With Wikileaks leaking U.S. government secret and sensitive communications, the question becomes, how susceptible to leaks are your negotiation plans, strategies, and secrets?
Governments and corporations around the world guard their secrets before a negotiation. The reason being, the more adept they are at creating a negotiation plan that’s not encumbered by outsiders knowing their strategy, the higher the probability that they’ll achieve a successful negotiation outcome.
Like governments and corporations, when you negotiate, the plans and strategies you create determine how successful your outcome might be, too. Thus, if the other negotiator is aware of your strategy, he can thwart your efforts, while enhancing his own.
How can you protect yourself, your business and/or corporation before and during a negotiation, to keep your negotiation plans a secret? Consider the following:
1. You can prevent your negotiation secrets from being leaked by restricting those that have access to the information and the flow of information that stems from the negotiation, once it begins.
2. When contemplating how you might protect your negotiation secrets, consider all of the environments in which such information might be compromised and put safe guards in place to prevent it.
3. You can also prevent leaks of your real plans by creating misdirection. This entails creating a false negotiation plan that’s strategically placed in areas that the opposing negotiator might frequent. In essence, allow your negotiation plans to be left in places where the other negotiator can be find them. Having thought they’ve uncovered your negotiation strategy and plans, the other negotiator will more than likely create a strategy to combat yours. Such an act will put them at a disadvantage, due to the misguided input upon which they’ll base their strategies.
4. Prior to the official negotiation, dependent upon how sensitive the information that you do not wish to have disclosed, you can negotiate with the other negotiator for what can and can’t be used during the negotiation. Be aware that you may have to pay a high price for such consideration, but if you’re in damage control mode, the price you pay may be worth the outcome. As an example, with the U.S. government and Wikileaks, the U.S. government could have requested that Wikileaks not leak sensitive data, had that been an option prior to information being leaked.
Suffice it to say, if you’re astute at creating your negotiation plans and protecting its content from peeking eyes, you’ll be much further along the path of a successful negotiation outcome … and everything will be right with the world. Remember, you’re always negotiating.
“Only an unwise man allows others to see what is of true value to him, when he knows that true value should be hidden.” – Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator
The Negotiation Tips Are …
- You can never be too cautious with your negotiation plans. The better you conceal your real negotiation efforts, until the proper time to disclose them, the better positioned you’ll be throughout the negotiation.
- One way to gain insight into the other negotiator’s plans is to use misdirection. Misdirection occurs when you give the impression that one covenant of the negotiation has more value (that which you’re less interested in) than that of your real goal.
- If your negotiation plans become compromised, due to leaks, consider postponing the negotiation until you’ve created a new plan that alters your former strategy. Don’t be dogmatic and forge forward with your compromised negotiation plan. If you do, you may be walking headlong into dangerous territory.