Negotiating for Project Benefit

Originally adapted from You Can Negotiate Anything, Audio Cassette, 1990 Audio Renaissance Tapes Inc., Los Angeles, with permission of the original author Herb Cohen.

Subsequently modified to suit web presentation.

Published here,January 2001.

Introduction | Information | Time | Power


You're working on a project, right? In fact you are supposed to be in charge, but you don't feel that you have enough authority to get things done, right? You are not alone. In fact that is the way most projects really are. So, how do you get things done?

It's a matter of being able to negotiate. Negotiating is a vital part of every project leader's job. Whether you are negotiating at arms-length for goods and services for the project, or you are negotiating for coworker's commitment to the project, a good understanding of how to negotiate effectively will help considerably.

In every negotiation there are always three crucial components present:

  1. Information. The other side somehow seems to know more about you and your needs than your side knows about theirs.
  2. Time. The other side doesn't seem to be under the same kind of pressure and time constraints that your side feels under.
  3. Power. The other side always seems to have more power and authority than you think you have.

For many of us, power is a concept with threatening implications stemming from our traditional view of the master slave relationship, and because of those intimidating consequences. For example, power may be employed in a manipulative, coercive or domineering way to control people as an end in itself rather than for achieving a legitimate goal. If there is no commitment to the goal, or the goal is not acceptable, even the most appropriate means will not make it right. Let us examine each of these components in turn.


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