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Phase Approach Negotiations

PM ADVISORY 

By David Tain 

Alberta, Canada
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In our lifetime, we are in constant negotiation: we negotiate with our parents a reward for our good behavior, an extension in our curfew, we negotiate with our teachers the way an exam was corrected to obtain more points for the procedure, with our employers our salaries, with the banks our mortgages and so on. In the business environment, these transactions become more complex and are influenced by internal and external factors. Internal factors such as culture, education, religion, sex and race define the individual and establish its preconceptions. On the other hand, aspects such as environment, governments and corporations are considered external factors that shape the scenario where these interactions take place.

However, in spite of all these factors, all of these transactions have a dynamic in common: they evolve through a sequential approach framed into three phases: The Preparation Phase, where the feasibility and the need of the negotiation process is validated, the Analysis phase where the information of the parties, the scenarios and the conditions under which the negotiation will be developed are gathered and analyzed; and the Execution Phase, where the actual negotiation process will take place trough the physical interaction of the parties and the deployment of the negotiation strategies. A detailed explanation of each phase

1- Preparation Phase: The Merriam Webster dictionary defines “to negotiate” as to arrange for or bring about through conference, discussion, and compromise”. In other words, in order to have a negotiation, the engagement of two or more parties should be ensured reach an end objective. This engagement is what confirms the existence of the negotiation itself. On the other hand, and as Roger Fisher mentions in his book “getting to Yes”, the reason to negotiate is to produce something better than the results obtained without negotiating.

With this in mind, the first step of a negotiator is to analyze the potential transaction envisioning its validation. The understanding of the position and strength of the parties is the most crucial element in this validation process: If the position or the negotiation strength of one of the parties is considerably strong, the negotiation may not be the most optimal path towards the achievement of a desired result as, more than likely, the stronger party often dictates a position that a counterpart cannot modify. For example, it will be very difficult to negotiate the price of a Big Mac in a McDonald’s restaurant or the amount of tax I should be paying to the government.  The ultimate goal of the preparation phase is to determine whether 1- it is viable to enter in a negotiation table to obtain a desired result or 2- the negotiation is not a viable action to obtain a desired outcome, in which case, the negotiation will not exist.

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About the Author

david-tainvenezula-flagflag-canadaDavid Tain

Calgary, Alberta, Canada

David Tain is a Project Management Professional with an international career in the management and execution of major oil and gas projects.  His managerial experience has a major focus in negotiations in multicultural environments and the analysis of human behavior for the achievement of the end objectives.  He currently works for Total E&P Canada as Project Specialist in the execution of Oil sands mega-projects.  David obtained his Civil Engineering degree from Santa Maria University in Caracas, Venezuela in 2001.  He completed a Master Certificate in Project Management from Villanova University in 2009 and is currently studying an online MSc in International Management in Oil and Gas at the University of Liverpool, UK.  David received his PMP® certification from the Project Management Institute (PMI®) in April 2009.  He has been engaged in Project Management activities for over 11 years, exclusively in the Execution of Oil and Gas Major projects in South America (Venezuela) and in Canada, both in EPC and in the owner operator sectors. A member of the Canadian Heavy Oil Association, he is fluent in English, French and Spanish.  David Tain can be contacted at [email protected].