Good cooperation has a friendly, peaceful character. But don’t let yourself be fooled. Even in cooperations, everyone fights for their optimal positioning. Success depends on the availability of good arguments and negotiating skills. But strategic and tactical skills also play a major role in negotiation situations. Good preparation for the negotiation, preparation and presence of all available facts, and experience in the application of game theory modelscan make negotiations more successful, not necessarily only for you, but often for all parties involved.
In cooperations, the commons principle applies. Only what is jointly generated can be distributed. If everyone only draws from available resources, no market performance is achieved with which the cooperation partners can successfully exist in the market. The orientation of all cooperation partners to the common goal must be constantly kept in balance with the natural orientation to individual goals. This can succeed if, in analogy to employer branding, awareness of the common opportunities is raised and trust is fostered. Try to think of doing business together with your collaborative partners as if it were happening as one unit.
Example: A jewelry manufacturer in Idar-Oberstein sold 50% of their jewelry to a chain of retail stores specializing in jewelry. Out-of-stock items were regularly returned from the stores to the jewelry manufacturer for reworking. The management of the distribution chain asked the jewelry manufacturer to produce jewelry that was more in line with the market and to initiate measures to significantly increase sales to the distribution chain. The jewelry manufacturer could not think of many ideas to do this. They were already doing what was possible, but were too far away from the end customers.
The breakthrough came with the idea of treating the joint business process like a business. This gave rise to the idea of having designers from the jewelry manufacturer visit the stores in the distribution chain to learn about common products, while at the same time providing the sales staff with more product know-how. The idea of “one unit” also had an impact on authority. No longer will the buyers allocate the jewelry in the future, but the store managers will be made responsible for ordering. The concept worked. Sales increased noticeably and the number of reworkings dropped significantly.
Sometimes it is advisable to redefine traditional roles in cooperative ventures.
But negotiations will always be carried out, even if it is only about sharing the jointly acquired “booty”. That is why it is useful to acquire or develop negotiation techniques. It is very important in negotiations to be comfortable in yourself and not to be forced into negotiations. Consider and emphasize the common goal in negotiations without neglecting your own interests. Create a trusting atmosphere for negotiating.
The most successful negotiations are those in which all cooperation partners benefit fairly from the outcome of the negotiation. In such cases, constructive long-term cooperation can be expected. If one or more of the cooperation partners feels disadvantaged, they are more likely to circumvent agreements in order to “get” their fair share. The overall result usually suffers as a result.
The supreme discipline is to also allow the general public to benefit from the collaborative outcome, not just the collaborative partners involved. Think of joint projects that, as a result, have less of an impact on the environment than is the case today. Also include such projects in your corporate communications and incorporate them into your CSR measures and into your employer branding.