Have You Negotiated How You’ll Negotiate?

By — on / Negotiation Skills

Adapted from “Have You Negotiated How You’ll Negotiate?” by Robert C. Bordone and Gillien S. Todd for the September 2005 issue of the Negotiation newsletter.

A large pharmaceutical company was engaged in licensing negotiation with a small biotech firm over the terms of a technology transfer.

When the talks reached a standstill over royalty rates, the two sides began an all-weekend marathon session.

Each side came armed with supporting arguments and data, but, by Sunday afternoon, they had failed to converge toward the center.

Time, energy, and a willingness to compromise were all running out. Too exhausted to continue, the parties split the difference, with both sides minimally satisfied.

Breakdowns in negotiation are common. In the face of impasse at the bargaining table, managers are quick to blame either the challenges of the issues being negotiated (financial terms, delivery dates, etc.) or the hard-line tactics of the opposing parties (take-it-or-leave-it offers, good cop/ bad cop strategies, and so on).

Yet these explanations are often merely symptoms that mask another problem: the failure to negotiate explicitly an effective negotiation process.

The negotiation process can have an enormous impact on outcomes.

Carefully considering and jointly negotiating the negotiating process increases the likelihood that you and your counterpart will work well together, abide by your decisions, manage future differences, and, in many cases, produce better results for the parties involved.

In these articles, Robert Bordone and Gillien Todd will show you how to negotiate a process that increases the likelihood that you and your counterparts will create and claim maximum value.

1. What do we mean by process?
2. Why does process matter?
3. What’s the best process?

Related Article: The Starbucks-Kraft Dispute – In Business Negotiations, Prepare for Problems

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