Like most, I have watched the show on Capitol Hill for the last couple of weeks with amusement, irritation – and yes, some fascination.
You see, in my career I have been part of many a technology negotiation. I have seen blustering, screaming, mind games of every ilk so what was happening in DC seemed surreal.
Sounds boring, but to me all the negotiation tips and tactics you may have read about fade compared to the power of three negotiation tools – intelligence, competition and time.
The more benchmarks and verifiable facts you can bring to a negotiation, the more convincing you are. That helps in a game of bluster. The more competition you can bring to bear, the more you let the market do the negotiation for you. Finally, there are plenty of people who like to make the sales person “sweat at quarter end”. Personally, I like to negotiate months in advance to give the vendors plenty of time to be creative and for my side to not make a rushed decision.
I would have loved to be an negotiation member on the Republican side over the last few months. I think they got boxed into a time corner this weekend, when they had 18 months to formulate their own solutions. I thought they allowed various members to make emotional C-Span format speeches aimed at their constituents back home, when the messaging should have been analytical, fact based and centrally coordinated.
Of course, what transpired in DC was not just a one-on-one negotiation. Speaker Boehner was negotiating as much with his Right Wing as he was with President Obama. The Senate was irritated with the House for having to come back over the holidays. The negotiations in some ways have only just begun as we get into much more heated sequestering decisions.
For this student of negotiations it should be a really interesting period. Technology negotiations are so much easier especially with our stupid salesperson tricks :)