Words

Rethinking Supplier Pricing: Target Price or Test Balloon?

My client was preparing to make a counteroffer to a vendor asking them to reduce their price, when an announcement to close a division of my client’s organization was made public.  The closure impacts the vendor’s relationship with the organization, but doesn’t eliminate the relationship. My client’s line-of-business stakeholders are demanding price reductions, but at […]

Buyers Do Not Really Want Innovation: They Want Significant Improvements.

Asking your suppliers for innovation—or transformation—is a tall order and few suppliers accept the challenge. I think I know why. Innovation transforms something, whether a process or a machine. It is more than an incremental improvement—saving “fingers and toes” worth of time, effort or money. Innovation is, I believe, disruptive, as opposed to continuous improvements […]

Managing the Rogue Stakeholder

A stakeholder said in front of the supplier during negotiations, “What the hell does ‘G.S.’ (V.P. of Sourcing) have to do with my deal!?” My coaching client and I had to regain control of the conversation immediately. In this article I’ll explain what we did and ask you to consider what you would have done […]

Getting to We: The Guiding Principles

There are six relationship principles that drive the Getting to We mindset in both negotiating the relationship and in the subsequent operation of the partnership. These guiding principles tell the parties how to act within the relationship. In earlier posts I’ve talked about the importance of trust and the necessary steps needed to build and […]

Shared Vision and Guiding Principles

Getting to We is a process. After partners assess the levels of trust and compatibility between two partners, and agree that there is enough trust and compatibility, they are ready to move on to the next step in the process: developing a shared vision for the relationship. It is vital that the parties view each […]

Assessing Trust and Compatibility

Accurately assessing trust and compatibility is not easy. It is often one-sided: a buying company will evaluate a supplier’s trustworthiness without understanding the supplier’s perceptions of the buying company’s trustworthiness. That’s why professors Gerald Ledlow and Karl Manrodt developed the Compatibility and Trust Assessment TM (CaT) to measure the strength of a business relationship across […]

TCO vs. TSS: They Serve Different Functions

Recently, a newer employee working in supply chain at a public utility asked me the following: “What is the difference between a Total Cost of Ownership and Total Supplier Spend? We need to cut costs next year and there is a line in the supplier’s scorecard for TCO but I don’t know what it means.” […]

How to Bring Counterpart Redlines to the Law Dept. for Review

Recently I received this email from a coaching client, who is a contract administrator on the buy-side. His concerns and my advice are applicable to sales-side contracting too. How do I intelligently bring the contractor’s exceptions (to our master agreement) to the Law Dept. for review? I have this impression that the Law Dept. wants […]

Getting to We: All About Trust, Transparency and Compatibility

Getting to We is a book about negotiating. It is not, however, a typical negotiation book when compared to the hundreds of other negotiation books. It is a book that opens the way to developing a new mindset and process for negotiating business relationships where it’s the success of the relationship that matters most. And […]

Negotiating Agreements for Highly Collaborative Relationships

It’s time for a new approach and mindset for contract negotiations, time to leave the old me-first, I-win-you-lose strategy far behind, replaced by highly collaborative partnerships. What if the agreement you negotiated was more than just a short-term, legalese-burdened piece of paper specifying a bunch of transactions, terms and conditions, self-interested risk avoidance provisions and […]