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"Great things in business are never done by one person. They are done by a team of people." – Steve Jobs.
Negotiation with teams is a different deal but crucial for businesses to flourish. Individual negotiation may not fetch the outcomes targeted for the whole venture, and it is always advisable to make important business decisions like mergers, expansion, or funding through team negotiations. But these negotiations should be fuelled by immense preparation before them. Since the parties to such negotiations are insiders (within organizations) and outsiders (other organizations), there must be a control on what information to share and what to keep. Moreover, building trust between teams is comparatively more challenging and needs collaborative techniques from time to time. This article focuses on sorting the problems in team negotiations and suggesting tips for efficient negotiations. However, before we fetch solutions, let's look at some of the challenges and benefits of team negotiations.
There is always more competition in negotiation with teams of two groups (ingroup and outgroup) as the enterprises differ. Teams care more about the needs of their specific group members, and thus achieving a consensus outcome could go through many trials.
Teams have separate individuals who may have different sets of opinions. Additionally, while deciding the terms of negotiation, identities are unrevealed, which forces the team to use combative tactics to have the upper hand over the other team.
The above two points create the state of no trust between teams, and the "us vs. them" mentality takes over. This drags the time to close the negotiation, leads to a bad negotiation, or sometimes compromises the outcome.
The challenges could lead to sour relations between the two teams, and it is vital to have a list of topics for pre-negotiation conversations.
Team negotiation focuses on macro issues and bigger targets of businesses and requires a better knowledge base. As teams comprise creative and talented individuals, they do not miss out on essential details and fetch better results than solo negotiators.
Teams have each other, unlike in solo negotiations. And this becomes one of the most significant factors in team negotiations. They pull each other up if anyone gets diverted and cooperate to meet the organization's goals.
Team negotiations bring together diverse people in one group. Their different views bring a broader perspective to the negotiation process, and the target outcome becomes better than the outcome of solo negotiations.
A preparatory meeting is the meeting that you hold with your team members pre-negotiation to know your stance in the negotiation. You must have a list of issues to discuss in the negotiation, and individual members should be on the same page with the state of the problems. Next to that, you must prioritize the issues and consider the counteroffers that could be made by the other team(wear their caps and analyze their view). Here you can enlist your best alternative to the negotiated argument(BATNA) and how far you can compromise your terms. Here the team could be extremely helpful by exploring the information about the other party's aspirations and priorities. Also, everyone within the team would know the extent of information to share during negotiation.
Your team is much more capable together than single individuals. Especially in negotiation with groups, there is a lot of research necessary, like information about the other team and the substance of the deal. For example: Assume you are sharing a gift(with five of your peers) for your office colleague for her wedding. You all decide to buy her a dress but are spoiled for choices. While some like a dress, others find it overpriced. One of your peers knows how to check the quality and understands the standard rates, while another has a great relationship with one of the shop owners, your work will be easy. Similarly, every individual skill counts in team negotiations and must be matched for crucial roles.
Negotiation with teams is particularly tough because it needs a lot of groundwork. But if there is a team leader who can assess the skills of everyone and facilitate the plan for a successful negotiation, things would never go wrong. Also, with the preparation, remote negotiation tactics, and the leader owning up to their responsibility, the other party will be comfortable dealing with the opponent team and discipline itself to be focused on a good quality outcome.
Once you have the pre-negotiation conversation, you must note and track the negotiation process. The counter offers, best alternatives, worst agreement must all be planned before the actual event. During real negotiation with the teams, you must consider meetups, notes, chits, or phone messages when the agreement does not seem in your favor or you have to make a point. These meetups/caucuses are meant to bring more clarity within the teams.
In negotiation with the team, the best part is teamwork. Every individual can monitor one another's behavior and influence themselves to take more responsibility than given. The amplified sense of competition and bigger economic goals are more prominent in team negotiations than in solo negotiations.
Always include that individual who has better relations with the other team members and is a confident negotiator. Since negotiation is facilitated by trust and values, always be an excellent listener to the different viewpoints and perspectives. Your aim should be more than just getting the upper hand in the negotiation; the focus should be on a win-win strategy.
It is evident from the article that negotiation with teams is quite crucial for organizations and yields better results in the long run. The tips above will help you establish positive interdependence between team members and lead to optimal resource allocation after the successful negotiation. So, do you think you are prepared enough for your negotiations?
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