Successful negotiation is not about getting to ‘yes;’ it’s about mastering ‘no’ and understanding what the path to an agreement is. – Christopher Voss

In today’s business environment, multiple stages of coordination are often missing when working with teams, and at the very least missing a key conversation in one of the stages.

“I need X report from you,┬áMary. This is what it would look like, and I need it by this Friday at noon.” While this may be a complete request from what we identified in the previous Conversation for Action post, what follows identifies the next place where we can miss in coordination.

After the preparation stage, which includes a complete and effective request, we move into the negotiation stage. Leaving out negotiation in our team coordination leads to taking on too much, missed delivery deadlines, employee burnout, and customer dissatisfaction. Awareness of ourselves and our capacity, and the willingness to have the honest conversation at this stage is key.

Sometimes that beautifully crafted request is delivered in an email, and the recipient doesn’t respond. Perhaps you’ve made the request of the person you want to perform, and they say “yes”, but are unaware of or uncomfortable with the move they should be making.

After you make your request, the negotiation stage is next in your coordination of action. For this stage to be truly effective, we have found that there are only 4 conversational moves in response to your requests, that tell you what future will show up.

  1. They can say “Yes”
  2. They can say “No”
  3. They can give you an alternative to your request, or a “counteroffer”
  4. They can get back to you to let you know if and by when they can fulfill your request

Sharing these conversational moves with your team is only a small part of your negotiation phase and a great place to begin. For negotiation to be effective, we need to turn our attention to what shows up, including the other conversations that are connected to our ability to coordinate and negotiate.

For example, does your team trust that they can say “No”?

Do they know how to assess what is needed and what is missing to negotiate effectively?

Is their promise trustworthy?

Knowing and using the 4 conversational moves is a skill you can build to lead your team more effectively. Negotiation skills and the other skills in the Conversation for Action, are foundational to generating results that matter.

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< Click here to read the previous post for the Conversation for Action.