Envisage negotiation services are specialised around international commercial and financial negotiations. Focusing on advice relating to corporate transactions, M&A, joint ventures, international trade and other cross border commercial issues and the negotiations arising from them.
Our philosophy is that the point of a negotiation is to get what you want. It is not about some fuzzy “win-win” ideal. It is not about compromise. It is not about “BATNA”. It is about getting the best possible outcome in terms of the goals you have set yourself and the framework you are working in. Your goal is not to give the other guy what he wants, your goal is to get what you want or more.
Negotiation is central to every human endeavour, every human activity, in everything we do, every exchange, there is a negotiation. It is one of the most basic human activities. Negotiation is about getting what you want. Most of us do not do it well. We help you get more.
In negotiation goals are paramount. You define what you want at the end of the negotiation that you did not have at the beginning. Start with a blank slate. Work out who cares about what. Once started, anything and everything you do during the negotiation should explicitly bring you closer to your goals. Since every situation is different, incremental is best. Small steps, move proceedings incrementally toward the goal, in small steps.
The real issues and problems are rarely apparent on the surface. This makes information gathering so important. We help identify the real issues, deal with them and turn them into opportunity. The difference between success and failure is… a couple of millimeters. It can be as small as a turn of a phrase, a look a small gesture. The tools that work are very small, subtle and very effective.
Particular areas in which we add real value are for example:
- Dealing with difficult personalities and deadlocks
- Risk assessment
- Effective communication – techniques
- Getting leverage by gathering critical information
- Achieving long term lasting commitments
- Managing multiple stakeholders
Process and Dynamics
Negotiation by its nature is fluid, dynamic and can develop in any number of ways. Putting together or following a standard process is pretty much impossible. The figure below is as good as anything and does serve to outline some of the basic steps. There are some things that virtually every negotiation has in common.
In gathering information we work to identify value, understand the interests of all involved parties and understand the basic facts.
- Who are your counterparties?
- Who are the decision makers?
- What do they want?
- What do they value?
In managing perceptions we look to see how things are viewed. Put yourself in the counterparties position:
- How do they see the deal?
- Is the counterparty seeing everything they should?
- How can a counterparties perception be moved, shifted or widened?
- From there we move into framing to create a vision of the result.
In shaping the deal we look at:
- Establishment of goals
- Who needs what out of the deal?
- What options do people have?
- What are the main problems?
- Set up for trading of items
- Determine value of items to be traded
- Consensus building
- Working in small, incremental steps
In agreeing in broad terms, we are:
Defining best options/priorities
- Making commitments, providing incentives
- Establishing standards
In closing we actually sign the deal. It’s not the end though, when a deal is signed, a rough outline of implementation and next steps needs to be done:
- Process, agendas, deadlines, time management for implementation
- Commitments and incentives
- Next steps
Emotion based decision making
Because of its sheer importance, at every stage, at every point, we must take into account that emotions are integral to decision-making. Research in recent years has shown definitively that our emotions are intertwined into all decisions. We make decisions based on what we care about. This makes it inevitable that decision-making is an emotional process. People and emotions, the process can be more than 90% of a negotiation. Substance, facts, expertise can be less than 10%. We work to manage the emotional responses during negotiation. On our side of the table.
Everything is situational
Everything is situation dependent. Each deal unique with its own dynamics. At every point in the process, consider:
- What are my goals?
- What are their goals?
- Who are “they”?
- What will it take to move the deal forward?
These things can and will change as we move through the process.
There is a lot of talk about BATNA – “Best Alternative To No Agreement”. It comes up every time a discussion turns to negotiation.
We do not like BATNA.
Because there are too many problems with it. For example:
- Too many variables
- Destructive power plays
- Fear of negotiation
- and worst of all: Fear of failure.
For a more extensive treatment of why we consider BATNA a self-defeating way to go about negotiation and how important we consider it to be aware of the problems, click here
Our compensation model is usually on a success fee basis. It is based on an agreed percentage of transaction size or deal/revenue volume resulting from a successful negotiation.
We do not usually work on an hourly fee basis. Because we believe that charging fees based on an hourly rate creates perverse incentives to bill without actually delivering value. The effect being to extend and protract negotiations without reaching a deal. Envisage is about delivering solutions that create value. Based on our confidence in our ability to do so, we prefer to work on a success fee basis. The rationale being that you are paying for expertise, not time. This gives us skin in the game and a vested interest in the outcome, aligning our interests, with yours.