пятница, 17 июня 2011 г.

Overview of the SKOLKOVO Open Lecture on Negotiations by Moty Cristal

Please make yourself comfortable and grab your notebooks, you will be now guided through the Lecture on Negotiations held at SKOLKOVO business school on May 28.

Moty Cristal started simply with saying, “For the following 4-5 hours we will be talking about negotiations,” but the lecture was planned for 2 hours as a max, so you could hear bewildered whispering over the rows… Moty explained then that it was not more than a trick – after such an estimation even a 2-hour lecture will race by. Yet it seemed that a good many of the audience would have sit through 5 hours and more listening to Moty, such an experienced and artful negotiator. He was eager to share his professional secrets with the full house of fascinated listeners.

The lecture was masterly built; Moty illustrated his points with not only some real-life examples but also with the new element of the open lectures – video pieces from various movies, commercials, news items, etc. Those were great for defusing atmosphere and made an effect of a coherent performance by several virtuosic actors.

That was a real show!

Negotiation is a process you should control

First of all, Moty Cristal has emphasised a point he himself considers to be a cornerstone of negotiation technique – you must prepare yourself to any negotiation: “If you failed to prepare – prepare to fail.”

Many years of negotiations in his experience do prove that maxim. He gave an example of the hardest negotiation he was a part of during the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. For 3 weeks they were preparing themselves to that negotiation – they were calculating all possible outcomes, examined all possible interests of the other party, studied the opponents – in other words, they prepared the material on which they could build the negotiation. As a result it took them not more than 4 hours of negotiation itself to achieve agreement satisfying both parties.

In order to control the negotiation you should understand the difference between positions and interests: “Positions are what I say I want, interests are why I want that.”

Moty says that the Why-question is the most important thing in the negotiation. By asking your opponent (and yourself as well) why they want that particular thing you would be able to move up from position to interests and reveal the deep motives of your opponent. It may happen that your interests do not confront – meaning that you can find some compromise and beneficial solutions.

Thus when you move from position to interests you may find some options, some space for manoeuvre and new opportunities for negotiating.

Moty Cristal gives a new term – Negotiation thinking – defining that as the capability to understand and design effective negotiation process in a complex enviroment.

And it’s not for nothing that he uses the word “capability”; the art of negotiation is not a secret and it can be mastered.

Efficient negotiation process is negotiation leading to consent; that assumption means that there is always a zone of possible agreements – a zone for making decisions. If there is no zone of possible agreement – there is no sense of negotiating, it will not bring any result. If, on contrary, you see any zone of possible agreement – start thinking of how you can approach it.

Moty shared an interesting thought based on his personal negotiation experience: If there is no woman in your negotiation team – you will definitely loose your negotiation strength (the thought was immediately caught up by our twitter followers and became the most retweeted twit from the lecture). Women, he says, can see wider and notice more details than men. Sometimes in order to move on some long-lasting and tough negotiation you just need to invite a woman to the negotiation table.

5 Levels of Negotiation Process
Now we will proceed to the negotiation process itself. In order to understand it better Moty suggests it is devided into several levels: personality, structure, process, timing, and implementation. Let’s look at each of them.

1. Personal level 
It includes three dimesions:
- Communication – ability to listen and to hear.
- Psychology which is very important in negotiation, especially with small details.
Here is a practical example: try to pronounce all the figures and numbers in the first place. Figures make an anchor at subconscious level and those anchors become the starting points. The more fovourable for is you first numbers pronounced the easier it will be to negotiate. It is the anchor effect that Moty used when saying about the lecture’s length in the beginning.
- Emotions can be used as an additional practical tool. Anger and discontent, for instance, should be shown not earlier than at the 2/3 of the process – to assign your efficient negotiation tactics. Emotions should never be used as a primary negotiation tool.

2. Structure level
Negotiation structure is the number of parties involved in the process. The easiest structure implies two opponents. Yet in some respect there are always several stakeholders. Should they be invited to the negotiation table? Will they be helpful for you? You should always decide upon the negotiation structure.

3. Process level
In complicated modern business processes you can’t do without a professional Process Manager whose task is to divide the operation processes by stages and control the execution. Negotiation Process Manager is now playing a special role.
- Phases, i.e. negotiaion stages.
- Strategies depending on the negotiation nature. For instance, there are simple “take and go” sales but in India and China it is obligatory to bargain with the seller.
- Tactical moves are the stage set and are very important for negotiation (as any negotiation is a show). For example, in order to smooth the tension it is better to sit over a round table, not a square or V-shaped one. If you are having a brain storm don’t invite the lawyers; if you are finishing the deal – take them with you.

4. Timing level
Time is money. It’s all about the price.
Here we decided to show you the video Moty Cristal used at his lecture:

5. Implement level
Nowadays the implementation of solutions agreed during the negotiations becomes the part of negotiation process as a whole. We all are in various long-term and constant relationships. And your reputatuion and history can be learned by everybody if they wish – even if you work on a large market, to say nothing of small local markets.

Mastering the Unexpected
So what does it mean to be prepared for negotiation? That means being able to master the unexpected. Real Art of negotiation lies in being prepared to any unexpectedness.

Moty Cristal proposes to take the following steps in order to master the unexpected:
1) Stakeholders’ mapping which is not just citation of the negotiation parties. That is an attempt to figure out the relationships, describe their dynamics and analyse who can be used in order to achieve your goals.

2) Underlining forces. Moty outlines that you can never know how your opponent will act, you can only guess. Yet you should by all means think of the other party’s approximate distibution of forces and opportunities and to pay attention to the negotiation models typical for them. For example, when making a decision someone may consult their wife, someone – their lover, and all these are models and patterns that work mostly always and you can use them for your sake. Some models may be more serious. For instance, the Palestinians were often to use power and commit terrorist attacks – and this is also a pattern, a scenario which you should be ready for in advance. 

3) Critical points, these are the moments in negotiation that:
- surprise,
- reveal emotions,
- substance on process oriented.
Such moments open new opportunities for negotiation but at the same time can cause loose of control. There are three types of such moments: green (pay attention), yellow (slow down, move from free discussion to your plan), and red (better to stop negotiation).

The second half of the lecture was devoted to questions from the audience. Below are the most interesting ones.

- What shall we do if there is no time to prepare for negotiation?
- You should always prepare yourself for negotiation, even if there is not enough time. If, for instance, you are called to the boss immediately and have no time to prepare (a voice from the audience: “Yes!” – author’s note) then I advice:
a) Change your boss.
b) Enlighten them.
c) Make them enroll to a Negotiation Course.
I am not used to such an approach. Even if something radical had happened – like with political negotiations – it is always better to take a break and prepare yourself. Once we had only 30 seconds to prepare – while we were running up the stairs to the synagogue’s rooftop for negotiating. In these 30 seconds we managed to prepare ourselves and think of what we can propose to the opponents – that’s because we have a skill of preparing to such negotiations.

Well, getting back to the boss-example. Prepare while you walk down the corridor to their office. When you get there, ask the secretary who is inside, what they are doing, and what mood was there. Say then that you need to go to toilet, and take this time to prepare. Upon entering the office say “Thank you for inviting me, I hope I can contribute, what is under discussion?” – and learn all the details.

- What shall I do if my opponent is bigger than me and has more power?
- Oh, I knew I would have to address power issue – I am in Russia after all… In case your opponent is stronger than you, you may use the reframing technique – changing the negotiation’s atmosphere. You acknowledge their strengths but show them in a different way – for instance, where it can bring you both. Suppose, you want a salary rise and can't obtain it from your boss. You may then address them like that: “I know that you are my boss and only you can decide that. You have told me that I am a valuable employee and you would like me to work for you in the future. Then why don’t you give me some salary rise?”

I can give you an example of my friend who is leading one of the pharmaceutical companies. She had to face power when negotiating on state procurement of their meds. And this is how she built up her speech. She said openly: “Yes, I admitt that you have the power. You can stop byuing our products or make us give you a serious discount. Yes, we can give you 5% but you are asking for 7%. In that case it would be better for us not to sell them at all.” Then she reframes and says: “So you won’t byu from us? You have stores for three months only – and what’s then? Will people byu substitues instead of our meds?” In other words, she says – if you sre going to keep using your power, you will suffer from it. By the way, that negotiation was successful.

And here is another strategy for those who have less power – control the whole negotiaion process. You are the one to initiate the negotiation, carry it out on your agenda and decide whom to invite to the negotiation table for your support – and compensate your weakness by that.
You must remember that to win the negotiation is one thing and to defeat is another – because in that case the others will want to defeat you. You should always keep your opponent on their feet!

- You said that the Why-question is principal during negotiations. Yet it can’t bring the solution, it can’t put a period to negotiation. For example, you should have definitely heard about Jim Camp’s negotiation strategy – in his book he tells always to start from the word “No”…
- I don’t believe in manuals. Negotiation tactics that I use for one man won’t suite a woman or another man. For some people this strategy will work and for others – it won’t. You may become “blinkered” if base yourself upon books only. That’s why you should practice as much as you can!

P.S. А video overview of the lecture with Moty Cristal’s most vivid points is available at our Youtube Channel. Photos from the lecture are already available at our Flickr page.

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