The first stage, Preparation, is probably the most important stage of the framework for collaborative negotiations. Preparation is so critical because this is when you gain a full understanding of your interests and your positions, without which you are at a serious disadvantage in the Bargaining Stage.
But there are steps before and after the identification of interests and positions.
- There are initial points to consider – whether you should be negotiating, your Situation Awareness, and what you need to know.
- There's research to undertake . You'll need to know more about the players – the stakeholders, your team, and the other party. You'll need to learn facts and make assumptions. And you'll want to know what standards and benchmarks to apply to the issues.
- Then comes your analysis. Your data will need to be re-organized into those things you know, assumptions, and things you don't know. You'll want to anticipate events – their objections, obstacles, and schedules. And most importantly, you develop Probes that will be used to test your assumptions in the Exchange Stage. Armed with all this information and analysis, you can better assess your leverage in the negotiation.
- Identify your Negotiating Envelope – and theirs. You'll need to articulate your interests and establish your positions – Most Desired Outcome (MDO), Goal, Least Acceptable Agreement (LAA), and Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement (BATNA). And then map out theirs. Here's where you want to identify your "must haves," things of equal value to both parties, and creative options that address interests.
- And know the Relationship you want to build. Plan how you will build trust. Be in command of what information you need to know but don't. And develop Probes that provoke responsiveness in a positive environment.