In this third and final part we will look at the last two of the six steps:
- The execution itself
- Completion review
Step Five: Executing.
Successful execution is down to how we negotiate, how we behave and the language we use or don’t use.
When planning, we might have agreed where our red lines are. But if we haven’t thought about how we’re going to communicate those red lines, or avoid communicating about them, then we’ll leave ourselves vulnerable in the negotiation itself.
It’s all well and good planning the actual steps we’re going to make. But often I see negotiators fall down because people don’t plan their own behaviours well. They don’t consider: how am I going to execute that? How am I going to implement that? I recommend to them that time is well spent planning ‘the how’ beforehand and thinking ‘what’s the trickiest question they might throw at us?’ and, crucially, ‘how will I answer it if they do?’
We can often identify the trickiest question by role playing the negotiation internally with a colleague, using natural words that we would actually use in reality. We should then begin to feel calmer, more comfortable and confident. Then should the tricky question actually materialise in the negotiation itself, we’ll feel prepared and show our confidence in our answer.
If we’re managing multiple negotiations simultaneously, maybe across geographic borders, the negotiation team needs to meet regularly. This is to align and adjust their strategy of execution according to prevailing winds, because things do change. Eisenhower said, and I love this quote,
“In preparing for battle, I’ve always found that plans are useless. But planning is indispensable.”
So in the battle itself, we might need to rip up the plan and draw another one up, but planning beforehand, is indispensable. Regular reviews during the execution phase will make sure that the negotiation stays on track.
Step Six: Completion review.
This is often an area that’s forgotten about, but it’s critical if we’re going to develop our competencies or skills for future negotiations.
To review how the negotiation went, not just a big High Five when it’s going well, or writing off as a failure when it’s not going so well, it’s more than that. It involves replaying the negotiation to dig into what went right, what went wrong, or maybe could have gone better. And why was that?
Here, it’s crucial not to attach blame or finger point; it’s a learning exercise to increase competency and capability for next time. The review process might include structured interviews of key members of negotiation, team stakeholders and consider a number of topics.
You need to look at an overall summary of the negotiation.
- What happened and what was the outcome?
- What were our objectives before we went into negotiation and how did we do against those objectives?
- Do we know what went well?
- Did we manage stakeholders?
- Were we aligned?
- What could have gone better?
The next questions are: What actions and changes do we make for next time and what can we do differently next time to help make the negotiation successful?
So those are the six steps to developing and executing a successful negotiation:
- Stakeholder management
- The Impact of Power
- Completion review
Take a look at my previous blogs for more details on steps one to four.
If you would like to watch my webinar in full, you can find it here: Six steps to developing a successful negotiation