Negotiation: The essential core of commercial and social dynamics
Speaker Christopher Lennon has 30 years’ experience within the International oil and gas industry specialising in project management and commercial negotiation. Chris has kindly shared his thoughts on the importance of the ability to negotiate and how we often we are negotiating without realising it.
Negotiation: The essential core of commercial and social dynamics **
Society is a complex organism, consisting of many moving parts; actors and interfaces. It exists to provide structure and order to the lives of people. Humans, by their innate nature, are social creatures and the vast majority develop; operate and flourish when living within an ordered society. Perhaps though, this is the very essence of the dilemma that faces us. Society may appear to be ordered, or may be ordered in some specific parts, yet we may well find ourselves ‘lost’ or ‘adrift’ on the sea of life – in the midst of so many people, yet so alone. The advent and continued acceleration/development of technology, I believe, contributes directly towards the increasing isolation of many people. A key component of this is communication – people don’t talk any more – it appears (to the author) that people prefer to send texts or emails, rather than pick up the phone or go and see someone face to face for a chat or discussion. The downside to this is that people become less socially skilled and more uncomfortable in dealing with others in ‘live’ contexts. A further component of this process is that the scope for miscommunication and misunderstandings is greatly enhanced – leading to the manifestation of conflict.
A key driver within any society, including the world at large is commerce. Corporate entities now operate on a global scale – crossing societal boundaries and cultures on a 24/7 basis. They generate and create many of the key elements of society, from employment to the creation of wealth, to a sense of purpose, common/shared identity and aspirations for those who work within them. Commercial organisations mirror humanity in that they share many of the attributes of ‘life’. They are ‘born’ (come into being), grow and mature – developing into entities that have great influence and impact socially. Yet, many will not reach this stage, falling away and ceasing to exist – a shadow or a mere memory of something that was but no longer is – so commercial organisations themselves perish or fail to reach their full potential.
The Author believes that there is something omnipresent within the issues and ideas discussed above – something that operates at these boundaries and interfaces and affects the outcomes and end results of a billion interactions, something that is intangible, yet leads to tangible results. I’m talking about negotiation. Negotiation is both a social and a corporate creature. It is a process that often brings strangers together; operates within an uncertain environment and cannot have a known outcome. Yet, the author would suggest that negotiation itself is an inherent component to the psychological matrix of the human being – the subconscious concept translated into a conscious thought process – action leading to the creation of an idea or concept and this is what makes it powerful – very powerful. Negotiation has the ability to create value, to resolve conflict, to create something new. Negotiation is the central essence of communication, yet, the author would suggest that many of us are simply unaware of the fact that we each negotiate a myriad of times everyday of our lives, in uncountable variations, across multiple interfaces.
Perhaps by understanding and utilising the vehicle of negotiation to achieve its unrealised potential – to engage with others more fully and to understand the dynamic nature of the interaction between society; commerce and people, negotiation carries the promise to mitigate or perhaps remove conflict. If we can all understand our own positions of ‘self-interest’ and how these may be detrimental in our interactions with others- then it just might be possible to reach a newer, clearer understanding of all situations regardless of what particular aspect of life they might reflect.
Christopher Lennon is the Director of Stone Falcon Corporate and Legal Consulting Ltd and has 30 years’ experience within the International oil and gas industry specialising in project management and commercial negotiation. He is a speaker on project strategy and leadership; creating and leading high performance project teams; remote logistical operations and commercial negotiation .More info on Christopher can be found on his webpage
His book ‘The Silver Bullets of Commercial Negotiation: Strategies and Tactics’ is due for release early next year, published by Taylor and Francis/Routledge.
“In this book, Chris Lennon gives a balanced view on the various approaches and skill sets required during the negotiation process. His ability to focus on the key components plus the cultural and behavioural considerations that influence the way that a value proposition is both given and received, will have the reader identifying with their own personal experiences of perceived successes and failures and will be an excellent reference point for anyone looking to participate in the negotiation process on either a personal or business level.” Steve Johnson, MSc, FCIPS Chartered Ex Dip, FCILT, Group Commercial Director, TEXO
**Special thanks to Christopher Lennon for allowing us to publish this article.