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Apr 4, 2012

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Why you must meet your "Enemy" before & strategic meeting?

Sometimes during a strategic meeting, our projects are deferred or delayed to another session, because we cannot get enough support.
negotiation with adversary
  Regardless of the colossal work behind your presentation, solid arguments supported by evidence, and powerful charts, your adversary or opponent remains stuck to his or her guns, making it necessary to postpone the decision and the start of your project.

  What can you do? Should you be mad? Perhaps, but it won't solve anything. You must understand that you could have foreseen this situation and how important it is for you to meet your adversaries or opponents before a key meeting. Nevertheless, it is indispensable that this meeting is fruitful, so that whenever the company gathers to discuss about the project, at the end of the meeting, there is a decision. However, In order to do this; you need a strategy.

  It doesn't matter how much confidence you have or not with the person you will need to meet; you must always keep in mind that:

  1. Your goal is not to win an argument, but to understand the position of others. In order to be able to improve your project, gain support and prepare for the possible challenges that you will have to face.
  2. Taking into account the opinion of your adversaries or opponents on the development of your project, helps to reduce hostility and incentive negotiation.
  3. The transparency of your actions builds trust.
“Know your enemy and know yourself and you can fight a hundred battles without disaster.” - Sun Tzu 
Related article: Consider Your Alternatives before Fighting For a Niche  

Adversary or Opponent

  Peter Block, the author of “the Empowered Manager: Positive Political Skills at Work," says it is important to distinguish between our adversaries and opponents. Our opponents are those with whom despite having goals, objectives, criteria, or opposing views, we maintain a relationship of mutual trust. While our adversaries are those with whom we have not only different points of views but also low confidence.
There are only two people who can tell you the truth about yourself : an enemy who has lost his temper and a friend who loves you dearly.
  Note that when you contact either an opponent or an adversary, your goal is not to convince them, because they may have good reasons to disagree with you, but to understand their position. This means that this is not the time to argue. Instead, the only attitude that will bring you closer to your goal is that of listening. By understanding the needs and constraints of your opponent - and its group - you will be able to improve the overall discussion of your project and search for a negotiated solution acceptable to both of you.

Dealing with Opponents

  We must be grateful to those who oppose us in a reliable and honest way, because they give us a picture of reality and viability of our plans. The role of our opponents is to challenge us, which contributes to strengthen and improve our strategies.

 Here are the steps to be followed when negotiating with opponents:

  • Reaffirm the relationship: Tell your opponents how much you value their honest opinion, because it is what you need.
  • Express your position: reveal to your opponents the vision, objectives and goals you are trying to achieve, and the details of the project of which you want to discuss with them.
  • Demonstrate comprehension: Not only, you should be aware of their position, but also you should understand it and express positively (in a neutral way) about how you perceive it.
  • Commit and provide solutions: Negotiate with your opponents the steps to follow in order to achieve the objectives of your project. Knowing that you have a solid relationship with them, you will find a way to reach an agreement. 
  To apply this strategy, it is necessary that we openly communicate to your opponents your vision and foundations. Exchange with them and use their approaches to strengthen, or modify your criteria. Finally, "negotiate" with them to support of your projects, which sometimes could be through their relationship with your adversaries.

Dealing with Adversaries

  The adversaries are, in some ways the most attractive and interesting people with whom we deal. They are those that consume a significant portion of our psychic energy and time. They are the people, in the organization, with which the negotiations have failed.

  Those whom we tend to call adversaries are actually people who we do not trust. Many times we identify other as adversaries when, in fact, we had few contacts with them. The first step that we must take is to find out if they really deserve that name. The only way to do it is trough the direct contact with them. Therefore, we need to tell them our vision, our purpose and our goals, ask for their support and await their response.

  • Communicate your intentions: Let your opponent know what you are trying to do and why. This is our last hope that reason, and good intentions have a persuasive effect. Generally, we know that the resistance of our adversaries, often has nothing to do with the rational, but we must make one last effort.
  • Recognize your errors and the opinion of others: Accept that others may have another point of view does not mean that you agree with them. However, through the comprehension, you generate empathy, which helps reduce confrontation. In addition, you must acknowledge your negative behaviors (this does not make you weaker, on the contrary, makes you stronger), and if you work on them, you will improve the relationship.
  • Show your cards: Let the transparency of your actions generate authority, do not try to surprise your opponents, on the contrary, reveal them your plans. This will create one last opportunity to reach an agreement. If it doesn’t work, at least, this allows you to know what could be the objections that you must face and, therefore, for which you must prepare.
  The first-hand knowledge, you have acquired from your opponent, will help you to prepare for the strategic meeting. Now you are aware of the possible criticisms and arguments of your opponents, and you got ready for them. However, the game is not yet won, so give your best during the presentation.