As I am writing this, I realize that many of you are responsible for or involved in leading a company through the COVID19 crisis and recovery. You carry a burden that most people do not realize – the burden of keeping your company alive, providing for your team, and overcoming feelings of helplessness to make good decisions. You don’t have the luxury of sitting back and seeing how or when this will blow over. As a leader, you must meet this one full on…it’s the price of leading. It’s not about being comfortable or whether you like it.
These are incredibly difficult times!
In addition to the challenge of executing most, if not all, of our business communication virtually, we are facing other new challenges as a result of the virus. As I have been coaching my Asian clients to navigate these challenges, I can’t help but know that the same issues will be (or are already) coming our way here in the US. Companies are struggling to survive. Customers cannot pay, vendors cannot deliver, employees are scared to work and scared not to work. Nothing seems certain and business leaders feel stuck between a rock and a hard place.
To come out on top, we will all have to re-negotiation many of our agreements. While doing so, here are 3 things you can do to get what is best for your company without unnecessary compromise:
- Slow Down! – Fight the temptation to move fast. Overreaction can be just as detrimental as inaction. Slow, deliberative, well-planned strategies are key to negotiating with suppliers and vendors.
- Prepare – Do research. Develop a valid mission and purpose with which to guide you in all negotiations with your negotiation counterpart. This mission and purpose should be robust enough to help you with every decision – what to say “yes” to and what to say “no” to.
- Overcommunicate – Prioritize frequent, concise, calm, communication with suppliers, vendors, and your team. Lead with empathy and compassion while you keep your company safe. Avoid using threats and falling back on force majeure to get out of agreements. Instead, use this opportunity to create and strengthen collaborative relationships. Remember that when the crisis is over you will need your clients, suppliers, and employees. Whenever possible, provide everyone with a vision of hope and a better future.
If you are interested in learning more about negotiation, join Gary Noesner, Chief, FBI Crisis Negotiation Unit (Retired), Jeff Mitchell, and I on April 17 for a virtual workshop [https://www.88owls.com/events (RBTC discount code CRCTennant2)].