A good negotiator knows, when you embrace the right buy-in, you cure hidden disasters before they can occur.
For almost a year, they secretly planned the rollout. They touted it as a facelift that would change the name and position of the association. Doing so would give it a fresh look and appearance for the 21st century. But when the rollout occurred, the backlash was severe. All the money, time, expenses, and efforts that went into the new face of the association went down a drain of despair. The question that buzzed throughout the association was, how could this have happened? The response was when you embrace the right buy-in, you stop hidden disasters. And this disaster was easily avoidable.
First, as a negotiator, what do you think went wrong? What buy-in do you seek when thinking about the obstacles you might face in your negotiations? To the degree you obtain the right buy-in, you have a better chance for a successful outcome. To the degree you get the right buy-in at the right time, your chances of a successful outcome increases substantially.
Secrecy – In the opening situation, the president of that association assembled a team of prominent members – all were members of the association. Their expertise stretched across the spectrum of branding, marketing, and social media. None were members of the vanguard that had watched over the association for decades. And the omittance of that group’s input was a silent blinking red light that foretold the death of the project.
Negotiating in secret environments can be beneficial. It can prevent unwanted distractions from slowing the progress of the negotiation. It also serves to gather the buy-in of stakeholders that might torpedo the negotiation. Thus, secrecy can be a form of control – it can also be the deliverer of disaster if not used right.
Forgotten power players – The name of the association had stood for four decades. And some of the revered founding members were still active in the association. When the new name was revealed, that vanguard was the catalyst that caused the committee’s efforts, and the new name, to meet a swift death. Had the committee consulted this vanguard, the committee would have known its efforts were doomed. They could have avoided a hidden disaster.
Had the committee charged with creating a new name involved the vanguard of the association and brought them along during the planning stage, at minimum, the new name would have stood a greater chance of becoming implemented successfully. At worse, the committee would have known that the new name was in trouble. Losses could have been averted at an earlier point and resources could have been spared.
The challenge a negotiator faces when employing secrecy is making sure the right people are involved. If they’re not involved, hidden disasters may lie in wait.
Always take into consideration who might be involved in a negotiation even if they’re not physically or visually involved in it. Seek those individuals that might have a stake in the outcome of the negotiation no matter how small you think their stake might be. There’ll be times when you won’t know the power source behind some people’s means – that’s something else to consider. There’ll also be times when smaller stakeholders will combine forces, which will present a more powerful force for you to contend with.
Getting the right buy-in is a vital component of every negotiation – even when it’s just you and the other negotiator. Doing so when you have multiple participants is even more vital to the negotiation’s success. Therefore, when you assess the impact of the buy-in component during your negotiation planning stage, consider its impact thoroughly… and everything will be right with the world.
Remember, you’re always negotiating!