Negotiating Tip #60:
The Pitfalls Of Team Play
(Our next group of negotiating tips comes from our book Creative Conflict: A Practical Guide for Business Negotiators from Harvard Business Review Press).
Using a team approach to negotiating has advantages and costs; Mobus Creative Negotiating offers lessons for how to use this approach. The first tip in this series focused on the benefits. This one looks at the costs. The last tip will give some bullet points of how to manage team negotiating. Some of the problems you need to avoid when conducting team negotiations are:
* Lowest common denominator. If the team leader strains to keep everybody happy, the team cannot innovate or add value. Strive for a no-holds-barred search for the best idea, not a bland consensus.
* The all-knowing leader. When the team leader is imperious, thin-skinned, vindictive, or simply in too big a hurry, others will be reluctant to question the leader’s position.
* Disunity at the table. Rogue dissenters are especially bad news. There comes a point when the divergent thinking of creative conflict must yield to convergent behavior.
* Group think. The unconscious tendency to seek out information that supports our existing beliefs can lead to errors going uncorrected.
* Falling back on common assumptions or deferring to rigid systems, both of which stunt fresh ideas.
* Loose lips. The guilty parties tend to be smart, competent, loyal – and unschooled in the art of negotiating. Stress the need for discretion.