Negotiating Tip #70:
Make Sure Your Colleagues Are Kept in the Loop
Keeping people in the loop is your best defense against unintended consequences and ruptured trust. It can also help prevent costly mistakes. Say you scored a 20 percent discount on a work station order simply by agreeing to change the color of the desk from cobalt blue to lime green.
When you belatedly get around to notifying the vice president of marketing, he tells you, “We tried that color before and it just sat on the shelf—it’s a loser.” Oops! You also need to impress on your colleagues the importance of them keeping you in the loop, that is, alerting you post-contactual problems as they develop. Sourcing managers make commitments to their internal clients based on commitments from suppliers.
If the supplier later nibbles on the agreement, the sourcing manager has effectively let down the end user. Likewise, the supplier’s account manager has been disappointed by their operational team’s poor performance. Worst of all, both sides may be unaware of any problems on the ground until they’ve mushroomed into a full-blown crisis.
To head these disasters off at the pass, tell your internal client up front, “Look, we’ve made a great deal, but some things probably won’t go the way they’re mapped out. If you see anything going south, I want you to bring it to my attention right away. And I’ll do the same for you.”