How to Negotiate When You’ve Lost Control

When you negotiate and lose control of the direction you’d like the negotiation to go in, how do you recover? What steps should you take to regain control?

Recently, business associates of mine sought and won a contract valued at $2.5 million. They were ecstatic, but they quickly realized they had one major problem. They did not have the core competency needed to address the contract in-house. In addition, they had a little over 7 weeks to produce the results the client was seeking. So, they outsourced by turning to another company that supposedly had the skills that were needed to complete the client’s requirements. My business associates checked the one reference the other company gave to validate their past performance, which came back glowing, and they were ‘off to the races’.

My associates incurred the expense to have a team of consultants fly in from the other company to meet with their client and quickly found themselves in a quagmire. Although the associates had laid out the ground rules by which the consultants would engage their client, there was no written agreement in place outlining the rules of engagement. This oversight led to bigger problems. In the initial meeting with the client and my associates, the consultants talked about the scope of the project and the costs associated with completing the assignment. The fee the consultants proposed to complete the project was exceedingly higher than what the associates had originally quoted to the client.

In the meeting with all parties present, the consultants talked about how the expansion of the project would enhance the clients overall environment. My associates squirmed as they saw the situation getting more out of hand. The client’s interest was in sticking with the initial scope of the project and they stated such in no uncertain terms. After several meetings of what turned out to be very time consuming, in the form of negotiation sessions between all parties involved, the contract became jeopardized. My associates felt their client becoming alienated by the consultants and asked for my advice as to where they went awry and what their next step should be.

I offered the following suggestions…

    No matter how much of a rush you’re in, create a document (contract or MOU (memorandum of understanding) outlining the scope of work that’s expected to be delivered. Negotiate, so as to have all parties involved, understand the scope of the project (In the absence of such a formal document, my associates opened themselves to potential liabilities and misunderstandings). I told them the document would have also served as a negotiation tool, which in and of itself would have become their written position of how the proceeding would progress.
    Even though interactions had already commenced, I suggested my associates put the rules of engagement in writing, outlining the fee structure that had already been agreed upon.

Note: Up to that point, the consultants were addressing the client as though the client was theirs, not my associates. When everyone understands the mission of a project or goal, as the result of being able to read the same message, people are more apt to be on the ‘same page’.

There are times when the written word will carry more weight in a negotiation than the spoken word. During a negotiation, the spoken word(s), once agreed to by all parties involved, can be binding, but it becomes more difficult to prove intent if arbitration is required. To protect yourself, always have some form of a written document, signed by all interested parties, to substantiate your position … and everything will be right with the world.

The negotiation lessons are …

  • When you negotiate, state your position and seek the understanding and buy-in from those with whom you are negotiating.
  • If you encounter a critical point whereby you cannot reach consensus, use the ‘take away’ strategy. The ‘take away’ strategy might consist of you saying something like, ‘Well, I guess if we can’t come to an agreement on this point, the deal will not happen.’ After making such a statement, take very careful note of the body language of the other party. Even if you’re speaking on the phone, listen for the emotional change in the other person’s tone and speech patterns. By doing so, you will gain insight into how effective you are in influencing them.
  • Never place yourself into a position where the only way to achieve your goals and/or wants are through the person/people you are negotiating with. Nor should you let time restrict your options. Have an alternate source whereby you can acquire what you are after.

Five Tips For Choosing the Best Christening Presents

Invited to a christening? If you’re determined to give the most meaningful christening presents, there are some important things you need to know before you begin. Just follow these five tips for giving christening presents.

1. A important factor when you start to shop for christening presents is making sure that you put some thought into it. The reason why this is important is because many people just buy some sort of silver item and think it’s ok. If you don’t put some thought into it, then you run the risk of giving yet another silver rattle or comb, and they will not get much use because everyone gave it!

2. Another important consideration for finding unique christening presents is to think about your relationship to the family and child. It’s critical that you don’t just give a Holy Bible because this is a common gift, and only the godparents should do that. If you make sure that you don’t give a gift the child can’t use, then you’ll be fine.

3. You don’t have to spend lots of money in order to give good christening presents. Even what you spend at a restaurant would make a fine gift. All you need to do is shop around, and make sure that you give something useful.

4. Instead of complicating yourself by looking for a perfectly fitting piece of clothing or hat, try it this way: give something the child cannot outgrow! In fact, if you give something that will be more useful down the road – maybe like a pocketknife – then you will find that your gift keeps on giving!

5. Have you considered giving an investment? It’s not as difficult or expensive as you might think. Anything will help. What you need to do is talk to a financial advisor, and within an hour you can have one of the most useful christening presents for boys or girls setup.

So if you really want to give good christening presents, follow these tips to ensure success.

A Clearer and More Present Danger

There have been endless debates over the moral justification for the preemptive strike against Iraq. Suffice to say such action, to be even considered justified, must be in proportionate response to the documented authenticity, severity and immediacy of the threat in question. I will pass on that particular debate for now, but as to the justification for or morality of a preemptive strike per se, it would be foolhardy to reject such an option out of hand. Case in point: Iran.

Iran, a country whose president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, recently demanded that “Israel must be wiped off the map” and whose totalitarian regime punishes “un-Islamic” behavior among its own people. Iran, a country which has attempted to acquire nuclear-bomb technology. Iran, a country that flouted a previous agreement to stop enriching uranium. Iran, a country that is an avowed and documented enemy of the United States repeatedly calling for “Death to America.” Iran, where the Ayatollah Khomeini was the first to install a modern Islamic theocratic system, I.e., a totalitarian blend of mosque and state. Iran, the country that seized our embassy in Tehran in 1979 and murdered hostages. Iran, a major sponsor of terrorism; financing, sheltering and training terrorists from groups like Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad and al-Qaida. It is submitted that Iran presents a far greater danger to the United State’s security than did Iraq, for Iran poses a clear and present danger inasmuch as it may be building nuclear weapons sooner rather than later.

Iran’s asserts that its nuclear objectives are solely for achieving nuclear energy for civilian purposes. Those who believe that engage in whimsy. Iran is one of the largest oil producer in OPEC and has large gas reserves; in fact, it has more oil to generate electricity than it could possibly consume. Clearly, any need for nuclear energy is absurd.

More to the point, Britain, Germany, and France are currently engaged in diplomatic efforts with Iran. These efforts, supported by Washington, are seen as a win-win way to resolve the issues associated with Iran’s suspected program to develop nuclear weapons. Ironically, such talks were triggered in the first place by Iran’s flouting of a previous agreement to stop enriching uranium. By negotiating with Iran and its mullahs and granting them economic incentives, including the possible purchase of commercial aircraft and entry into the World Trade Organization, some believe Iran will forego its darker ambitions and the West can thereby avoid a military confrontation. Of course, while the incentive can help strengthen Iran’s economy, they also turn it into an even greater threat. What Iran really wants is a nuclear weapon…..the better to use as a blackmailing wedge at future negotiating tables (as is the case with North Korea) and far worse, the better to use against its enemies such as Israel. If it can accomplish this while having become economically stronger thanks to the Euro economic give away’s, all the better.

This entire deal smells of mortgaging the future by purchasing the sinecure of peace today; a “deal” that would allow Iran to gain critically valuable time in which to engage, if not complete, its nuclear-weapons research. This approach could very well result in Iran declaring at some future date (as did North Korea to everyone’s recent horror) that it has succeeded in building nuclear weapons.

Only the intellectually naive and high flying doves, who dangerously ignore the harsh lessons of history, can truly believe that such fear-based diplomatic appeasement will deflect Iran from its not-so-hidden agenda. As Margaret Thatcher once said, “I seem to smell the stench of appeasement in the air.” Far more telling is this quote by Jose Maria Aznar, former Spanish President, in June of this year, “Europe likes appeasement very much; this is one of the most important differences between us and the States…”

Some may recall that in 1981, Israeli war planes, in a widely criticized but extremely successful preemptive stealth attack ordered by then-Prime Minister Menachem Begin, destroyed an unfinished Iraqi nuclear reactor. The raid rendered Iraq’s nuclear capability null and void. Nevertheless, based on a subsequent and hotly debated perceived threat of weapons of mass destruction, the United States launched a preemptive invasion against that country–even though the threat of biological and nuclear weapons in Iraq was never truly established after the invasion. Surely a more real threat of weapons of mass destruction of the nuclear variety exists in Iran today and suggests strong consideration of a manifestly more justified strike against that country. The time is now to zero in on Iran within the context of what kind of threat it presents. Iran should be condemned forthwith and its nuclear ambitions effectively muzzled. If not, we can expect a far deadlier avowed enemy to confront.

Most assuredly, The United States should actively encourage and actively assist the efforts of the pro-freedom fighters and courageous students in Iran in order to launch a revolution from within that will overturn its terrorist-supporting regime. No one despises Islamic theocracy more than the young people and Iranian students who, for the past several years, have held mass protests in the streets. Despite strong and brutal opposition, this rebellion is growing and The United States should encourage it in whatever way it can. This is the ideal solution. But the United States also has an obligation to defend its people from Iran’s continuing and escalating threats–and to do this by whatever means necessary.

“No man can tame a tiger into a kitten by stroking it. There can be no appeasement with ruthlessness. There can be no reasoning with an incendiary bomb.” –Franklin D. Roosevelt