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Strategic Objective in a Negotiation

3. What is a “strategic objective” in a negotiation?

Effective strategic planning will incorporate an orientation and method for achieving a particular outcome or objective. Notably, the motivation to negotiate and the sources of power in a negotiation relate closely to the methods for achieving a strategic objective. Recall, a strategic objective is more broad than a desire for a specific outcome. It encompasses the means or method for effectuating the strategy. Further, tactics are used to achieve the objective in a manner consistent with the strategic orientation. You will notice how these strategic objectives are closely related to the drivers of a strategic orientation.

• Claiming Value – Claiming value is a hallmark of a distributive negotiation. It focuses on securing value for oneself at all costs (namely at the expense of the other party). This strategy generally leads to a loss of value in an integrative negotiation.

• Interests vs Positions – Parties may attempt to address the needs and interests (not positions) of all parties. Understanding the other party’s priorities are not the same as your own is a cornerstone of effective negotiation.

• Free Flow of Information – Recall that parties selectively disclose information about themselves to, in turn, extract information about the other party. This tactic seeks to uncover information that can be a source of power in the negotiation. Notably, fostering the free flow of information in a negotiation promotes the development of good integrative solutions. In contrast, a willingness to share information is not a characteristic of distributive negotiations.

• Commonalities – Focus on emphasizing the commonalities between the parties and minimizing the differences. This approach can generate empathy, and emotional connection, and a cooperative orientation in the parties.

• Options for Mutual Gain – Search for solutions that meet the needs and objectives of both sides, which is critical to the success of an integrative negotiation. Be wary of competitive behavior that seeks to diminish mutual gain.

• Discussion: Can you provide an example of a strategic objective that is not listed explained in this example? Can you explain how a strategic objective relates to strategic orientation and tactics?

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