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After the Ink Dries...Fulfilling the Promises

By John D. Baker

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Having negotiated many agreements and implemented more than a few of those arrangements, I know that preparation for the implementation of complex agreements must be a part of the negotiator's folder throughout the negotiation process. I know also that this vital function is frequently barely mentioned and more often ignored by most negotiation skills guides. This essay addresses that critical need for the negotiator to recognize and actively incorporate preparatory implementation work for the achievement of complex agreements during the negotiation itself.

The negotiation process is well-defined by the writings of scores of practitioners and scholars. With rare exceptions, most authors define the negotiation process as a series of phases beginning with planning and concluding either with the secession of participation by one or more of the parties or with the agreement of the parties to take some action or refrain from doing something in the future. Negotiations, therefore, are future-oriented and their deliverables are also.

Complex negotiation agreements are almost always memorialized by written documents, signed by representatives of the parties. Most negotiations, however, are simple, sealed not by written contracts, but by oral statements or physical gestures. Since most negotiations are simple ones, they generally work quite well, requiring only the performance of simple acts: I pay you X amount and you receive a designated item, is the norm for most of our daily deals.

The fulfillment of the complex agreement is quite different than the simple one. Here, deliverables may require changes in methods and procedures, integration and training of personnel, creation or modification of data systems, and significant investment in resource time and capital. The number and cost of implementation items may be extensive and expensive. After the ink on the contract dries, fulfilling the promises in the document may prove anything but a simple next step.

After the Ink Dries...Fulfilling the Promises by John D. Baker


Copyright © 2014 John D. Baker
Copyright ©   2014  The Negotiator Magazine
The Negotiator Magazine  September 2014