Collaboration and Negotiation
Episode #4 of the course Ten key skills for career advancement by Patricia Haddock
Welcome to today’s lesson. Our lesson today focuses on collaboration and negotiation, which heavily rely on Emotional Intelligence and communication skills, especially listening. Being collaborative means that you effectively work with others and are willing to listen and accept others’ points of view even if they differ from your own. Negotiation uses collaboration and communication to reach consensus and make group decisions. Let’s look at some factors that improve skills in these critically important areas.
Be Collaborative and Collegial
As a species, we evolved as social beings, and the need to be part of a tribe exists today.
The people you work with are more than cogs in a machine. They are living, breathing human beings with needs and goals like you. When it comes to your business or career, they are your current tribe.
“Although collegiality is often linked to being cooperative, pleasant, and ready to lend a helping hand, a more precise definition of collegiality would include shared power and authority among colleagues, and cooperative interaction among colleagues.”
• Make a conscious effort to get to know people as individuals.
• Take a few minutes when you speak with them to exchange pleasantries.
• Understand that they also work under pressure and stress just as you do, so make allowances, whenever possible.
• Honor the quid pro quo. When someone goes out of their way to help you, return the gesture when they need help.
• Focus on mutual goals that benefit both of you.
According to Benjamin Jones, Ph.D., Kellogg School of Management, people are becoming more and more specialized, and one person is no longer able to function independently of others. “By identifying the highest-impact, game-changing papers—as measured by how often they were cited by fellow scientists—Jones and Uzzi found that collaboration provides a significant boost.”
You must rely on them to fill in ever-widening knowledge gaps. Professor Jones and his colleague Professor Brain Uzzi researched 30 years of academic papers. The papers showed a marked improvement in quantity and quality as a collaboration among researchers increased. By having access to others who have specialized knowledge, you can leverage your time and reduce the effort you need to spend. Effective collaboration and reciprocity can open the door to unstoppable success.
Consensus Decision-making and Negotiation
Consensus decision-making offers a way to include everyone in finding a solution or answer that serves the entire group. It helps negotiations go smoothly and creates a sense of ownership in both the process and the result. According to Dr. Tim Hartnett, writing in Consensus Decision Making, the goals of consensus are:
• Better decisions: Through including the input of all stakeholders, the resulting proposals can best address all potential concerns.
• Better implementation: A process that includes and respects all parties, and generates as much agreement as possible sets the stage for greater cooperation in implementing the resulting decisions.
• Better group relationships: A cooperative, collaborative group atmosphere fosters greater group cohesion and interpersonal connection.
Despite its benefits, negotiation through consensus building is not easy. It takes time, effort, and commitment to make the process work. The first step is reinforcing collaboration by getting everyone to agree to the process and have everyone share their ideas and opinions. Allow for discussion and feedback, vet alternatives and address concerns, and periodically test for consensus.
Sometimes, if people are entrenched in their ideas or point of view, reaching a satisfactory conclusion is difficult. When this happens, settle on the smallest area of agreement, knowing that additional efforts may be required to achieve the final decision everyone can agree to. The objective is to reach a final decision that everyone can live with.
Action Steps to Improve and Showcase Collaboration and Negotiation
• Avoid insisting that your way is the only right way.
• Be willing to change your opinions and carefully consider the ideas and suggestions from others.
• Make suggestions rather than make pronouncements.
• Set aside your personal biases and remain objective.
• Accept outcomes graciously, especially when the result is other than what you desire.
Collaboration and negotiation will come in handy in all parts of your life from buying a car or house to negotiating a curfew for your children. Tomorrow we will take these skills to another level by improving your ability to influence and persuade others to your point of view.
The Harvard Principles of Negotiation
The Basics of Consensus Decision Making by Tim Hartnett
Negotiating for Success: Essential Strategies and Skills by George J. Siedel
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