Negotiating Skills Exercise: "Spending the Windfall"
This exercise gives trainees experience of negotiating with another team in order to reach an agreement which is of benefit to both of them.
Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Running Time: 35 minutes
Exercise Style: Negotiating exercise
Multiple Intelligence Style: interactive
Materials: Flipchart; markers
"Spending the Windfall": Steps
1. Ask the group to suggest some of the ways the department or organisation they belong to at work could spend a windfall of £100,000, eg additional key personnel; new equipment; a marketing boost. Jot these suggestions down on a flipchart.
2. Split the group into two teams. Ask each team to agree which items on the flipchart are the most important and on which they would spend the £100,000. Ensure there is agreement before moving on.
3. Now tell the teams that the money can only be given to the organisation or department if there is agreement by everyone on how to spend it. The two teams must therefore negotiate.
4. When agreement has been reached, re-convene and feed back the decision.
"Spending the Windfall": Alternatives and variations
Suggest that, when the team negotiates as a team, individuals in the team should adopt team negotiating roles such as “observer”, “leader”, “maverick”, “moralist”, “defender”, and ”attacker”.
"Spending the Windfall": A Follow-up Training Input
After running the “Spending the Windfall” exercise, you can bring people back together and share the following simple but powerful negotiating skills training model. Draw a line down the middle of a sheet of flipchart and write “The Negative View of Conflict” at the top of the left-hand column and “The Positive View of Conflict” at the top of the right-hand column. As you talk through the following input, fill in the columns with some of the views. Conclude by getting people to favour the positive view wherever possible.
"When we perceive conflict negatively, we tend to see it as a threat. Our knee-jerk reactions are instinctive and emotional: to attack the reasons for the conflict or avoid facing up to them.
These are some of the common negative reactions to conflict...
"It's their fault, not mine..."
"If I ignore it, it might go away."
"It's best not to get involved."
"If we stick our nose in, someone will get hurt."
"We'll just argue and argue over who said what, when and to whom."
"I can't let them win."
"Let them get on with it."
When we perceive conflict positively we tend to see it as an opportunity. Most successful advances in business occur when two sides with different interests put their heads together to work out a new way forward. Positive views of conflict are rational and non-emotive.
These are some of the rational ways we might look at conflict positively...
• many differences can't be settled quickly, but the differences themselves produce a valuable creative tension
• when two different forces come together, the result can be more than a sum of the parts. This is the principle of synergy.
• when people are in disagreement this is a positive sign that they care and want things to improve
• those against us are still part of us: having differences is like a family discussion.