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Negotiation Tip # 7: Start Fixing

Negotiation Tip # 7: Start Fixing
Pat Dickson - Tue Jun 05, 2012 @ 12:16PM
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START FIXING

When you are in trouble you can often get out of all of it or some of it. It just takes one simple thing. Start fixing the problem immediately! Start fixing the problem before you ever sit down at the negotiation table in the first place.

For all you know, by the time the day of confrontation comes, your enemy will have become your friend. Because you took immediate action, he won't have any items remaining on his list of disappointments. He'll have nothing left to throw in your face. He'll only be able to smile and say "thank you!"

Of course things don't always work out perfectly, but usually there is something you can do to fix a few things, if not all of them. All I can say is it can be really nice for everyone involved when just a little elbow grease provides a complete remedy! It isn't always easy. Sometimes it takes creativity, extra time and resources.

Here is a story about how Negotiation Tip # 7, Start Fixing, can save the day:

Brenda's face was pale when she hung up the phone.

"Morrison is terminating the contract. We're not on schedule. There is no way we can go-live on time."

"Oh dear... They are just pulling the plug?"

"Yes. They are giving us this remaining week to dismantle everything - to pull everything out. We can do that in time. We just needed two more weeks to finish the GUI."

"You can't get another week? An extension?"

"No. They have to go-live in one week. This is with their main and biggest client, a defense contractor. They really wanted our GUI to give the pilot project a great look and feel."

"Why did we fall so far behind?"

"Don't ask. Please ask anything else. I don't want to get into it, but long story short, we put all our trust in a new PM..."

"What's the bottleneck?"

"We don't have enough resources to install the GUI at all the workstations. All five of our installers are dedicated to this project, and it isn't enough. So Morrision's client is going to have to see nothing but an ugly, green screen."

"Is it a hard task? Installing this GUI?"

"No. You just have to sit there and follow the instructions on the interface as the program pretty much self installs. You and I could do it. It is just time consuming."

"Can't you just hire five temp guys?"

"No. The prequalification process to work on site takes at least a month. You have to have a Morrison badge."

"Can't we use Morrison guys? Give them a discount?"

"No. They are all 24-7 on other aspects of their go-live critical path. I asked... This is hopeless..."

We turned and stared out the window for a few minutes, wheels turning.

"How about me and you, a certain CFO, CIO, and HR Director I know help out? Doesn't that make five?"

Brenda smiled big. "That's right! We all have badges! All our lazy managers have to earn their pay sometime!"

"One of the benefits of being an exempt employee!"

Brenda winked at me. "Trust me Dickson, I'm not paying your usual rate on this project. And if you don't like it, you're fired!" 

The deadline for dismantling everything came. Brenda reported to her customer that she had not followed orders. Instead of dismantling the GUI, she had found the resources for getting it installed, and tested, at all of the work stations. Morrison was delighted and so was the defense contractor. This success turned into several profitable change orders with Morrison. I was paid a discounted rate for my IT services, but enjoyed many donuts.

Negotiation Tip # 8

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