Smart Negotiating For Securing Your Business Agreement
Let’s face it - negotiations are a part of life. Whether it be a debate with your partner on who’s driving the kids to soccer practice, a conversation with your colleague on how to best manage a project timeline, or a pitch to your manager for your advancement within the company, we all would benefit from being better equipped with effective negotiation skills. But the reality is that most of us do not receive any formal training on how to use effective negotiation skills to achieve a favourable outcome.
But what would you consider to be a favourable outcome when engaged in negotiation? Most of us would describe it as winning the negotiation or getting what you set out to achieve/obtain. However, a negotiation that ends in a truly favourable outcome has both parties having some gain from the debate. If you think about it, if one party takes all and the other leaves with nothing, it’s hardly a negotiation. The losing party would never have agreed to the terms and the negotiation process would have completely fallen apart. However, if the negotiating parties agree on terms of the deal that they would like to walk away with that would solidify the deal and both parties would benefit from, then a favourable outcome would be reached for all at the table.
Negotiation skills and tactics improve over time as you’ve found yourself in real-world debates and negotiations, but some of the most important negotiations of your professional career happen early on in life, so experience contributes little value to your chances of negotiation success. Notwithstanding years of business experience, young healthcare professionals, who will no doubtedly face challenging negotiations regardless of their professional discipline, will benefit immensely from basic knowledge of key negotiation skills to help them engage more effectively in their debate.
Effective negotiations in business can only be achieved with thorough, thoughtful preparation. Ahead of negotiations, it’s important that you take a deep dive into what objectives you intend to achieve at the table and what your position of strength is. How many wins to hope to walk away with and what’s the prioritization of those wins? Do you have alternatives to your wins so that you can pivot to other options on the fly and still come out with your objectives? As critical as all of these preparations are, they are futile if you don’t also run through the exact same preparation thinking about the other party on the other side of the table. Putting yourself in their shoes by examining their perspective at the negotiation stage will allow you to prepare critical contingencies in the conversation and effectively manage the direction of the debate in your favour. But don’t forget, you aren’t there to take all and leave the opposing party with nothing. It’s imperative that you assess what is of value for your opponent in the debate and ensure they walk away with at least one thing that they set out to win.
One of the most important negotiations healthcare professionals will engage in not only early but throughout their career is their business agreement with their employer. Without getting into the various forms of business agreements that exist, let’s think about some of the critical terms that healthcare professionals should consider ahead of the negotiations, not only of importance to them, but also to the employer. Compensation is always top of mind when looking at an agreement, but compensation should be looked at from more than just from the lens of dollar figures. Compensation can come in many forms - such as professional mentorship, health & dental benefits, continuing education allowances, and unique terms such as guaranteed patient volumes, performance target bonuses, and/or graduated compensation scales. But what about the employer - what are they looking for with signing you to the team? Are they planning on retiring and planning their succession for a clinic purchase with a competent young apprentice? Is the practice growing exponentially and they are looking to bring on talent to cover the patient demand? Are they losing another healthcare professional and have struggled to maintain longevity with their clinical team. Doing your homework and understanding the environment in which the employer is working within for the purpose of adding healthcare professionals is paramount in preparing your negotiation for success!
Successful negotiations take preparation, thoughtful consideration for both parties at the table, and a keen understanding of how to prioritize both your and your opponents objectives so that both parties walk away with value from the debate. In our Fundamentals for the Newly Established Healthcare Professional (Level 1) course, we dive into how to effectively communicate within negotiations, how to set key targets for the negotiation, and learn critical skills to help keep the negotiation moving forward for a successful outcome.