The Negotiating Solutions workshop as an executive development resource

People move through three major transitions as they climb the management ranks: from individual contributor to supervision, from supervision to management, and from managing structure, process, and people to setting business strategy and managing business objectives (general management).

The latter two transitions now require very different models and skills for long-term success. In the past, competent people could experience reasonably good success up through mid-levels of management while operating in adversarial, combative ways. The organization encouraged "gamesmanship" and competition among peers and looked favorably upon people who were "tough negotiators" with customers, suppliers, and even cross-functionally. Now, those same behaviors are causing management to pass them over for promotion.

To operate successfully as general managers, people need another set of behaviors.

They must involve their management teams and partner organizations in shaping, clarifying, committing to, and communicating long-term strategy.

They must engage others in thinking outside existing patterns to find solutions that didn't exist before.

They need to engender and maintain trust among multiple constituencies, working long-term relationships, so that the most difficult business issues and opportunities can be addressed even as relationships are maintained or actually strengthened.

They need to coordinate resources, always seeking better solutions.

In general, they need to operate effectively in an influence environment – getting cooperation, independent action, and superior decisions from populations who don't report to them.

Negotiating Solutions helps them build these concepts, patterns, and skills. It provides immediate "real time" feedback to them on the effects of working integratively to explore opportunities, resolve issues and craft solutions. It provides equally immediate feedback from their peers on the limits of confrontational models and behaviors.

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