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In my negotiation for Viking I played the roll of Sandy Wood and I attempted to negotiate with Pat Olafson regarding a range of issue that we have had with each other over the past several years. These negotiations were extremely complicated because they dealt with three at least different issues. We had to figure out what to do about an outstanding loan that Pat had given me. We also had to come to an agreement on the matter of how much Pat was going to pay for work that I had done for his condominium project.
The last detail that we had to negotiate was whether Pat would continue to rent me the space that I was currently using. One aspect of the negotiation that I was pleased by was my preparation. This was a very complicated negotiation so the preparation for it was very critical. I really didn’t have many options available to me. I felt going in to the negotiation that I would have very minimal power so my BATNA was to declare bankruptcy.
I felt that this was the only card that I could play, I knew that Pat would be worried that if I went into bankruptcy he would lose some of the 200k loan that I owed him. My biggest concern going in was that I wanted Pat to pay me for the revised invoice, which was the main reason for our current dispute. I knew that Pats target price for the work was 700k, which was the original amount.
My target was 910k, which was the cost of the work that I paid out of pocket.
My preparation had me feeling powerless as the negotiations started. Thankfully once they started my fears were unsubstantiated as Pat came to the table looking to collaborate together to figure out how we can create as much value between the two of us as possible. This approach showed me that he was willing to negotiate in good faith so I was able to be as open as possible with him. Once we were able to establish trust we both laid out our interest and we both collaborated together to figure out how to achieve the best possible scenario. We determined what each others interest were and we were able to come to an agreement that we were both comfortable with. I was very pleased by how we collaborated together because we were able to maximize the value of the negotiation.
One area where I feel like I could have done a better a job was in the bargaining. I feel that I might have been able to negotiate a better deal for myself because Pat came to the table wanting to negotiate and I feel that I might have been able to get a better deal for myself if I wasn’t so willing to make concessions to make a deal that was mutually beneficial. I could have used my bankruptcy threat more effectively to negotiate a better deal for myself. I have a fear that If in future negotiations if I am too willing to collaborate that I may be losing on some of value that I can keep for myself.
The one thing that I took from this negotiation is that even when you feel that you are not in power, any amount of power can be used to your advantage. You can always use your position to get some leverage over your opponent. I walked into these negotiation with what I believed was the worst possible power position but I was able to use my position to leverage myself a pretty good deal.
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