Negotiation Skills Company, Inc.
Negotiation Skills Company, Inc.

The Negotiation Skills Company -- Newsletter April 2003

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The occasional newsletter of
The Negotiation Skills Company, Inc. (TNSC)

Number 25, April 2003


The occasional newsletter of The Negotiation Skills Company, Inc. (TNSC)


The Anglo-American war to end Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq needs to be examined in the overall context of international negotiations. While there are an enormous number of agreements involving national governments on everything from how war is to be waged to environmental protection to tax treaties, the vast majority of agreements involving parties from different countries are about business.

As is the case in negotiations within organizations or even family groups, international negotiations require a multilateral approach if there is to be buy-in or willing agreement among the parties - whether the parties are political entities or businesses. A successful negotiation is a process by which parties reach an agreement each is committed to fulfill.

With business negotiations, parties work together to reach agreements that will add value to each organization's business. Added value may come from improved financial circumstances, better products or services, timelier deliveries, or expanded market opportunities.

A party that feels forced to do business with a specific entity can find it less burdensome if the business relationship aids their long-term interests in terms of other stakeholders, credibility, or relationships upon which success is based. Looking at each negotiation as an isolated incident may aid short-term decision-making, but can jeopardize potential long-term gains.

The situation of political entities may be viewed as parallel to sole-source suppliers or single customers for an organization's products or services. One has to deal with the parties as they are because no alternatives exist. In such circumstances it is crucial to consider the interests of other stakeholders in the situation. Conflict between existing political entities may lead to war - such as the Anglo-American actions in Iraq. However, with many other stakeholders directly or tangentially involved, the long-term consequences to relationships with countries that are not engaged in the armed conflict needs consideration at every stage in the process. For example, Turkey's interest in joining the European Union may have had an impact on its decision regarding the American desire to move forces through Turkey into northern Iraq.

In international negotiations, just as in the case of negotiations among tribes within a single corporation, the overall context must be given appropriate attention before the negotiations are undertaken or completed. Otherwise there is a risk to the parties that the negotiation will not yield a durable agreement.

International negotiations require careful preparation, a comprehension of cultural complexities, and sensitivity to the context in which negotiated agreements will be implemented. This is true in business as well as in the area of politics or other public sector decision-making. Remember that without buy-in, you haven't really got a deal.


The Spanish version of our textbook was launched in Spain first week of April. It will be available in Latin America by the end of June. The Spanish version's title is somewhat different from the English language book: "Keys To Negotiation. . . with the heart and the mind". Steve Cohen was interviewed on television and for several business publications as part of the introduction of the book in Madrid and Barcelona.

The Russian translation is virtually complete; we are waiting for publication dates of the two Chinese versions in Beijing and Taiwan.

One of TNSC's multinational clients, a name seen virtually every day in most parts of the world, circulated an internal memorandum calling The Negotiation Skills Company a "best of breed supplier" of training services.

"Speak softly, but carry a big stick." Theodore Roosevelt

Be well,
Steve Cohen
Steven P. Cohen

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