High Dependency negotiations are nothing more than a Collaborative Negotiation where the parties are mutually dependent upon each other. The consequences of deadlock are often substantial. Typical situations falling into this category are joint ventures, partnerships, union negotiations, strategic alliances, etc. (marriages if you count personal situations). The difficulty with High Dependency situations is that information is transparent, the other side sees the P&L and knows how much each item costs. Therefore discussions are often emotionally charged. Even though it is emotion that generally creates potential impasses during the discussions. It is paramount to manage the climate and take responsibility for how you say everything. The danger is that emotionally heated discussions may cause the negotiation to devolve into a Hard Bargaining situation causing strikes, lockouts, dissolution, or legal action. The words that you choose in delivering proposals and responding to proposals become more important than the meaning of the words. You must eliminate all words that have a negative implication like “no, don’t, can’t or won’t”. You must constantly think “under what circumstance could I accept that proposal” and even ask the other side that very question.
EXTERNAL CHARACTERISTICS: The balance of power is equal. The deals are based on a mutual dependency. All the characteristics of a Win Win negotiation are present with the added pressure that the parties cannot afford to deadlock. Any alternative or substitute would be financially constrained. Information is open to all parties. Typical negotiations include Joint Ventures, Partnerships, Strategic Alliances, Labor Negotiations, etc.
BEHAVIORAL ELEMENTS: High Dependency requires a high level of trust as relationship plays an important role in shaping the business. Satisfaction is received through understanding priorities, creating incremental value, and sharing value on primary issues. You will need to provide a large amount of information in order to identify and consider potential opportunities and issues. The word “No” in all of its forms is stricken from all discussions and replaced with “under what conditions”. Everything is approached with a “how” mentality.
STRATEGY: Maximizing value during High Dependency is through CREATE and SHARE. Value is generated through creativity as you link the issues for maximum advantage. Power is accrued through managing the personal relationship. Information is critical so you need to manage the climate in order to foster information sharing (you will need to provide lots of information). Trust is essential, while taking years to create can be destroyed in an instant. The following skills are used as described:
OPENING – Your opening is no longer extreme, you trade off your priorities for theirs. Given the complexity of the deal, you have less room to move on each issue.
MOVEMENT – Movement comes from your ability to link issues and repackage the terms. The majority of your moves will come from how you package and repackage your proposals. You will need to explore possibilities.
RESPONSES – Your responses are geared toward progressing the discussions. Nothing is rejected as this stage. Everything is considered. Attach the necessary conditions to make the proposal acceptable. Build off of their ideas. “That’s an interesting proposal, we will take that into consideration………….. Here’s what we can do”.
POSITIONING –Managing expectations means no surprises during the proposal phase. Often, creative solutions need time to consider the full implications. Allow both parties adequate time to work through their internal issues when exploring new ideas.
QUESTIONING – Your questions are directed at identifying priorities and issue flexibility. Your questions are designed to unlock information. “What if questions”, “under what circumstance would you consider this?”, help gain agreement and provide potential alternatives.
NVC ALIGNMENT – Begin looking for signs that the climate is deteriorating. You are still exhibiting measured reluctance but with optimism. There is added danger when an impasse is reached as often discussions deteriorate into Auction like behaviors.
LEVERAGE – As focus shifts to profit, leverage comes from your ability to progress the discussion by offering additional proposals incorporating their issues.
POWER – Use actual and perceived power to SHARE and CREATE your value. Power is generated through the ability to clearly perceive their issues and identify creative solutions. Power is also generated by your ability to manage the relationship and create the perception of “Fairness”.