We are constantly negotiating in our personal and professional lives to get our interests and needs met. Some negotiations matter more to us than others and some negotiations are more difficult than others.

When negotiations breakdown disappointment, anger, fear and frustration loom, relationships are damaged, profits decline, life is more difficult, and a costly conflict seems inevitable. Preparing and planning for your difficult negotiations is the best way to get ahead and stay ahead of conflict and get your interests and needs met. Conflict management coaches bring a vast toolkit of learnable skills and processes to assist you in your preparation. They will enhance your negotiation skills and coach you through the process.

Below is an example of how this preparation and planning can positively impact your businesses efficiency and productivity:

Biz Inc Developers entered into a co-management agreement with Giant Corp Developers to develop a very large real estate project with commercial centers and 1700 lots over a decade.

Each company’s middle management had a different interpretation of some key terms of the agreement. Biz Inc believed that certain responsibilities fell to them, and therefore were entitled to be compensated for completing them. Ginat Corp’s believed those same duties were not Biz Inc’s, and that they were not required to pay for them under their contractual agreement.

Each side enrolled their respective VPs in their story of how they were right, and the other side was wrong. Before engaging lawyers and embarking on costly and disruptive litigation, the two companies agreed to meet to see if they could negotiate a resolution of the issues.

Biz Inc Developers hired me as a conflict management coach.

I worked with the VP to unpack Biz Inc’s story separating the facts of what actually happened from the meanings being the interpretations, judgements and assumptions about those facts that drove the dispute. I then had him put himself in his Giant Corp’s shoes in order to make his best guess about Giant Corp’s own unique story. Once again, I had him separate the facts from the meanings.

This exercise brought clarity to the problem by highlighting the most important issues for each side, their key points of contention and identified where the underlying interests and needs of the parties converge. Armed with this clarity I worked with my VP to brainstorm options for potential resolution and helped Biz Inc explore their Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement (BATNA). They acknowledged that they could not walk away from this deal. This commitment to a resolution was crucial to their negotiation strategy.

Their brainstormed options were tested against how well they met both side’s interests and needs and a strategy was set to role out these options in the negotiation session. The VP’s met face to face and in 3 hours they were able to negotiate a settlement.

Biz Inc’s VP reported that he felt well prepared and in control. He was able to keep the conversations focused on good answers for the future rather than the past and fault and blame. He was able to confirm with his counterpart his best guess as to Giant Co’s interests and needs and propose options to meet them. Together they were able to agree on a strategy to support their management teams to work together.

David Gould LLB KC C Med

For help managing a high-conflict wealth transition, or to learn about how we can help you prepare for these conflicts, feel free to contact me today. I offer conflict coaching, conflict management training, and mediation services.