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Sally Soprano I: Negotiation Strategy Essay

On behalf of my client Sally Soprano, I am preparing for my upcoming meeting with Lyrica Opera. I will focus on using the Principled Negotiation Strategy (PN). My belief is that the four crucial points of this strategy – People, Interests, Opinions and Criteria will help the negotiations stay on course and ultimately benefit both parties.

The PN negotiation strategy will allow me to focus on the issue at hand, which for my client is securing the lead of Norma in an upcoming production of Bellini’s Norma. The underlying interest is that my client is very eager to have this role that would probably lead to many other singing opportunities. This could be her big comeback opportunity. I will be listing multiple options and objective criteria that I will use to negotiate with Lyric Opera. This will ensure credibility to my argument and ultimately lead to an optimal solution.

TheMy strategies I will be focused on is Ms. Soprano’s experience in this role along with the household name and experience she brings, which would require minimal preparation for a production that is less than 3 weeks away. Here are the key points:

Her popularity and household name will draw an audience
The production is less than 3 weeks away
She will not require much training and can prepare in minimal time Inflation and popularity
She has not only played this role before, but performed it at Lyric She is much more prepared and experienced for the now than she was then

The tactics I will use are:
Delivering ticket sales and discuss a sliding pay scale: Seats sold over 85% will lead to a ‘bonus’ on top of salary base Discuss future opportunities and if 1+ future engagements can be reached that will impact ‘bottom line’ Inflation, Sally’s previous roles, the salary for the last title roles

The possible pitfalls that I could face with these tactics are:

She is no longer at her peak and may not generate enough ticket sales on her name alone The fact that she doesn’t require much preparation could lead to the opposition stating she will not have to work as hard – hence a lesser salary. There is a backup who is eagerly awaiting the chance to play the role.

The strategies that my opponent may use are:

Sally is no longer at her peak time and has had a share fare of mediocre days This role could lead to additional roles, hence the need to incorporate that into their bottom line cap The lead role normally makes double the secondary role, which would drive the salary in the low $20k There is a backup individual eagerly waiting the chance to play the role Attendance, the fear is that Sally will not be able to sell tickets on her name alone and ultimately affect her contribution to the overall production earnings.

Debby – you bring good strategies and tactics that you’d employ, however you need to build on this much more. For future assignments, do not list these strategies and tactics in bullet form – write them out and discuss each one individually. You also need to focus on the pitfalls of each strategy and tactic as well. What happens if it fails? How do you anticipate the other party will respond to each method, and then provide counter arguments for each. The objective hear is to create a very thorough map of how the negotiation could take place.

It would be beneficial if you’d included more on the best and worst of what the Lyric could have told you, and how you’d respond to this. Sally could certainly receive more payment than 20K, and as her agent, you need to make sure that you don’t undervalue her to the Lyric, otherwise, they will think that there is a reason for this. If you ask for more money initially, then it shows that you truly value her talent. The Lyric will likely try to drive the price down, at which time you can negotiate logistics and side deals, such as the one I mentioned above. You can always include clauses to the negotiation, whereby it changes if particular things happen.

It is a tricky task to breakdown what could possibly happen, yet one that is extremely necessary when preparing for a negotiation. Breaking down what possible strategies and tactics the other party may employ is also key, and will help to 1. Better prepare you to deal with those situations, and 2. Use them as leverage now that you have researched your counter argument.

If this simulation were done in class, rather than online, you’d have 10-15 minutes to prepare your strategies and tactics, then you’d meet with a member of the opposing side to have a negotiation. While this is a beneficial teaching method, and as a negotiator, sitting across from someone feel far more helpful in being able to read off them, not meeting together and simply focusing on the preparatory aspect is extremely valuable. The more research one can do about their opponent and the more they can strategize all possible paths a negotiation can take, the stronger the negotiator.

For future papers, please provide more detail. I’ve copied below a paper from another student as a sample so you can see what type of detail I am referring to. This student could have provided even more detail (which was outlined in my comments to this person), but this is a good reference point for you to build on.


Simulation Strategy Paper 1

This assignment asks for a set of information regarding how I would approach negotiations as the primary negotiator representing The Lyric Opera in the matter of Sally Soprano being considered as the lead role in a production of Bellini’s Norma, which is scheduled to open in three weeks time. I will outline several strategies that will be used in the negotiation process as well as several tactics. The style of negotiation that I will be utilizing will be Interest Based Negotiation. Given the present circumstances outlined in the simulation document that I was provided, I feel very strongly that the stakes for all parties in this negotiation are large enough that a mutually beneficial agreement will be quite possible. All of the content in my strategy paper, as it pertains to the negotiation process, is informed by the lecture content provided in Black Board as a sole resource. I have only been with The Lyric Opera for three months and the need to secure a superior performer for the lead role in Bellini’s Norma, for the Artistic Director is a task that will give me the opportunity to showcase my skills as a negotiator and will help The Lyric Opera maintain the reputation that it has been able to build in the community.

Given the short amount of time before the show opens, minimizing the possibility of a protracted or lengthy negotiation over an agreement between Sally Soprano and The Lyric is imperative. This is the primary factor I will build my negotiation plan around. It is my goal to strive to find core mutual interests between Sally Soprano and Lyric and then use those to construct an agreement that will create a win-win situation for the participants in the negotiation. The short lead-time available to secure the proper lead role dictates the negotiation style for The Lyric. The Lyric stands to lose audience for the shows scheduled if the wrong person is selected for the lead role and that would cause a financial hardship that The Lyric couldn’t weather. These facts also reduce the strategies and tactics that would be wise to employ in negotiating this arrangement. Time is critical, but the correct person is just as crucial and the fact is that The Lyric does not have a viable option at this stage of the game other than Sally Soprano.

This is a fact that is likely known or at least suspected by Sally Soprano; therefore must be dealt with as a potential bargaining chip by her in the negotiation process. Focusing on the actual interests as opposed to the positions of both parties to the negotiations will keep the matter from becoming personal or polarizing and will keep an agreement that is equitable and expedient much more likely within our brief window of opportunity. If we are able to secure an acceptable arrangement with Sally Soprano quickly, we will be able to leverage the opportunity to get her name on the show bills and advertisements. This will also get her the best chance to reach the broadest group of potential attendees so she can have a more full house on
opening night. This would serve her well as she approached the Artistic Director seeking to help Lyric in their search thus indicating that she has some sort of an interest in the role that would cause her to step forward.

I could speculate as to what is motivating her, but unless I hear it directly from her, I want to assume that she is truly interested in helping and would simply love to be cast for the leading role. With respect to BATNA, I feel strongly that Lyric can afford to pay Sally Soprano a sum of $28,000.00 for the lead role in this particular production with an additional $5,000.00 being invested in show bills and advertising listing Sally Soprano as the Lead of Norma with an option to extend her in the role for any additional performances. If there is much discussion from Sally Soprano or an unacceptable counter offer, then The Lyric would be best served to Pay the full $45,000.00 for her to commit to this production and then heavily invest in seeking a new lead for any future performances once this production has closed. To properly employ Interest Based Negotiation I will need to consider the interests of The Lyric as well as Sally Soprano.

As far as The Lyric is concerned, the primary interests are securing a capable and solid Soprano for the lead role in this production, staying within the last year salary figures for the lead role and minimizing the potential for less than an 85% house attendance over the course of the upcoming performance dates for this production. For Sally Soprano it is most likely her interest to obtain a lead role again as her career is past the prime, that she look fabulous and perform well to maximize her exposure for potential upcoming roles that she might be considered for coming off of a successful engagement as the lead and that she be performing to a house each night that is as full if not more full than has historically been the case at The Lyric. These sets of interests are both logical and rational, and can therefore lead to positive solutions that would benefit both parties to the process. One strategy I would employ in the negotiation process would be focusing on the potential for a relationship between Sally Soprano and The Lyric beyond this particular production with her playing future lead roles. 

She might take this as an opportunity to leverage herself as the only option available to The Lyric and seek more compensation. I would need to be willing to admit that while Lyric is in a tight spot presently that she could stand to help the opera with not only this production but also forge a bright future in her career as a partner with The Lyric as a demonstrated and dedicated Lead Soprano even at this point in her career. Another strategic element I would need to employ is being very direct about the current situation and using the highlights for her career to build value in a potential partnership between herself and The Lyric for upcoming performances. In order to effectively do this, I will need to analyze her career, identify and/or validate current and additional interests held by Sally Soprano and then quantify the benefits associated with a new and ongoing sort of arrangement between herself and The Lyric as a Lead Soprano.

Additionally it would be of strategic benefit to go into this process willing to give on some things but require that Sally Soprano offer something in return that would be of commensurate value in the exchange. Keeping the negotiation process balanced as a win-win proposition is critical and I think it will go great lengths toward making Sally Soprano feel that she is a true partner with The Lyric. I would employ several different tactics to accomplish my goal of securing a rapid arrangement with Sally Soprano. The first tactic would be to go into the negotiations knowing that the maximum offer of $45,000.00 in whatever form, is not a position, but a financial fact and will have to serve as a fallback offer if nothing more financially viable can be achieved with Sally Soprano. A part of this tactic will also require me to be willing to walk away from this, regardless of the impact if Sally Soprano were to insist upon a financially difficult amount that The Lyric could not accommodate.

It is possible that she could take this approach and I would need to make efforts to get the focus back on the partnership philosophy of this proposed relationship rather than one production. Secondly I would employ the tactic of seeking to build trust between myself as a representative of The Lyric and Sally Soprano by offering her to see the financial picture that The Lyric is currently facing and seek to get her to understand that while The Lyric may like to have the ability to consider a larger compensation package, it is just not financially viable unless the House is filled to 100% capacity for all engagements and that we might consider a bonus of some sort based upon increased attendance or sold out performances. She could insist that she is worth more and we have no real options.

I would need to remind her that a large part of her self proclaimed worth is rooted in her abilities. If her abilities are of such a value as she could argue, then she should be willing to attach further compensation to the condition of increased attendance. This could, if caged properly and in a manner that is kind and articulate, create an even further sense of partnership. The final tactic that I would employ would be to gather as many indicators and information from Sally Soprano as possible regarding what her true interests are with respect to this opportunity (being the Lead Soprano) and then make an offer to her before she has a chance to float one to the table on me first. My offer would need to remain within my established boundaries, but should be flexible with respect to less compensation and maybe increased expenses up to the maximum amount for hairdressers and makeup artists to make her look fabulous for this role.

Maybe the idea of spa treatments, facials or specific sorts of makeup would have an appeal to Sally Soprano, since the role she seeks is traditionally cast with a younger soprano than she is. Maybe showing her that we would be willing to explore options within the boundaries of our financial limitations would demonstrate our desire to invest in her and her future and not just this specific production. She could take offense that we would suggest that she is too old somehow for the role. We would need to cite the historically young age of those that have been cast for this role and suggest to her that we want to partner with her to showcase her talent and ability to perform in this role regardless of her age. We simply want to give her options and tools to maximize her success.

I feel that this overall strategy is considerate of the needs of The Lyric as well as the potential or perceived needs of Sally Soprano (in the absence of any real information about what she is seeking at this point). Given the fact that there is little information provided in the simulation regarding her motivations or interests I have speculated a little and would need to make efforts to obtain as much information as possible prior to sitting with her agent.

I would also want to have the understanding that while the agent is the primary negotiator, given the compressed timetable for this arrangement, we would want there to be an assurance that the negotiator either be given the opportunity to make a final agreement with me or that Sally Soprano agree to be present and willing to make a final decision at the meeting or within a few hours of no later than the end of that business day. Given the fact that the Artistic Director wants Sally Soprano specifically for this role in this production at this time there needs to be a sense of urgency on my part and that I not allow the matter to protract or stall.

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