Add Your PerspectiveDecember 9, 2009
Last week we discussed why a small group is usually a better audience for bad news in Delivering Bad News: How Big Is Your Conference Room? Yet if small group delivery is not an option, what else can you do to get a difficult message across? Three tactics come to mind.
Long Before the Mediation Starts. Last year I wrote Managing Expectations: An Unexpected Lesson on the Bus to Hertz, and the lesson holds true in conference rooms, too. Not so long ago I had a case against an online retailer whose CEO enjoyed an irrational confidence in his case. With our mediation just a month away, I knew we had to move the CEO much closer to reality to get the case settled. Rather than surprise him at mediation with documents and bad facts he hadn’t yet seen — like the guys in my post last week did to me — I spent a great deal of time More…
2 PerspectivesDecember 4, 2009
The conference table had 40 chairs, and my client’s team filled almost half of them. We had been asked to show up with the folks needed to get a deal done, and the backchannel weekend chatter had all been positive. As the meeting began, our optimism crashed as the other side went on the attack, denying my client’s most important request and questioning why it had ever been included.
People usually need to hear the truth whether it’s convenient or not, but there’s more than one one way to convey a difficult message. How often have you seen someone delight in dropping bad news onto the conference table as the meeting begins? The adrenaline rush might satisfy some, but does this approach do any good?
Thank You for Your Interest
The lawyer who delivered the bad news to my team that day prided himself in his aggressive persona, and his performance was true to his reputation. Unfortunately his glee was short-lived; my team and I worked night and day to More…
1 PerspectiveJune 18, 2009
How do you negotiate with your neighbor as your tree sits on his roof? The subject line only read “Tree Down,” but I began to wonder. The irony wasn’t lost on me as I scanned the rest of the message. A storm, our tree, our neighbor’s house, and a scramble to respond — all as I sat in a seminar on advanced dispute resolution techniques two time zones away. I was soon reminded of a valuable lesson in negotiation that most people never get: Do you even negotiate at all?
What’s Your First Move?
I have cited all manner of negotiation textbooks on this site, from Getting to Yes to Start with No and beyond — but if your answer to the question “What’s your first move?” was anything other than “Get the tree off his house,” take a deep More…
4 PerspectivesFebruary 21, 2009
As I write this I’m on yet another plane ride, but this one’s different. I’m flying home following some of the most intense, important negotiations I’ll ever be a part of. This isn’t a post about the details of our negotiations, since it’ll never be appropriate to write about most of those. Today I write simply to ask for your patience, because I won’t be posting much for the next month or two.
The Plan and the Filing
In case you haven’t heard, my company, BearingPoint, Inc., reached an agreement in principle with its senior secured lenders to restructure the Company’s debt on Wednesday. The Company’s press release with further details can be found here and the Wall Street Journal’s coverage of the story can be found here, but the high points are: More…