Individual negotiators are sometimes overwhelmed by the idea of leading organization-wide changes to negotiation skills. In fact, it doesn’t take much time or effort to set the wheels of reform in motion, write Hallam Movius and Lawrence Susskind in Built to Win. Here are four simple steps to implement negotiation skills in your workplace:
1. Stress outcomes.
To get the attention of top managers, draw connections between better negotiation skills and specific, desired results, including short-term earnings or an increased chance of contract renewals. Once operational changes are made, carefully assess their impact and identify opportunities for further improvement.
2. Point out inconsistencies.
If your organization is investing in negotiation skills training, top leaders need to know if current operating procedures are preventing employees from using what they’ve learned. Make an effort to identify gaps between principles and practices.
3. Model best practices.
If negotiation training isn’t a near-term possibility in your organization, share what you know about preparation, value creation, and deal implementation with your colleagues. Your modeling of effective negotiation behavior should motivate them to follow suit.
4. Build a coalition.
Some of your colleagues are probably as frustrated as you are about internal obstacles to better negotiations. Unite with one or more employees to organize a more effective system. Before long, leaders will take notice.
How do you think you could improve your negotiation skills?
Adapted from “Could I Really Make a Difference?,” first published in the June 2009 issue of Negotiation.