The Viking Investments simulation presented a reality of many negotiations about money owed: It is beneficial for both sides to come to an agreement and avoid any legal situations. In this case, Pat(Harsha) and Sandy (me) had a contractual agreement for materials and services rendered, however through miscommunication an upgrade was performed on the materials without Pats personal approval. In order for this negotiation to be successful, Pat and I had to get past the petty arguments of who screwed up and who is legally responsible for the events leading up to this negotiation. If we continued debating the merits of one anothers positions, we would have ended up in court, I would have declared bankrupt and Pat would have ended up receiving a much lower percentage of the owed amount.
Fortunately, both sides realized this and the negotiation went smoothly. I knew we would work something out when we both decided to work together. Both Pat and I focused on the numbers of the agreement, and how we could work/pay off Sandys debt, while still allowing WoodCrafters to flourish, and Viking Investment to continue its future expansion goals. We did find an arrangement that would allow for these goals to become feasible. Initially, Pat kept pushing for me to sell my mansion and use the proceeds to help with my financial situation but I pushed against it because I considered it my absolute worst case scenario. We agreed to accept payment that would turn WoodCrafters no profit for work rendered, and allow for future work to be done as a means of paying off the $200,000 outstanding debt. Furthermore, we agreed that Pat would write-off the rent owed for 10,000 and only pay a total of 810,000 (490,000 cash and 2 condos with market value of 160,000 each).
The negotiation strategy I used in dealing with Pat was to emphasize the negative impact not coming to an agreement would have on our companies. I continually explained to him that not coming to an agreement would find my company claiming bankruptcy and therefore limiting the returns paid to Viking. This approach seemed to work as Pat realized that was true and was very wanting of an agreement that would not leave WoodCrafters in bankruptcy. I also emphasized the importance of putting whatever arguments we had in the past aside for the purposes of coming to an arrangement. I was very pleased with the negotiation as we created a deal that appeared to work for both sides and allow both companies to continue their reputation and enable future growth.
This was a dispute- based negotiation as our BATNAs were linked. It helped to establish a position of strength form the get go. I first learned this from watching episodes of 30 Rock where Jack Donaghy was involved in various negotiations. Jack was a very strong character and always believed in coming from a place of strength even though it sometimes meant digging up a little dirt on the opponent. I knew I wasnt going that far in this negotiation but it still helped to have the idea at the back of my mind.
Even though I knew I had very little leverage over Pat, I tried to emphasize the advantages I had. For example, I kept talking about the fact that he gave his secretary the right to handle thing while he was away and that if we went to court it would hold-up as a sworn testimony. I also kept reminding him that if we didnt reach an agreement he stood the risk of bankruptcy and that was something we were both trying to avoid. I think that helped. So I would say that establishing and emphasizing your strengths, no matter how little, really helps in negotiations.
I found that it also helped to use mixed communications with my partner. Although I tried to establish a position of strength, I also made it clear that I was very willing to come to a favorable agreement for both parties so I basically reciprocated contentious communication with a cooperative communication and this helped a lot.
I would love to negotiate with Harsha again. He was intelligent, willing to come up with a good solution, and honest about his needs. This negotiation showed the importance of seeing the bigger picture. You need to realize what arguing and not reaching an agreement will mean to you, your company, and your future. Although time was a restriction, I think our agreement process was done properly. If I had this situation again, I would negotiate more and run the figures more to come up with more ideas about how to reach a happy accordance. I think I got a pretty good deal at the end. Negotiating with Pat was a pleasure and Id definitely do it again. While he was very intent on getting some of his interests accomplished, which occasionally led to breakdowns of communication, he understood that the only way to avoid going to court would be to use a collaborative strategy. He was as concerned with my interests as he was with his own which I appreciated greatly.
I learned that even when people make big mistakes in the business world nobody wins when two parties have to go to court except for lawyers. While Pat thought that what I did was completely ridiculous, he made sure that we came to an amicable agreement. I will also take away that the only way to really satisfy the interests of both parties is to be collaborative.
I also learned a lot about entitlement in this negotiation. I learned that often times in a negotiation, entitlement or feelings of entitlement mean absolutely nothing. Although Pat felt that he was entitled to more than he received, if he focused on that entitlement I would have received nothing. Even if he also felt that paying the 250,000 extra for the oak wasnt his problem and that I owed him 210,000, he also knew that he had something to lose if we didnt come to an agreement and so he quickly forgot about those facts and focused more on problem solving and us helping each other out.
Next time I will disclose all relevant information sooner. In this negotiation I didnt tell Pat that selling my house was an option upfront because I felt as though selling my house was a last resort. However, the only way to come to a negotiated agreement in this case was to sell my house. Therefore the negotiation could have been accomplished in a more timely fashion had I disclosed all of this information up front.
Overall I think this negotiation was a good representation of real world issues. I definitely dont want to be in this kind situation in the future, but it was really good practice and it definitely sharpened my negotiation skills further. I think this was a good representation of what kind of things people go through in life and the people that you will possibly be working with. Overall my big take away from this exercise is Do not breach a contract.