In her Tuesday New York Times article, “So How’s It Going? ,” Jennifer Walzer states that she needed “to come up with a better way to track what happens in the office when I’m not there – and even when I am.” She then recognizes that “if I want to provide my employees with clearly defined expectations and then hold them accountable, I have to have a way to measure their performance.”
We hear these same two concerns over and over again from negotiation managers. So how can you best address these issues in the negotiation management context?
First, create negotiation best practices for your team. Negotiation is one of the last significant areas in business that remains largely unmanaged. Frankly, the vast majority of negotiators just don’t consistently and systematically use proven, research-based strategies. Fortunately, research over the last 30 or so years has tested various negotiation strategies, and it’s now become fairly clear which techniques work and which don’t.
Second, require your team to implement those best practices. More specifically, require them to:
1. Complete a best practices-based strategic negotiation plan prior to their significant negotiations (and which should include setting specific, written goals and a number of other proven research-based strategic and tactical elements);
2. Update their plans during their negotiations and send you reports of their key moves;
3. Track and retain all of their strategic plans, including their results and lessons learned, and other crucial intelligence that’s been gathered; and
4. Incentivize their changed behavior.
Finally, make this relatively easy for your team to accomplish (if you don’t, it will be very hard to get your team to actually do it). You can start having plans developed with word processing and/or spreadsheet programs at a basic individual level. But at an enterprise level, you will need more, one solution of which is my ExpertNegotiator Planning & Management software.