Mike Hourigan, Nationally Acclaimed Change Management Speaker

Change Management is All-About Negotiation

As a change management speaker, both in my virtual and in-person talks, I tell my audiences that navigating change is all about negotiation. It is your life skills that let you frame the negotiation. Let me give you an unfortunate, but worthwhile example.

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a Disease. How We Face it is a Negotiation.

We are currently locked in a battle against an unseen foe: the COVID-19 virus. Not surprising, I get many fear-ridden questions during my virtual and face-to-face talks as to how the medical community is facing up to the threat.

“Don’t you think they were caught completely flat-footed?” asked one audience member. “Don’t you think they had no idea what to do?” asked another.

No, and emphatically no!

The medical community has indeed encountered the need to navigate a sudden change of great magnitude. They had to summon incredible power and sound the alarm of action, but they knew they were dealing with a virus and not Godzilla or the boogeyman.

If you are prepared, navigating change allows your life skills to let you frame the negotiation. Each first responder, nurse, physician, respiratory therapist, virologist, pharmaceutical research team and on and on had the life skills to allow them to do their part. Each knew what they could and couldn’t do. There is tremendous strength in that. Each “paving stone” on the road to annihilating the disease sees that negotiating the virus is not a “death sentence,” rather than a negotiating point that must be overcome.

Negotiate from Your Strength
Using the same scenario as above, let’s use a softer example. Let us imagine you are the vice president of production for the Easter Bunny Candy Company, “Marshmallows are Magnificent” Your boss informs you that a major venture capital company has put an acquisition candidate in front of him, the Cutie Pie Cotton Candy Conglomerate. She is enthused and had board approval to buy it. She wants to know how long it would take your department to ship in the conglomerate’s machinery, get it running, test it, start a packaging line and work with sales to get it into the pipeline. With a straight face she asks if four months is possible.

Now, you know all about marshmallows, but nothing about cotton candy – except from when you were a kid. But you do have the life skills to negotiate this change. You’ve seen a similar situation when you were in the ravioli business and they aquired the ricotta factory.

This is nothing you cannot handle.
However, as production manager you know there were things you cannot negotiate even if you are the best negotiation skills training speaker. For example, to negotiate with a shipping company, the packaging people, the QA people, the temporary agency to bring in extra help. However, there are people on staff who do have that experience.

Each person who can help make that happen is right there, ready to be called upon to ensure the overall objective is satisfactorily reached. Your strength is in pulling together the entire team and in allowing them to negotiate their part of the picture. Of course, I am simplifying, but navigating the changes in our lives, both work and personal is all about negotiation.
Success is often in knowing what we cannot do and negotiating with the right people to help us get it done.

Mike Hourigan, nationally acclaimed negotiation skills speaker is available for customized podcasts, real-time video conferencing and in-person events. For more information call  Mike at: (704) 875-3030 or by filling out the form on this page.

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    Mike does much more than present one-of-a-kind keynote speeches - he provides fun and fact filled breakout sessions as well as dynamic training programs for numerous organizations like Marriott, Disney, Harley-Davidson and even the U.S. Army.