Whether in business negotiation or in some other form of negotiation, how can you improve collaboration? This can be difficult in business and especially in a negotiation with a difficult party. You have to work hard to keep your team focused and keep their eye on the ball. It is important not to be distracted by personalities, negative commentary and other distractions. So what should you do?
1. Be prepared
We all know the scout motto to be prepared. But this is especially true when promoting collaboration either in business or in a negotiation.
Take the time to be organized. Develop a list of tasks with your team. Determine who will be responsible for what
Take the time to be organized. Develop a list of tasks with your team. Determine who will be responsible for which tasks individually or with other team members with a lead for each task. Consider asking for volunteers for the various tasks, but prepared to suggest and if needed assign various tasks to team members. Consider the various strengths of team members and try to build on these strengths. There may be some activities that no one want to address. Be conscious of this and reinforce that sometimes taking on these types of tasks demonstrates above and beyond commitment. Later you can follow up the activity with recognition for those who stepped up and took on activities outside of their comfort zone.
Later you can follow up the activity with recognition for those who stepped up and took on activities outside of their comfort zone.
2. Be innovative
Encourage innovation on your team. Ask members of your team to think creatively and to continually look for opportunities. Ask each team member of the team to present an original idea for your team or the other party.
Ask each team member of the team to present an original idea for your team or the other party.
By encouraging out of the box thinking it may be possible to propose something that you or other team members had not considered previously.
3. Build a team environment
For new team members consider an ice breaker to help the new party feel more like part of the team. For example, each person on the team could state something they are proud of at work or outside of work. Taking such an approach helps set the stage for a positive experience for team members. Consider letting everyone on the team tell their story.
Consider having everyone on the team to tell their story.
This promotes a more transparent environment too. Explore if this may be acceptable to the other party at the start of a negotiation too. This can create a more positive environment in that setting as well. This may help with understanding and empathy. This can be very powerful.
4. Insure accountability
Know who is responsible for what and by when. Having a system to ensure accountability with various milestones goes a long way towards ensuring continual effective time management. There are several collaborative software packages out there such as Asana or Basecamp that can be very effective.
This will help your team be prepared. By having everyone on the same page within the business or in a complex negotiation, this can significantly enhance your probability of success. I have learned this the hard way with high level negotiations where this was not done by leadership. I should have asked questions about this ahead of time.
5. Explore interests
Your team should discuss all of your interests. Those are bottom line business metrics, social and interpersonal concerns, and potentially environmental concerns. In a negotiation consider what you perceive to be the other party’s concerns but keep an open mind and ask open ended questions for underlying concerns throughout the process.
In a negotiation consider what you perceive to be the other party’s concerns but keep an open mind and ask open ended questions for underlying concerns throughout the process.
The key to actively listening is to paraphrase, summarize and reframe in neutral terms what you heard from the other party to ensure you are truly listening, and then to ask open ended questions to allow for further clarifications to truly understand interests.
6. Encourage Communication
Communication is key. Be as transparent as possible within your team. Share openly within your team. Encourage others to develop better relationships with everyone on your team. Good relationships on your team go a long way towards positive collaboration. Look for ways to enhance relationships with the other party.
Good relationships on your team go a long way towards positive collaboration. Look for ways to enhance relationships with the other party.
Learn all you can about the other party’s members by finding out who the other members are ahead of time, researching them on social media and exploring possible inroad areas to enhance a relationship with team members over the course of the negotiation.