Negotiating Tips

Sekou Kaalund, Citigroup Securities & Fund Services’ head of strategy, mergers & acquisitions, and planning, says Hostage at the Table: How Leaders Can Overcome Conflict, Influence Others, and Raise Performance by George Kohlrieser (Jossey-Bass; $27.95) reveals how psychological insights and proven techniques used in successful hostage negotiations can empower anyone who feels immobilized or held “hostage” in their business and personal relationships.

“Negotiation skills are paramount to success in a business environment [because of] client, employee, and shareholder relationships,” he offers. Kaalund reports that the book has helped him enhance his conflict-resolution skills and negotiate more powerfully.

His key takeaways:
Never think like a hostage. Bolster your confidence and diminish feelings of powerlessness by identifying the choices you have and the potency you bring to bear on the negotiations.

Bond with your enemy. Establish a connection with all parties involved in negotiations, even when you may find them despicable. Refrain from demonizing others by remembering that the people are never the problem.

Talk your way to success. Discuss solutions that will satisfy negotiating parties. Explain how all parties can achieve their goals without undermining those of others. Don’t stop talking until you’ve reached an amicable agreement.

Part-time Assignments
Interim management is an employment model that uses senior-level executives to manage a specific business function or special project on a temporary basis, particularly during critical change initiatives such as mergers, acquisitions, restructuring, and downsizing.

Interim management assignments can range from several months to a few years, and candidates can charge fees from $1,000 to $5,000 a day. Roger Sweeney, partner of Reefpoint L.L.P., a U.S. interim management company, has seen a 25% increase in such placement and says this trend creates growing opportunities for experienced problem-solving change agents.

Benefits of interim jobs:
Heightening exposure to various industries and sectors
Building a resumé with diverse career experiences
Successfully transitioning into a new or emerging industry mid- or post-career

Executive Training
Last fall, Roy N. Gundy Jr. prepared to roll out a new strategic plan within his division.
“I knew that what I was executing wouldn’t matter as much as how I executed it,” says Gundy, director of Standards, Strategies & Emerging Technology in IM Information Architecture at Johnson & Johnson. He understood that even the best strategies fail as a result of poor implementation.

To ensure success, Gundy enrolled in the Wharton School’s executive education workshop Implementing Strategy at the University of Pennsylvania. He says the workshop gave him a broad and thorough understanding of the steps necessary to put his strategy into action.
Gundy’s class notes:
Identify challenges to execution. Recognize the variety of factors — external, internal, cultural, and financial — that can hinder execution. Plan for these hindrances and take steps to overcome them if necessary.

Communicate. Convey the strategy and implementation plan at all levels of the organization. Pay particular attention to bridging the communication gap between the executives who design the strategy and the workers further down in the corporate hierarchy who carry it out.

Balance people with processes. Understand how the implementation of the new strategy will impact both your people and your processes, accepting that you

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