Negotiating Your Way Out of a Pandemic

Seeking Mutually Beneficial Agreements is the secret formula to success as we begin to talk business again with supply chain partners says Desiree Perez, Leadership Coach

With the adjusted business landscape post Covid-19, we may find ourselves arriving quicker at the negotiating table than initially thought – forcing executives to re-assess their services, contracts and examine the way business was previously conducted.

Ground handlers, however, might find themselves in a very different situation.  Instead of competing by a marginal monetary difference per aircraft turn, now they are the necessary link between airlines and airports, playing a significant role in passenger traffic returning.

Negotiating requires that we be mindful about our own biases – either giving away too much or, on the flipside, or being too inflexible at the negotiating table. Executives will be required to find a balanced and healthy ground to negotiate a new contract with possibly amended service offerings.

As a conscious business coach, with certifications in Conscious Business Coaching, taught by Dr. Fred Kaufman, Google’s Vice President and leadership development advisor – I would like to share the following insights on how to successfully negotiate new agreements:

Dr. Kaufman relates his key concept of Mutually Beneficial Agreements (MBAs) to an economic theory that says the only way for me to profit is for you to profit as well. MBAs help people achieve their goals while remaining true to their values and acting in respectful and conscious ways.

How do you create MBAs in a conversation?

  • Define a mutually beneficial purpose: Why should we care? Why is this important? Similar to your own purpose in life, this is the guiding principle in a conversation. Determining how both parties benefit from the potential agreement and what is their individual purpose. Defining the common purpose is where you want to anchor your negotiations. Some questions to ask, include: What do we value the most in this agreement? What makes this important for both of us to get right?
  • Express points of view: As you enter these conversations, it is important to enter them with clarity around what you are able to provide, at which cost, and what are you willing and not willing to provide. Having well-defined specifications in these areas allows you to state your position in a clear manner for the other party to understand and respect your parameters.
  • Understand your point of view: Understanding our own point of view is important, but understanding the perspective of the other party is equally as important. Allow for the other party to state their needs, their expectations and requirements. If you do not feel you are getting all the information that is needed, it is key you ask questions to gather all necessary information.
  • Negotiate a mutually beneficial strategy: It is of the utmost importance you enter negotiations with a clear understanding of your own parameters, but not necessarily with a defined outcome. If you allow yourself to be open to explore a mutual beneficial strategy, you can create joint win-wins and allow creativity to work as a benefit for the both parties.
  • Obtain commitments to execute. When reaching the conclusion of the negotiation, it is imperative for both parties to commit. You might say, both parties will move forward by agreeing and committing to the finalised terms as stated during the negotiation’s discussion. Consciously agreeing to future next steps will guarantee execution as discussed.

Often, we enter negotiations with a winning/losing mindset, but it is important that we enter them from a win-win perspective that creates a positive outcome for both parties.

As always, I am happy to support in any way I can. Please do not hesitate to reach out at [email protected]

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