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Getting Ready for the Mayhem!

Brian Buck
240304 Getting Ready For The Mayhem
© Scotwork NA

Do you have Saint Patrick’s Day circled on your calendar? On March 17, while we’re wearing green clothes, drinking green beer, and being Irish for one day, the NCAA will be selecting 68 teams that will compete in the 2024 Men’s Basketball Tournament. They affectionately call the tournament March Madness, which is the perfect description, because anything can happen.

The tournament is so unpredictable that there is only a one-in-more-than-nine-quintillion chance of predicting the perfect bracket. Yes, a 1:9,223,372,036,854,775,808 chance that you can predict exactly which team will win every matchup. What’s even less predictable than that? Any negotiation.

I don’t have specific data on the unpredictable nature of a negotiation, but I do know that there is a lot of mayhem that can happen when it’s time to sit down at the table. Much like a basketball team needs to be ready for its opponent, we need to be ready to deal with the mayhem that will happen during a negotiation. 

Throughout March, we’re going to be looking at the different kinds of mayhem that can occur. In fact, we’ve identified 32 types of situations across four categories that can create negotiation mayhem. During the month, we’re going to ask you to help us narrow down our list to the most mayhem-inducing issues that you face while negotiating.

Here are the categories we’ve identified:

  • Other Side’s Mayhem: Issues caused by the other side’s actions or choices.
  • Self-Created Mayhem: What we do to ourselves that creates situations we have to deal with.
  • Power Mayhem: Turbulence created when there’s a power imbalance.
  • Miscellaneous Mayhem: Everything else that creates obstacles for us at the table.

For this week, let’s talk about the Other Side’s Mayhem briefly.

Christopher Walken is credited with saying, “At its best, life is completely unpredictable.” I often feel that way about the other side at the negotiating table. Life has some predictable moments (death, taxes, etc.), as do people. We all have predictable traits and behaviors. But it’s how people show up at any given moment that opens a door for mayhem to step right on in.

The other side’s mayhem usually happens when they’re:

  • experiencing something we’re not aware of.
  • worried about the outcome of the negotiation.
  • unsure of what to do.

All three of these can lead to mayhem-causing behavior, such as being overly aggressive, making unrealistic demands, not being flexible, and not sharing information.

At a high level, here are three ways to minimize the impact of the other side’s mayhem:

  • Do your homework. Before you even get to the table, try to understand what’s important to them, what your deal means to them, and anything else that may cause them to act in a manner you’re not expecting.
  • Be flexible in your approach. Since unpredictability is the name of the game, stay nimble so that you can adjust more easily when you’re confronted with their mayhem.
  • Assume nothing, test everything. When you’re challenged by the other side’s mayhem, don’t assume you know why it’s happening. Take what they say at face value till you can test and validate why they’ve taken their approach, and then adjust accordingly.

As we go through the month, we’ll explore the other three categories. You can help us narrow our list of 32 mayhem-causing issues. For this week: vote on which situations, caused by the other side, create the most mayhem for you while negotiating.

Then join us for our webinar, where discuss how to overcome the most mayhem causing issues during a negotiation as voted on by the Scotwork community.

Good luck on your brackets this month, and may your mayhem be minimal!

We Can Help You Minimize Your Negotiation Mayhem.

Regardless of where it’s coming from—your side, the other side, a power imbalance, or anywhere else—mayhem can destroy deals. Rely on Scotwork experts’ nearly 50 years of real-world experience to help you manage negotiation mayhem or avoid it completely.

Talk to one of our experts today.

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