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Negotiation Excellence

June 6, 2009

Negotiation is one of those elusive topics that everyone sees as important, but few can really pin down. It is something that we believe we are good at or bad at, without being able to specify precisely how we make the judgment.

In the business world, most executives think that skill as a negotiator is an important characteristic (probably true) and surveys suggest they believe they are personally good at it (rather more questionable). Historically, it has been seen as something innate, rather than something that can be easily taught. It has been treated as a skill, rather than a process. But on what criteria? What are the charactersitics of a ‘successful’ negotiated outcome? Is it getting what you want (short-term) or laying the foundations for a successful relationship (long-term)?

And moving beyond the personal and individual, to what extent do organizations make themselves successful at negotiating? Are there companies or entitles that have a consistent record of success and, if so, how have they established that capability and ‘bred’ successful negotiators or negotiation teams?

These are questions that IACCM intends to answer with its exploration of Negotiation Excellence. Last year, it tackled the area of post-award contract management – and not surprisingly, found that the success of many deals depends on what happened during the negotiation phase. It undertook that work by asking professionals worldwide to nominate companies and organizations that they admired (or respected) for their performance in this area. The results (published in September 2008) were followed up with in-depth interviews with the winning organizations.

A similar process is being followed now and IACCM is inviting people to nominate the companies that they believe represent excellence in negotiation; you can participate at As with all IACCM surveys, input remains confidential; no one will be in touch to sell you anything; and all participants receive a report with the final results.

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