Halloween and Scary Arts of Negotiation, Collaboration and Innovation

halloween_pedroferreiraIt’s that time of year again. Last year on this date I wrote about Halloween and the scary art of negotiation and how All Hallow’s Eve has some interesting—and often scary correlations to the way we negotiate.

Unfortunately the points I made then still apply, although I like to think things are getting better, especially with the publication and strong sales of Getting to We: Negotiating Agreements for Highly Collaborative Relationships last year.

This time I’d like to expand the “scary art” theme to include two terms that also can be daunting and have some frightful implications, especially if they are not approached and handled properly: collaboration and innovation. They both are “tricks,” in effect, that can result in lucrative “treats” for businesses. But like negotiation strategies, they don’t have to be scary, mysterious or even all that “tricky.”

The Vested business model—through trust, WIIFWe and shared-value principles—is an artful approach to establishing an ecosystem for partners to navigate to real collaboration, with an insightful governance structure that creates and encourages innovation mindsets within the partnerships and the organizations involved.

As I said last year Halloween embodies traditional negotiation tactics: dressing up to present a false front as part of a plan to get your way. How often do negotiators hide behind their authentic self, and hide their real intentions while presenting false or “cooked” information that distorts the truth behind a mask? And isn’t Halloween all about “scare” tactics and threats to get to the prize?

The “trick or treat” transaction embodies a one-sided approach to contracting for an exchange of candy, or suffering the consequences! But the negotiation at the door is also a knowing collaboration, because all of the parties are in on the fun. For the most part the outcomes are jointly determined.

So yes, it’s time for kids to dress up and go trick or treating. But for us it’s also a great time to think—and maybe rethink—about how we deal with our partners.

Will we continue to dress up and mask ourselves with classical negotiation behaviors and gamesmanship based on self-interest?

Image: Halloween by Pedro Ferreira via Flickr CC

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