she negotiates deals - steps one and two

Published on by Lisa Gates.

We've got a master class going for graduates of the 4-week She Negotiates class and it is rockin'.  We're talking about deal design, a topic covered in the most depth and most throughly by David Lax and James Sebenius in their still ground-breaking book, 3-D Negotiation (buy it!)

Here are the first two steps of Lax and Sebenius' "3-D Audit" for the deal set-up. We'll put flesh on the bones in the next post before moving on to the next step.

  • make sure you are dealing with the right people
    • if your potential bargaining partner is an organization what level representative is best to approach
    • how does s/he fit into the organizational hierarchy
    • do they have sufficient power to get you what you want, particularly if what you want is "out of the box," i.e., has no precedent
    • what's in it for them personally?
      •  will your idea, service, product promote their career
        • make their job easier
        • solve their internal challenges
        • improve their external opportunities
      • what are their hidden interests and hidden constraints
        •  must they make someone else look good (interest)
        • do they have limited authority (constraint)

Lax and Sebenius advise that you:

keep all potentially influential internal players on your radar screen; don't lose sight of their interests or their capacity to affect the deal.  What is 'rational' for the whole may not be so for the parts.

3-D Negotiation at 25.

  • Is the deal you're offering better than
    • no deal at all; or,
    • a better deal than anyone else can offer
      • you can frame the way they see these options compared to your offer
      • I know you could hire McKensey or Deloitte* to do this job but
        • I provide comparable services at much lower cost
        • they'll send a team of consultants into your business disrupting your operations; my style is to proceed with much more laser-like precision - more focused, less disruptive
        • they're great but you pay for their overhead as much as for their time
  • Be open and flexible - as Lax and Sebenius advise 

calcuating the deal/no deal balance is likely to be an ongoing process.  No-deal options are likely to evolve and shift (in part through your efforts).  [E]ffective negotiators monitor both sides' perceptions of how the deal/no-deal balance is currently tilting - and then take steps to alter the balance, as necessary.

Id. at 27-28.

The "She Negotiates" Self-Esteem Spa Moment

Many women have left corporate America or BigLaw to do the same work in their own businesses as they did when they were working for Deloitte or Morrison & Foerster.  Your value is not less than when you were shackled to the high-end.  Your value is greater.

  1.  you are the same person with the same education, training and experience today as you were when you were a manager at Deloitte or a non-equity or equity partner (or associate or paralegal) at Morrison & Foerster. 
  2. Your value in the hands of your market is identical today as it was yesterday except that now your clients are not paying for the mahogany conference table, the high-end interior designer, the art on the walls rented from LACMA, daily flowers at reception and a staff large enough to handle a big assignment at moment's notice but too large to keep everyone fully employed all of the time. 
  3. What BigLaw or Corporate America have by way of resources, you can tap at a far lower price in the form of virtual assistants, unemployed BigLaw associates (some of whom are doing document production) or recently laid off MBA's.


Published on by Lisa Gates.