Control and the Negotiation Process: “If you are in control, you are not going fast enough...”

The connection between control and speed was immortalized by Mario Andretti: one of the most famous racing drivers of his generation, an Italian notorious for his commitment to and love of speed. Andretti was one of only three drivers to win races on road courses, paved ovals, and dirt tracks in one season, a feat that he accomplished four times. With his final IndyCar win in April 1993, Andretti became the first driver to win IndyCar races in four different decades and the first to win automobile races of any kind in five.

But Andretti was being disingenuous with this famous and much used quotation. Regardless of the speed he achieved, he was clearly always in complete control of the car, the course and indeed himself.

Negotiators need to take heed of this when they are in the thick of what at first appears to be the chaotic, seemingly unmanageable and intimidating conflict that sits at the heart of many crucial and business-critical negotiations.

At Scotwork, we believe that your ability to influence, direct and control your negotiations relies on two essentials:

  • your knowledge and understanding of the negotiating process
  • your negotiating skills

Scotwork’s 8 step negotiation process

We call the process the 8 Step Approach to Negotiating©.

During the 1970’s, a period of dramatic change and industrial unrest in the UK, an extensive piece of research was conducted by researchers at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow. The research focused on both sides of an industrial relations dispute between management on one side and the union on the other.

From that original research, Scotwork has identified 8 Steps that negotiators typically go through during the negotiation process. When you are in the thick of a dispute; when you seem to be stuck in a nebulous cloud of argument and counter-argument; when the only way out seems to be deadlock, dispute and disagreement; when all around you seem to be losing their collective heads, your knowledge of the process will often help you identify a route towards resolution.

Understanding the negotiation process to maintain control

An understanding of the negotiation process allows you to map your progress and decide what needs to be done

  • to move on
  • to slow things down
  • to stall the negotiation until a later date.

Your knowledge of the process of negotiation is one of the fundamental controlling mechanisms at your disposal during a negotiation.

Over the last 45 years this process has been validated in the real world and has become the bedrock of the Scotwork Advancing Negotiation Skills program. Scotwork train and develop the negotiating skills of hundreds of thousands of people a year across 120 countries.

No matter where we run the course, no matter the culture of the participants, no matter the scale of the conflicts in which they are involved and no matter the subject of the dispute, this process is common to all. It is generic. If negotiators understand the process, their fear of negotiations can be removed.

Developing negotiation skills

Of course, just knowing what is going on is not enough in itself! The appropriate skills within each of these steps need to be learned and practiced to have any chance of being used appropriately. Negotiations can be messy; after all, negotiators are people - perhaps amongst the messiest variables of them all! Selecting the most appropriate skill at the right time requires speed of thought and clarity of execution. This only comes through practice, the kind of practice that you get by attending the Scotwork Advancing Negotiation Skills training course.

The confidence to control what is happening and how to react, is crucial in the negotiation process – just as it is in racing. Thankfully though, at least on most occasions, the consequences of it all going horribly wrong are not quite so severe.