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How To Manage Your Negotiating Team From Harvard Business Review

by Victoria Pynchon
August 2009

From Settle It Now Negotiation Blog

Victoria Pynchon

The last time I trained an in-house legal department, I asked every group manager this questionif I could leave a silver bullet behind, what would it be? 

The response was unanimous from this well-run Fortune 500 Company:  fix our relationship with the __________ Department:  it chronically undermines our negotiations with outsiders.  The  _________ Department was the only one sending none of its people to the two-day negotiation training.  An executive friend of mine said, "that's not surprising - no one can see a black hole."

This month's Harvard Business Review sees the black hole in every negotiation team in its September '09 must-read article, How to Manage Your Negotiating Team by Jeanne M. Brett, Ray Friedman, and  Kristin Behfar.

Despite the _________ Department's absence, I created groups of in-house attendees who represented each internal department and asked them to generate a list of the interests of their negotiating teams, including the _________ department, which is one of the recommendations made by Brett, Friedman and Behfar.

There's an executive summary at the link above but I'd shell out the money for a copy of the print magazine to have the full text of this article.  Here are the recommendations of the experts:

  • Plot out the conflicts
  • Work with constituents
  • Mediate conflicts of interest
  • Persuade with data
  • simulate the negotiation
  • assign roles to capitalize on team members strengths and interests
  • establish a plan for intrateam communication

I'll write a post a day about each of these strategies when I return from vacation.  In the meantime, litigators who work with teams inside the firm; who defend complex litigation with joint defense groups; and, who must bargain with others with very different interests (construction litigation comes to mind) should be thinking of the ways in which integrated negotiation planning could maximize the settlement benefits to be gained by strategic partners.

Biography


Attorney-mediator Victoria Pynchon is a panelist with ADR Services, Inc. Ms. Pynchon was awarded her LL.M Degree in Dispute Resolution from the Straus Institute in May of 2006, after 25 years of complex commercial litigation practice, with sub-specialties in intellectual property, securities fraud, antitrust, insurance coverage, consumer class actions and all types of business torts and contract disputes.  During her two years of full-time neutral practice, she has co-mediated both mandatory and voluntary settlement conferences with Los Angeles Superior Court Judges Alexander Williams, III and Victoria Chaney.  As a result of her work with Judge Chaney in the Complex Court at Central Civil West, Ms. Pynchon has gained significant experience mediating construction defect litigation.  Ms. Pynchon received her J.D., Order of the Coif, from the U.C. Davis School of Law. 



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Website: www.settlenow.com

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