Negotiations Preliminaries

Many companies in the United States provide employees with negotiations training. For example, through his training programs, Chester Karrass has taught more people (some 400,000) to negotiate than any other purveyor of the service — see his ads in almost all in flight magazines of domestic American air carriers. However, very few companies provide training for negotiations with managers from other countries. Even more surprising is the lack of cultural content in the training of the government’s diplomats. Instead, in most schools of diplomacy the curricula cover language skills, social and diplomatic skills, and knowledge specific to the diplomatic profession. Including diplomatic history and international relations, law, economics, politics, international organizations and foreign policies, Cultural differences in negotiation and communication styles are seldom considered.

Things are different at Ford Motor Company. Ford does more business with Japanese companies than any other firms. Ford owns 33 per cent of Mazda, it built a successful minivan with Nissan and it buys and sells components parts and completed cars from and to Japanese companies. But perhaps the best measure of Ford’s Japanese business is the 8,000 or so US to Japan round trip airline tickets the company buys annually. Ford has made a large investment in training its managers with Japanese responsibilities. Over 2,.000 of tis executive have attended three day program on Japanese history and culture and the company’s Japanese business strategies. Further more than 1,000 Ford managers who work face to face with Japanese have attended a three day program entitled Managing Negotiations : Japan(MNJ) The MNJ programs includes negotiation simulations with videotape feedback , lectures with cultural differences demonstrate via videotapes of Japanese — American interactions and rehearsals of upcoming negotiations. The company also conducts similar programs on Korea and the People’s Republic of China.

In addition to MNJ the broader Japan training efforts at Ford must be credited for Ford’s successes in Japan. Certainly MNJ alumni cm be seen exercising influence cross and up the ranks regarding Japanese relationships. But the organizational awareness of the cultural dimensions of the Japanese business systems was quickly raised as well by its broader, three day program on Japanese business strategies . Remember the story about the Russians in Nice? Two critical events took place. First, the Solar Turbines negotiators diagnosed the problems. Second and equally important their California superiors appreciated the problems and approved the investments in time and money to outwait the Russians. So it is that Ford programs have targeted not only negotiators working directly with the Japanese but also their managers who spend most of their time in the company’s Detroit headquarters. Negotiators need information specific to the cultures in which they work. Just as critical their managers back in the United states need a basic awareness and appreciation for the importance of culture in international business so that they will be more amenable to the of sounding recommendations coming from their people in Moscow, Rio, or Tokyo
Any experienced business negotiator will tell you that there is never enough time to get ready. Given the time constraints of international negotiations, preparations must be accomplished efficiently the homework must be done before the bargaining begins. We recommend the following checklists to ensure proper preparation and planning for the international negotiations.
1) Assessment of the situation and the people.
2) Facts to conform during the negotiations
3) Agenda
4) Best alternative to negotiated agreements (BATNA)?
5) Concession strategies
6) Team assignment.
Preparation and planning skill is at the top of almost everyone’s list of negotiator traits, yet it seems many Americans are still planning strategies during over ocean flights when they should be trying to rest.
Source: International Marketing