There are five generally recognized negotiating situations, of which competition and collaboration are two. As an IT architect you will need to learn how to use each one so that you don’t limit possible outcomes needlessly by competing when it is not appropriate. This is possibly the most common and most costly negotiating error, and if you get the right coach you will discover the importance of selecting the right approach before you start. Remember not to let other people who think they are great negotiators suck you into a competitive situation when it’s not called for. One easy way to lose the game before you start (by accident), is to lose your temper.
You don’t want to enter into a win-lose or lose-lose outcome because you don’t have control of your emotions. Conflict situations usually stimulate emotional as well is rational reactions and it’s important to keep perspective. You may need to develop processes and rules which prevent anger from taking control. Remember that negotiation is about conflict and conflict management and unfortunately sometimes it gets out of hand and the negotiation process breaks down. Prejudices surface and angry emotions creep into the conversation as communication decreases all sides become entrenched in their position and blame each other to the difficulty. This occurs because information is not flowing through and between all parties. Communication channels are blocked and people look for reasons why, because it’s easy to blame the other party.
The focus can move away from the issues and become a contest of wills. Extraneous issues may be introduced. Negotiation becomes us against them and a win lose contest where differences become key and similarities are overlooked. If we become angry or emotionally drawn into the conflict, natural instincts tend to take control and it becomes harder to use communication and problem solving skills effectively. Proper coaching so that you can fully understand your emotional reactions to conflict can help you achieve the objectivity needed to master your reactions.
This gets back to self-awareness, a soft skill where you can use the good advice offered to you by your coach. Different people react differently in conflict situations – some react with a classic flight response. Others withdraw in a classic flight response. Others compromise and try to balance the two. Others will cave in fast so they can make everyone 9except themselves) happy and then there are some whose natural instinct is to seek creative collaboration. Those are the people who try to turn conflicts into cooperative problem-solving sessions and this is a key skill you need to learn as an IT architect.
Your coach will help you to understand your current approach to negotiations. If you don’t know what your natural style is, you may make mistakes and blunders. Your negotiating skills will only work your benefit if you can use them properly. You will also need to learn some management skills to help you overcome common roadblocks to the effective use of negotiating techniques. Your coach can help you in learning how to handle situations such as the other party is unwilling to play the negotiating game, the other party negotiated only on price, the other party just doesn’t play fair or the other party engages in difficult behaviors. Learning how to discern any of these situations and then moving into the right sort of negotiation is one of the keys skills of and competent IT architect. If you want to develop these skills, a good coach is a must.