various industry verticals and has worked Shaw Wallace Shipping, Tata Steel, ITC Financial Services, Haldia Petrochemicals Ltd, Consultant India Pvt Ltd, and UNIK Solutions. Soumitra has a B.Sc. in economics from University College London (UCL) and M.Phil in Economics from Darwin College, University of Cambridge. Dr. Yavar Ehsan is the Associate Professor, Information Technology at Indian School of Business & Finance. Prior to becoming an academician, he has worked in Michigan, Pennsylvania and New Jersey while in US and has exposure with various international corporations as well as experience in multi-cultural workforce management. Dr. Ehsan completed his Post Graduation at the Fox School of Business, Temple University and has a Ph.D. from Jamia Millia University.

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