How do you see the interplay between companies investing large sums on influencing the public (in the media and in social media) on a mass scale and the same companies developing their individual negotiation plans for individual contracts? One example of this is the significant private industry participation in COP26. Are these companies the most sophisticated negotiators, adept at playing the long game, or are they just good at advertising?
THE ANSWER by Robert Jenkins, ENS Negotiation Strategist:
In order to manage the interplay from a sometimes declared grand purpose/vision into more mundane and consistent ‘bread and butter’ individual actions (e.g. contracts) requires attention to three process steps.
Firstly a recognition that the negotiation and influencing Process is not over when an agreement is formalised and the celebrations ( e.g. COP 26) occur. For success is more than the title of that famous book ’Getting to Yes’, we need to go beyond ‘Yes’.
Secondly going beyond Yes into implementation and Post Negotiation is often the point of the deal and this usually requires multiple influencing interactions with key organisational stakeholders. These stakeholders have of course their own competing priorities and needs all of which are likely to play a role in the translation of the corporate purpose into action. These stakeholders need to be enrolled and committed to the outcome otherwise the plan may wallow during this critical implementation time.
Thirdly in order to ensure the successful interplay between good intentions and the reality of daily organisational practice there needs to be a cadre of senior management encouraging a disciplined and planned roll out of the strategy. These key negotiators are responsible to build a bridge between the high level purpose and tangible actions. Practical matters of who will do what by when and what finance is required is an ongoing negotiation process requiring effort and attention. Success on this front requires a culture that values negotiation and builds capability into the skills set of the many and not just relying on the hopes of the sophisticated few.
If these steps are not in place then the companies involved with such challenges as COP26 may well risk damage to their reputation as they attempt to play the long game.