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James Sebenius’ 2001 Harvard Business Review article highlights six common mistakes that ‘merely effective’ negotiators

unnecessarily make that result in sub-optimal value, impaired relationships and conflicted relationships that foresight and pragmatism could have prevented, he identifies these as: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Neglecting the Other Side's Problem Letting Price Bulldoze Other Interests Letting Positions Drive Out Interest Searching Too Hard for Common Ground Neglecting BATNA’s "best alternative to a negotiated agreement" Failing to Correct for Skewed Vision.

He believes that we spend too much time trying to understand how the other side might be modelling their approach and outcome but the goal should be to build a "golden bridge" to get over difficulty, while avoiding too much focus on your own problem, but instead solving the other sides problem as the means to solving your own. Less experienced negotiators are cited for undervaluing the importance of developing working relationships and putting relationships at risk by harsh tactics or simple neglect resulting in uneven outcomes with the offended parties trying to teach the "greedy" person a lesson. It is important to keep influencers and their interests on your radar screen as they may impact the negotiation and avoid treating negotiations only in pure price terms lest that’s what they become. He suggests that wise negotiators put the vital issue of price in perspective and don't restrict their view of the important interests at stake, working with the subjective as well as the objective, with the process as well as the relationship and the "social contract" or spirit of a deal. He warns to avoid the dangers of self-serving bias and partisan perceptions that can become self-fulfilling prophecies. The very best negotiators take a broader approach to identifying and ‘solving the right problem with a keen sense of the potential value to be created as their guiding beacon’. The applicability in my (raw material) supply chain organisation is to keep the buyer-supplier relationship rooted in trust ensuring that price doesn’t ‘bulldoze’ other considerations. For example taking a ‘total cost of ownership’ perspective provides cost leeway for our suppliers providing them with a fair margin while we benefit from components, that are quality assured and line ready, presented in appropriate useage quantities at the exact time demanded by production lines. The reciprocity of equitable inclusion extends to capacity balancing with suppliers providing a trade-off where our component inventories are held offsite eliminating costly warehouse space. As a side benefit, buyers find the absence of manic, egotistical and adversarial negotiating to be refreshing.