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ISLAMIC MEDICAL EDUCATION RESOURCES-04

0711-Managing a Negotiation Session

Background material by Professor Omar Hasan Kasule Sr. for Year 2 PPSD session on Wednesday 14th November 2007

1.0 PRELIMINARIES TO NEGOTIATIONS

1.1 COMMITMENT TO NEGOTIATIONS

If you have a vested interest in the success of the negotiations, set the ball rolling and make sure the process moves along. The other party is less likely to walk away from the table after investing time and energy in the process.

 

1.2 PERSONAL RELATIONS

Any opportunity to build personal relations with negotiating partners should be used. Examples include: receiving them at the airport, a dinner, a breakfast etc.

 

1.3 SELF DISCIPLINE AND SELF-CONTROL

You must be very self-disciplined at all times when you are with the other party to the negotiations. Such discipline will save you from costly mistakes. Discipline yourself to listen to the other party without interruption. Listen more; talk less. Listen without interruption; you will get valuable information and insights that will save you from costly mistakes.  Do not react to statements before analyzing them. Do not be hasty in reaching conclusions.

 

1.4 ATMOSPHERE

The atmosphere of the negotiations determines the outcome. It is easier to negotiate as friends in a cooperative atmosphere rather as enemies in a competitive atmosphere. In a cooperative atmosphere there is open communication, free and honest exchange of views and information, emphasis on compatibilities, reducing the scope of incompatibilities, and mutual problem solving.  In a competitive atmosphere there is hostility, suspicion, escalation of conflict, a determination by each party to win all, and little communication.

 

1.5 NEGOTIATORS

Not everybody can negotiate well. The negotiators must be selected very carefully to ensure success. It is a mistake to assume that the leader or head must lead the negotiation team even if incompetent in negotiations. Negotiations can take place between 2 individuals, between groups, or between an individual and a group. Sometimes a third party is brought into the negotiation as a mediator, arbitrator, conciliator, or consultant.

 

Negotiating in a team has advantages over negotiating as an individual. The team has more patience, is less susceptible to pressure tactics, can draw on a wider and specialized expertise. The disadvantages of team negotiating are that team negotiations can be prolonged. Coordination is difficult to achieve. The formalistic impersonal nature of team negotiations makes reaching agreement more difficult than the informal personal atmosphere of two individuals negotiating. To succeed in team negotiation, you must have a strong leader. Prior consensus must be reached on negotiating positions. Roles of speaking on particular issues or defending particular points must be assigned to individuals according to their specialization and ability. A rehearsal may make the process smoother. During the negotiations, the team must present a 'united front' so that the other party does not succeed in splitting the team and getting its members to argue against one another.

 

2.0 PREPARING FOR A NEGOTIATION SESSION:

2.1 PLANNING:

The actual negotiation session should be planned as much as possible. Never leave anything to chance. Role playing is useful. You may actually act out the probable behavior of all participants to the negotiations. Never be surprised at the negotiation table. You must be prepared for any eventuality so that you do not react emotionally but you react according to a well-studied strategy.

 

2.2 BACKGROUND FOR NEGOTIATIONS

Background information is everything in negotiations. Never enter any negotiations without first making research and gathering the relevant information. Collect relevant information about the issue being negotiated, the negotiating party, and yourself, weaknesses and strengths.

 

2.3 PLANNING A STRATEGY:

 Identify objective standards that can be used to settle issues to everybody's satisfaction. List what are satisfactory solutions for you. List what are satisfactory solutions for other party. List interests: yours vs theirs.

List limitations: yours vs theirs.

List options: yours vs theirs

List impact(s) of suggested solution(s): on you vs them

Role play, pretend you are the other party

Work out worst case scenario: for you vs other party

Identify what is non-negotiable: for you vs them

Identify alternative(s) to negotiation: for you vs them

Assess whether a deadlock can be afforded?: by you vs by them

Identify alternatives in case of deadlock: yours vs them

Make a conscious decision to negotiate

Plan the actual negotiation session

Plan follow-up to the negotiation

Finally write  a ‘worry’ list of what could go wrong

 

3.0 PHASES OF NEGOTIATION

3.1 PHASES OF A NEGOTIATION SESSION

A negotiation session has the following main stages: setting the agenda, opening the negotiations, demands and offers, narrowing differences between the parties, final bargaining, persuading the other party to cross the last hurdle to agreement, and implementation of the negotiated deal.

 

3.2 SETTING AGENDA

What to negotiate and how to negotiate

 

 

3.3 OPENING THE NEGOTIATION

Start by identifying issues of common concern and perhaps agreement. This helps relax people and build confidence before the more difficult issues are tackled. The common sense to let the other party speak first in order to identify their strategy is not always applicable. There are situations when you should speak first and state your position. This will give you an opportunity to 'anchor' the negotiations by providing information or positions that others respond to and do not raise other issues that you do not want discussed. Making an opening offer is not as risky as many negotiators may have you believe. If you have a clear strategy, and well worked out contingencies, an opening offer lets you decide most of the parameters of the subsequent discussions. Human being are inclined to react to an idea on the table rather than be creative and bring up a new idea. The opening offer should not so substantial that it reveals your whole strategy.

 

3.4 DEMANDS AND OFFERS:

Outline issues objectively. Listen to other party's reaction; do not interrupt

 

3.5 NARROWING DIFFERENCES

Discuss differences in perception of issues. Ask the other party to state their solution alternatives. Offer your solution and show its benefits for both parties

 

3.6 FINAL BARGAINING TECHNICS FOR WIN-WIN OUTCOME

Splitting the difference is trying to make every side make concessions so that you may meet in the middle. Using fair or objective standards to settle the issue. You can shift  positions as long as the overall objective is to be achieved. Ask the right questions to create options for consensus such as why?, why not?, what if?, what do you advise?

 

4.0 PERSUADE OTHER PARTY TO CROSS THE LAST HURDLE TO AGREEMENT

Start from their position and move them to agreement. Include their ideas in your proposals. Ask for and build on some of their ideas. Ask them for constructive criticism of your ideas. Offer alternatives to choose from. Identify and satisfy unmet needs such as esteem, respect, security. There is no reason for the negotiations failing for such matters that are not of strategic significance to you. Look for and give low-cost high benefit concessions, this requires that you have a clear strategy that helps you identify what is a low-cost concession. Get them to give conditional agreement such as ‘if...then..’ and build on that to reach agreement by fulfilling or agreeing to the condition.

 

Help other side save face so that agreement on substantial issues can be achieved with minimum pain to them and to your entire satisfaction. Use a third party to propose the final solution so that it is easier to accept. Use fair standards that are objective and are accepted universally so that the other party does not feel that you imposed a solution. Give the other party credit for success of negotiations. Praise in a genuine way any contribution they make however small towards a solution. Go slowly and incrementally. Make step-by-step small requests. Do not move to the next until the preceding one has been granted or some promise is made to grant it. Do not ask for final commitment until the end when the whole deal has been worked out. Once the deal is completed, avoid any further discussions because that could lead to change of mind and destruction of all what has been achieved

 

5.0 IMPLEMENTATION

Think about implementation of negotiated deal during the negotiation. Minimize risks in the deal.  Include dispute-resolution procedures in the final deal. Preserve post-negotiation relationships; remember this is not the last encounter and the negotiated deal has still to be implemented. Aim at mutual satisfaction and not outright

victory.

Professor Omar Hasan Kasule, Sr. November, 2007