Use Committees To Outsource Your Next Deadlock

by drjim on September 14, 2012

If you deadlock during a negotiation, pick up the phone and set up a committee

If you deadlock during a negotiation, pick up the phone and set up a committee

Face it, deadlocks happen all too often during a negotiation. When you encounter your next deadlock, it’s going to be the ability to find a creative solution that just might allow you to save the day. One such type of solution is to decide to outsource your deadlock problem. Don’t laugh – if this technique does the trick, then your negotiations will be back on track quickly.

Outsourcing Your Next Deadlock

Maybe what we need to do here is to go back to the beginning and think about what caused the deadlock to occur in the first place. Generally what has happened is that both sides believe that they have presented all of the options that are available for reaching a common agreement on some issue. However, for whatever reason no agreement has been possible.

This does not necessarily mean that an agreement can’t be reached. What it is really telling you is that all of the ideas and approaches that you’ve been able to come up with so far have not done the job. This means that you’re going to need new ideas and new approaches if you want this to work out.

Don’t despair! There actually is a way that just might allow you to find a way around the deadlock that you are currently facing. What you need to do is to outsource your deadlock. What this means is that you need to get somebody else to sit down and see if they can come up with a way to resolve the deadlock. Looks like it’s time to use a joint committee!

Why Committees Work So Well

So what’s so magic about joint committees? It turns out that a committee that has members that were not necessarily part of the negotiations but who work for both sides of the table have the ability to do things that the negotiators could not.

The goal of the joint committee is to talk and come up with new ideas. The simple fact that the people on the committee are not trying to negotiate can often allow new ideas to flow more easily. If you are able to give the joint committee enough time to accomplish its task, then it will certainly come up with new ideas and approaches that the parties involved in the negotiations were not able to propose.

By outsourcing the deadlock to a joint committee you provide the negotiators (yourself included!) with a way to save face. When the joint committee comes back to report on the new ideas or approaches that they’ve been able to come up with, it will give the negotiators a reason to meet again. That is how you can get around a deadlock and get back on the path to creating a deal that both sides can live with.

What All Of This Means For You

Unfortunately, deadlocks are a part of every negotiation. The next time that you run into one of these negotiation stumbling blocks, you need to search for creative ways to resolve it. Outsourcing your deadlock is one way to do this.

If you form a joint committee and assign them to look into finding alternative solutions to the issue that has caused the roadblock to occur, then you’ll be on your way to finding a solution to your deadlock. Joint committees can succeed where negotiations have failed because they have less pressure and are able to explore more ideas then you are able to during a standard negotiating session.

The ultimate goal of any negotiation is for both sides to reach a deal. If a deadlock is preventing this from happening, then outsourcing your deadlock to a joint committee is one way to resolve the issue. If you can reach a deal with the other side, then be sure to thank your joint committee!

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Negotiating Skills™

Question For You: How many people do you think should be on a joint committee – how many is too few and how many is too much?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

Sure, I know that it might not be the nicest part of whatever negotiation styles or negotiating techniques you prefer to use, but using threats to get your way in the next negotiations that you are involved in just might be what you need to do in order to get the deal that you are looking for. The trick is knowing when and how to effectively deliver a threat…

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