Saturday, May 27, 2006

Leonardo: The art of negotiation

As part of the Leonardo Summer Institute at SFU, today we had Dr. David Hannah (a seasoned negotiator) come to speak to us about the fine art of negotiation.

Before the day-long workshop, we were sent briefing notes on two scenarios in which we would role play and try to negotiate from our assigned perspectives. In the morning negotiation, I had to play a gas station owner who wanted to sell off my business to a large oil company for a certain price. There, we learned about things like "win win" situations as opposed to "win lose" situations. For the afternoon negotiation, I played a president of a Mexican language CD company who was meeting with an American partner with the intention of evaluating the trustworthiness of that partner. The ultimate decision was whether or not I wanted to continue doing business with that person, and it depended on whether or not he understood the cultural climate and relationship.
People really got into it, and it was really easy to see how emotions could get mixed up into high stakes negotiations, as well as what happens when people don't understand one another's motivations.
One of the key principles was in evaluating the interests of each party, and asking WHY someone wants something as opposed to WHAT they want. When a person asks WHY... there's a lot more opportunity to be creative with negotiating options.
Oh, and BATNA stands for "Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement" ... I have lots of handouts, and lots of notes. Thanks David! It was fun.
I think it's great that we're getting exposed to faculty from Business Administration through this program. It's all in Leonardo's mandate to get us to be well-rounded leaders of the future. Sometimes the principles are stuff I've learned by trial by fire (or haggling in Asia)... but it's helpful to hear from those who do this for a living and learn from their expertise.

After what was a trying time for some, we diffused the tension by taking the seabus to North Vancouver, having some cheesecake/sausage/coffee/whatever, and being goofy around Lonsdale Quay. What a fun group of people.
Look out for more photos from the Leonardo Summer Institute set on my Flickr site... will be updated with photos as they appear.


Post a Comment

<< Home