- Win-Win Negotiations Training
- Negotiating Contracts Seminar
- Essential Negotiations Skills
- Negotiation Techniques for Sales
Negotiation Skills Training Courses
With over twenty-five years of proven industry experience, the Negotiations Training Institute of America is the recognized leader in negotiations training, consulting and performance coaching. Through public open enrollment courses and private on-session training sessions, we have helped leading corporations, non-profit organizations and governmental agencies improve their ability to negotiate betteroutcomes for their constituencies. First-time negotiators as well as those with the greatest competitive drive and amount of first-hand experience and negotiations wisdom can benefit from our time-tested courses. Whether focusing on negotiating a contract with a vendor or jumping in to the often-stressful car buying process to deal with a dealership, our courses provide useful skills, proven techniques and various classroom role plays to help you become more aware of negotiations that you must face on a daily basis.
For more information on our negotiation skills training courses please contact us.
Negotiation Courses: Mesmerizing the Audience in Negotiations
Making the elephant reappear in the balcony after disappearing from the stage may be the magician’s most impressive trick. In another arena, a theatrical Svengali will start off hypnotizing one subject, then move on to three volunteers, and finally (if the show is being televised) end up by mesmerizing the entire studio audience. The biggest feats often appear to be the hardest, but they may be relatively easy, and simply require more mounting time and organization. Such is the case when dealing with extortionist government offices. In the previous articles in this series of article, we have dealt with the theoretical basis for using negotiation principles when dealing with extortionist government functionaries, the barriers to entering into this kind of negotiation, and the personal preparation needed prior to confronting government-side extortion. Now, we move on to actual contact, not yet with the individual extortionist, but rather with an entire extortionist “village” –the government office.
The Government Office as a Cultural Unit
I do not know who first recognized the link between difficult negotiations and cultural differences, but I turn to Herb Cohen who wrote that if the other party is strongly defending a totally incomprehensible position, then you may be facing a cultural barrier rather than just laziness, craziness, craftiness, stupidity or evil. Remember this as you wander from one bureaucratic counter to the next, and then the next, trying to rescue a shipment out of the customs house, or secure a visa-extension stamp on your passport. When the person behind the little window, surrounded by stacks of documents identical to yours, seems to have allocated a higher priority to nail care or the sports section than to your needs, please consider culture. To paraphrase the authors of INFLUENCER, the problem you are now facing was perfected by the world in its present state. So, setting aside the possibility of laziness, let us assume that these bureaucrats are not crazy, stupid or evil, and that slow-downs and denials of things to which you have a right, right now, are this culture’s least confrontational tactic for getting you to pay a bribe; and that the individuals in this culture have been able to morally justify their inaction, dehumanize the public, minimize the effect of their extortions, and/or displace onto others their own responsibility, all in order to maintain their own sense of self-esteem.
As a member of this culture, you may be encouraged to force outsiders to pay bribes before timely giving them what is rightfully theirs. For us, the key term in the last sentence is not “bribes”, but “outsiders”. We imagine that extortionist government functionaries are ”omnivorous”, that they do not distinguish between potential victims; but even the first year law students in our extortion deterrence workshops immediately recognize that extortionist functionaries do not extort their mothers. Then, we realize that, with few exceptions in this culture, extortionists do not demand bribes from their sisters, their friends, their co-workers, their next-door neighbors, their soccer teammates, certain classmates from grade school, their religion instructors, AND friends and relatives of any these people who call at the request of these people.
Joining without Joining
As you can see, this non-exportable group is rather large. More importantly, it is permeable and expandable. Thus, your goal is to stop being an “outsider”, and to enter into a “trust relationship” with this non-self-extorting socio-cultural group. This goal may be anathema to the modernization movement that is trying to lessen government corruption by eliminating personal contact between the government functionaries and the private citizen. They are right, of course –if you eliminate personal contact, you eliminate the bribery situation– but, at the moment when you are standing in front of a government functionary rather than a touch screen, you need to create a relationship other than that of “outsider”.
The fastest way to do this is to hire an agent who is already a member. What did I just say?! Yes, the “red flags” have just unfurled with a snap and the sirens have gone off, as they should; but, just as there are always honest workers within an extortionist culture, there are also honest intermediaries who have created non-bribery trust relationships and who can help you get what is rightfully yours from the government without submitting to extortion. They may not be easy to locate, and each one might only have a non-bribing “trust” relationship with just one or a few government offices, but look for them, hire them, and the ask for detailed receipts. Do the “due diligence” on them. Never instruct them to “do whatever it takes to get the job done.” Always let them know that in the end, they must walk away from any negotiation in which the only negotiable agreement contains a bribe. Do everything you should do to minimize the risk of a bribe payment as you continue to work with your trustworthy agent.
Whether or not you hire an agent (trusted from both sided) to deal with specific government offices, you and your firm or company must also do the following to create and maintain the trust relationship with the government office:
Never offer a bribe
Never submit to extortion
If you follow the two rules, above, entire government offices will soon identify you and your company as not worth the effort or the risk. More to the psychological point, they will consider you not worth the embarrassment that even hardened extortionists feel when they behold the presence of an active non-briber. Even more interesting, they will trust you more than their own co-workers.
Make sure your paperwork is correct
File your documents on time
Extortionist functionaries look for flaws in order to gain leverage in the negotiation over bribes. By doing things correctly and on time, you maintain your leverage in any negotiation.
The next five suggestions come straight from the books on Humanistic Psychology and Negotiation
Treat government functionaries respectfully, and if possible, cordially.
Friendly relationships with government functionaries are not unethical, as long as you respect their positions. Human friendship is not a bribe.
Be absolutely clear, but not abusive, when rejecting an extortion demand. Lunch is an Option
Taking someone to lunch when you are about to say No to them can be a good negotiation tool. When you will effectively be saying No to an entire office that is accustomed to receiving bribes, then “lunch”, either real or symbolically, is something to consider, seriously.
Here we are stepping into the tricky and riskier landscape of gifts and hospitality –and how to distinguish between corrupt bribes, “morally acceptable” bribes, and non-bribes. The obvious gift and hospitality bribes, are, well, obvious. Other gifts and hospitality that are not obvious bribes, may also be bribes, depending on host-country laws or home-country law enforcement interpretations. Over the last two years we have been polling law students, police officers, anti-corruption workers, lawyers and accountants on where they would place a series of acts, all the way from offers of treats to toddlers, to apples for teachers, to lunches for government functionaries, to money for guards to free an innocent person before execution. The results are interesting because of their lack of uniformity, and because they show that a corrupt bribe depends on many factors, including, among other things, the intentions of each of the parties, the relative positions and comparative powers of both parties, the extrinsic and intrinsic values and appropriateness of the gift or hospitality, the secrecy involved, the timing of the offer and of the giving, and the ends to be accomplished. In any case, our conclusion is that people disagree in almost every example, especially when they believe that the intentions of both the giver and receiver are pure. Furthermore, almost everyone seems to accept “morally acceptable bribes” as a useful category, but they differ on which transactions are corrupt bribes and which are morally acceptable ones.
Therefore, to help guide you through this gilded but dangerous landscape, in addition to considering the intangible intentions and valuations of the parties, make sure that:
The monetary value of the gift, favor or hospitality is spread out evenly or at least randomly, and that no particular functionaries receive special favors or direct special favors to others
The program is public
The costs, purpose, recipient, and date are recorded and made public
The intended end result is to help the general public as well as the gift-giver.
Warning: Do Not Negotiate Or Give Gifts, Favors Or Hospitality To Or Through Government Functionaries Unless You Have Cleared Them With Legal Counsel Experienced In The Anti-Bribery Compliance Laws Of Your Country And Of The Host Country
I do not know how things presently stand at the Mexican Immigration Office, but at one point a few years ago, that office went off the Bribe Standard, after the national anti-corruption chief worked together with the director of the Immigration Office and with a number of foreign companies who had constant visa needs and problems in Mexico. They negotiated a plan for those companies to pool their resources to update the office equipment and to buy very valuable year-end raffle prizes and across-the-board gifts for the employees, on the understanding that the employees would process all visas promptly and without bribes. According to the national anti-corruption chief, the immigration office employers agreed to the new arrangement, their productivity and their morale improved tremendously, and under-the-table bribes were no longer needed to speed the visa process for these companies and for the general public.
Poor office morale supports the Bribe Standard, and if you or you and your colleagues from other companies can agree to work together on this larger scale with government offices to improve the productivity and self-esteem of their workers, the results may be faster and better services for all the users of the government office. Also, special over-the-counter payments for urgent needs can be negotiated, to pay for the additional expediting work. For example, the U.S. Government provides a fast-track passport service for an additional fee. When you directly pay a government functionary to expedite your request – that is bribery. If you pay it into the government coffer, the U.S. Government does not consider it a bribe. It is unclear whether this type of added-cost expediting service slows down the rest of the passport services for everyone else who has not paid the extra fee.
Give the government functionary extortionist the information necessary to understand what makes you or your company different from the normal line of bribe-paying companies.
Be honest with them just as you would be honest with any other party to a negotiation
The Information Advantage
A less tricky option for expanding the pie for the extortionist government office is giving an entire office the information that it needs, and that you can provide at little or no cost to yourself. In government offices, honest, real and useful information can be more valuable than the standard bribe, especially in combination with the value of being a new trusted advisor and the new sense of self-esteem that you can give to them. Make real, honest and useful information your key to a non-bribe trust relationship with the government office.
We must distinguish between licit and illicit information. Just as in the private sector, access to important information is asynchronous (that is, not everyone receives the same information in the same form, or at the same time). The disclosure of private confidential information may be sanctionable. However, much “private sector” information is not confidential, and all public information is may be shared without sanction. The asymmetry for non-confidential information stems from the overload of information and the ability of some people, like you, to timely put the appropriate information in a form that can be understood by the people who need it. That is where you can help the government office workers. This is the real and honest information referred to by Jennifer Hunt, and it is the information that you provide to an otherwise extortionate government office in exchange for a bribe demand of $0.00.The scope of this information is nearly boundless, and can range anywhere from skin care to which local banks (not offshore accounts) provide the best services at the lowest price, to office-wide trainings on the technical aspects of their jobs, to trainings and personal advice on the dangers and drawbacks of maintaining an extortionist work style in an increasingly anti-bribery world.
In most countries, some government offices are more extortionate than others, and some office seem to be free of extortionate behavior. However, creating a trust relationship with any office, whether it is completely transparent or totally corrupt, is a good thing to do. As I wrote at the beginning, creating a trust relationship with an entire government office, may seem like big magic, but it can be a simpler and less time-consuming task than taking on the major players one-by-one. And, as in the case of mesmerizing the entire audience, your chances improve if your reputation precedes your entrance onto the stage. It requires a lot of patience, some internalized knowledge of the socializing parts of Negotiation Theory; but, more than anything else, it calls upon you to treat others as you would wish to be treated in their situation.
Source: Bruce Horowitz Link
For Negotiation Skills Seminar information please contact us.
Related: Negotiation Courses