A crisis negotiation in the business world usually involves a high-stakes situation with heightened emotions and the participation of multiple parties.
In a crisis negotiation, parties often feel desperate to reach a deal at any cost, and quickly. However, this type of short-term thinking often limits us from considering the various eventualities that could unfold down the line. Yet even as you approach the problem with intensity and a sense of urgency, there is value in working methodically.
As a negotiator in a difficult situation, how can you manage the exhaustion, time pressure, and stress that typically infects such high-pressure talks? Planning for a crisis, particularly in international negotiations, can help negotiators develop strategies before a crisis emerges.
If you do find yourself in the midst of a crisis negotiation, take time before you begin substantive talks to establish the ground rules. Ground rules establish a foundation for trust, and they also give you room to say no to extreme demands.
Additionally, don’t rush things and take time to explore the emotions behind a position. Business negotiators often assume that a crisis negotiation needs to be conducted as quickly as possible, but remember that time spent exploring the emotions behind a counterpart’s stated positions is never time wasted.
In these situations, it can be especially important to emphasize the importance of cooperation to reduce the odds that parties will blame one another and become overly competitive, resulting in less than desirable outcomes.
Upset by a delay in the delivery of one of your products, a longtime buyer threatens to turn to the media unless you meet his extreme demands. Not only is the relationship in jeopardy, but your company’s reputation seems to be as well. What should you do? Turn to some tried and true hostage negotiation … Read More
Organizations often establish elaborate business crisis management plans. Through a rapid, centralized response, an organization can shift swiftly and efficiently from day-to-day operations into crisis-management mode, whether that crisis involves a building evacuation, a tumble in the company’s stock price, or a product recall.
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At the time, it seemed to be an example of coolheaded dealmaking in the midst of disaster. In 2009, hit hard by the 2008 financial crisis and changes in consumer preferences, U.S. automaker Chrysler was on the brink of collapse. The U.S. Treasury Department stepped in to run a crisis negotiation. In exchange for about … Read More
At the time, it seemed to be an example of coolheaded dealmaking in the midst of disaster. In 2009, hit hard by the 2008 financial crisis and changes in consumer preferences, U.S. automaker Chrysler was on the brink of collapse, and the Treasury Department stepped in to do a deal. In exchange for about $12 … Read More
Planning for crisis negotiation scenarios, particularly in international negotiations, can help negotiators develop strategies before a crisis emerges. Here are some of the negotiation strategies European central bank leaders uses during the financial crisis to help prevent a market collapse.
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Few negotiators can imagine negotiation scenarios more stressful than the kinds of crisis negotiations the New York City Police Department’s Hostage Negotiation Team undertake. But police negotiation techniques employed by the New York City Police Department’s Hostage Negotiations Team (HNT) in high-stakes, high-pressure crisis negotiation situations, outlined in an article from Jeff Thompson and Hugh … Read More
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s indirect approach to diplomatic negotiations with the People’s Republic of China over political dissdent Chen Guangcheng demonstrates the power of adaptability at the bargaining table, especially when dealing with a counterpart from a different culture or who may speak a different language.
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When negotiating a business contract, parties are often so focused on reaching agreement that they don’t think enough about how the deal will unfold after the ink has dried. This type of short-term thinking leads to real problems down the road. The following three business negotiation tips can help you adopt a long-term perspective the … Read More
Here are some negotiating skills from the world of crisis negotiations: Hostage negotiators stress the importance of discussing the “drill”—goals, ground rules, and operating principles—with their team before beginning talks with a hostage taker.
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What do FBI hostage negotiation techniques and business dealmaking have in common? Not a lot, we might assume. In workplace talks, lives are rarely at stake, and tensions seldom escalate into violence. Yet dig a bit deeper, and similarities emerge: just as in a crisis negotiation, business talks can be highly charged, unpredictable, and emotional.
In … Read More
During a crisis negotiation, all that may seem to matter is reaching a deal as quickly as possible. The desire to head off a disaster may lead crisis negotiators to forego the usual comforts of life, such as sleep, in their single-minded pursuit of their goal.
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In typical negotiation skills training, we are taught to get beyond our emotions and look at situations rationally. There’s merit to this approach, of course, as feelings can cloud our judgment. But consider what Lieutenant Jack Cambria, who retired in August as the longest-running head of the New York Police Department’s (NYPD’s) hostage negotiation team, … Read More
The most difficult peace negotiations in recent decades—in Ireland, the Middle East, the former Yugoslavia, and Sri Lanka—were plagued by a common enemy: violent disruptions by spoilers opposed to the peace process. In each of these cases, extremists stalled negotiations by creating security crises that divided public opinion and drove negotiators apart.
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Adapted from “Taming Hard Bargainers,” by Robert C. Bordone (professor, Harvard Law School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter.
Suppose you’re about to face off with an “old school” negotiator whose reputation for hard bargaining precedes him. You know you’re supposed to adopt a collaborative approach for the best results, but what about when the other … Read More
On the heels of an intricate negotiation, conditions change for the worse. Crops fail, the price of oil skyrockets, one side issues an earnings restatement, or the market as a whole is a lot less promising than it was when you negotiated the initial terms. Suddenly your agreement has lost its luster. How should you … Read More