CRG works to take the "zero sum" edge and focus away from the negotiation process. CRG's Objective is to achieve a "fair deal" for both parties by challenging each side's assumptions and expectations while keeping the process productive, efficient, effective and realistic ... thus allowing both party's business executives to focus on achieving their business interests and objectives in the negotiation rather than on time consuming negotiation tactics.
In business, it's normal to negotiate with suppliers and/or clients at various levels of their organizations as part of the normal business relationship. The nature of these negotiations sometimes get bogged down when differences arise. This often occurs because of unforeseen product or use changes, unforeseen events, growing project complexity, Intellectual Property concerns or just honest misunderstandings that occur that were not part of the original planning. And as you might expect, the circumstances and their effects are often viewed differently by each of the parties and often result in creating unwanted and counter-productive delays or impasse .
It's obvious that this is not productive and can cause unnecessary inter-company tension if a "zero sum" game solution is played out where one party wins and the other is forced to capitulate. This type of resolution often has the losing party taking note to recover it's "unfair" loss in some way at some future date resulting in more potential business relationship problems in the future.
So, why does this often play out this way? Well after the operations people reach impasse, they bring in middle management and finally more senior management to resolve the difficult issue at hand. Each side may have their attorneys review existing agreements and comment on legal standing. The problem is that, when it gets to this point, parties begin to "dig in" to their positions creating tension and confrontation between the parties which often has a negative effect on the relationship and therefore affects other current or future dealings.
An alternative approach is to bring in a third party skilled at helping both parties fix the problem but also to help identify and fix the process for the future. Using a third party that each side readily trusts and recognizes as neutral is key to making important progress. This third party needs to be "business competent" and motivated to assist both sides in resolving the issue in a way that fixes the problem and addresses the process or procedural defect that allowed the problem to develop. This leaves both parties with an improved and healthier ongoing relationship left to pursue other current and future challenges as they arise.
We've just discussed how this can work in resolving an existing problem between two businesses but it is equally as effective in negotiating a new on-going complex working agreement between two businesses where both sides recognize that neutralizing the potential negotiating advantage of both parties at the outset results in a fairer deal that will serve both parties better in the long run. In addition, a significant amount of time that is often required of the executives on each side to negotiate these deals is significantly reduced.
Trust in negotiations ...
Establishing Trust is crucial in conducting successful negotiations. But establishing this trust is often particularly elusive in high-stress, high-stakes situations.
Negotiations that gain trust between the parties as the process goes forward not only create superior results, but can continue to improve between the parties, which in turn improves the efficiency and progress of ongoing and future negotiations.
Too often, negotiations focus solely on the transaction without properly developing trust and respect within the relationship. If both sides recognize the value of developing mutual trust and respect between the parties, you are off to creating a lot of potential value in current and future dealings.
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