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The GOBLINS 10 Commandments of Negotiation (Annotated)

Posted by Andrew on Sep 9, 2016 10:11:16 PM

1. Don’t talk and think at the same time.

• Prepare, Prepare, and Prepare some more. Put in as much time as you possibly can on research, analysis, and preparation. Involve as many stakeholders and internal resources as possible.
• Control time – don’t allow them to pressure you into “take it or leave it” decisions. Good negotiators will try to maneuver you into a position where you have to react right away and commit before you have all the facts. Don’t do it. Tell them that you won’t do business with people who use strong-arm tactics.

2. Know what you need to know - and do the research.

• Understanding markets, economies, regulations, and technology is your responsibility. Don’t rely on the guy across the table to provide objective, value-adding advice. In some cases, the counter-party is expected to provide expertise, local knowledge, and value-added information – but you are still responsible for vetting and judging his proposals.
• Should you try to gather data from the counter-party? Of course – the early stages of a negotiation are all about exchanging information.
That doesn’t relieve you of responsibility for doing the research and
analysis you need to critically assess his positions.

3. It’s just business.

• It’s not about emotion, passion, pride, or competition. You’ve done the analysis – you have the numbers and the limits set. Stick to them.
• Failure is ALWAYS an option. It doesn’t matter how much time, effort, or sanity into the negotiating process – if the numbers don’t work you have to get up and walk away.
• You need to bridge the strategic gap that separates you from your business goal. That’s why you’re in the room. If the counter-party across the table can’t do it, you have to move on.
• Hurt feelings don’t matter. His – or yours.

4. Know your limits – set SMART goals and understand your Best Alternative to No Agreement

• Be ready to open high. Work those stretch goals and build an opening offer that will satisfy everyone in your organization. Don’t be intimidated by HIS aggressive position. Even if he goes first, you should still deliver your aggressive opening offer.
• Know when – and how- to walk away. Once you hit your “Need It or No Deal” bottom line, your conversation is over. Stand, thank them, and walk to the door. Your best alternative awaits – for better or worse.

5. Crazy, cut-throat, and clueless always lose

• Aggressive positions are forever. Don’t open with such a competitive proposal that you disqualify yourself from further consideration. Some people say, “it never hurts to ask.” They’re wrong. It can hurt a lot – particularly if your first offer makes you look like an amateur.

6. Negotiating style is a decision – not destiny.

• You determine what kind of relationship you and your counter-party are going to have.
• The style decision is a direct result of your analysis of the power balance. It’s all about Best Alternatives.
• If you are strong and don’t need a relationship beyond this transaction you can be Competitive. If you are strong but he is a strategic asset – you’re Collaborative. If you need him but he doesn’t need you, your Accommodative. If he needs you but you don’t need him – Avoiding.
• Relationships cost money, time, and resources. Make sure you are getting value.

7. Plans always change – planners always capitalize on changes.

• Your carefully constructed plans may not last beyond the first engagement with a counter-party, but they are still vital.
• Planning means the difference between taking an alternate route and slamming into a dead-end.

8. A Negotiation begins with the counter-offer

• Just because he shouts out a number doesn’t mean you have to engage.
• The inverse is also true – you don’t lock him into a negotiation by making an offer.
• Make sure you don’t get drawn into an engagement without knowing it.

9. Successful negotiators identify sources of negotiating power– yours and his.

• Preparation – Planning, analysis, and internal negotiation should be a source of negotiating power. You should walk into every negotiation with a clear idea of where you are going – and the full weight and authority of your organizations’ resources behind you.
• Alternatives give you power. It’s that simple. The better your Plan B, the easier it is for you to walk away.
• Technique is how well you execute on plans you have prepared. How well are you choosing and deploying tactics? Are you managing your team properly? Are you reading the counter-party and maneuvering
properly? The GOBLINS system is a good instruction manual—but after this it’s up to you to apply the learning. Good luck.

10. The most important negotiation is often internal – within your own organization.

• Negotiate with the full authority and resources of a unified organization.
• If you are not setting your own goals, it is your responsibility to be 100% clear about what is expected of you.
• Negotiate internally for the resources and power you need to deliver success. Often that means the ability to walk away from a counter- party.
• If you are running the negotiation, you have to make sure that your team is aligned and aware of their roles and limitations. Don’t assume anything.

Topics: Negotiation, Strategy, Tactics, how to negotiate, how to succeed at negotiation

Written by Andrew

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