Your negotiation ensures good conditions for the project

06. January 2019John Ryding Olsson

In projects everything is negotiable – are you aware of that?

Consider your latest project. How would it have turned out, if you had the relevant resources, if the participants had been able to put in the necessary work at the right time, if you didn’t have to yield to certain stakeholders’ requests? In every one of these situations you might have been able to negotiate a better situation and thereby a better project result. Negotiation is a vital part of project management and you are in a negotiation situation every single day.

Experienced negotiators know that in order to be effective you have to exaggerate your demands. There are five good reasons for this:

  • Maybe your demands are met.
  • It leaves room for negotiation.
  • It increases the perceived value of what you are offering.
  •  It prohibits negotiations from reaching a deadlock.
  •  It creates a context where your counterpart feels she’s winning.

Use the negotiator’s 10 commandments:

  • Realize what is important to you and where you can resign.
  • Always let your counterpart make the first offer – then you know her expectations.
  • Think win-win. Make your first offer high so you will be able to decrease.
  • If your counterpart says: ”This I cannot accept”, you ask: “What can you accept then?”
  • Appear shocked over your counterparts offer – emotions are important too.
  • Remember it is give and take, otherwise your are not being serious.
  • Never split the difference fifty-fifty.
  • Invent creative compromises which benefit both parties.
  • Avoid conflict escalating behaviour.
  • If your counterpart has a conflict escalating behaviour you can point out that this approach is unpleasant – not the person.

Be hard on the issue – and soft on the people. Separate the person from the issue. Good relations don’t necessarily force you to be Mr. Nice Guy. Your responsibility is the project result!


"Sometimes it's a little bit like being a politician. We have work to do in understanding our users' sentiments."

- Meg Whitman

Who is airborn leadership?

As a project manager I have always lacked a platform where I could click in and get inspiration, relevant knowledge and concrete tools, regardless of time and place. A wireless toolbox where knowledge came to me through the air. A help that could give me a much needed boost in my current challenge.

You have never been more important as a project manager. Projects are the engine in developing a better business, new products, improvements in society and the global transformation to sustainable energy and production. Your leadership is therefore crucial. As a leader and project manager, you are the tool that creates the results.

I hope airborn leadership can be your gateway to knowledge within project management, no matter what journey you are on.

John Ryding Olsson Founder & author
John Ryding Olsson Founder & author John Ryding Olsson

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