Individual skills are not sufficient. Public servants can operate more effectively with negotiation embedded as a core organisational competency. Case studies, simulations, audits, negotiation scans, M&E and peer reviews are powerful tools for learning.
A negotiation scan combines quantitative and qualitative analysis and, where possible, brief individual case studies to produce a team or organisation-wide assessment of the specific negotiation challenges that staff encounter in their internal and external negotiation processes.
Case-based learning and simulations
Exclusively and confidentially produced for public sector agencies or non-profits, case studies describe the substance, process, relationship and contextual dynamics in one specific time-limited negotiation. Usually the case selected contains various elements prevalent in other negotiations carried out by the agency. So-called autopsy cases can be used for internal analysis, debate and reflection on best practices. So-called decision-cases are designed for use in negotiation trainings: participants are put in the shoes of case protagonists and under guidance by an experienced instructor debate the best course of action.
Negotiation simulations go one step further and ask trainees to take on a specific role for the duration of the simulation. The simulation design is structured around a predetermined set of specific negotiation learning objectives. Simulations can be derived from actual case studies or be entirely invented around familiar negotiation challenges. Under the guidance of an experienced instructor they are exceedingly useful to practice, analyse and evaluate team and individual skills in a save environment.
A pre-negotiation audit concerns an assessment of an ongoing preparatory stage for a negotiation process. It assesses the link between negotiation objectives and the strategy, process and human resource planning devoted to meeting them.
Monitoring & Evaluation (M&E)
Negotiation M&E approaches one clearly demarcated negotiation process or project, compares (intermediate) actual results to planned objectives, and where applicable suggests course corrections in negotiation or project management strategy. M&E is often required in externally or internally financed projects that tackle negotiation skills and combines quantitative with qualitative and anecdotal evidence.
A peer review process allows for enhanced learning between peers, who are either internal or external professionals that were not involved in the set-up and execution of a (negotiation) project. A well facilitated peer review process will engage teams in constructive self-critique and internal debate in addition to the external insights offered by peers. Peer reviews can allow for a deeper means of learning and a broader application of lessons compared to formal M&E reports.
ORGANISATIONS THAT LOOK PAST NEGOTIATION AS A CORE COMPETENCY DO SO AT THEIR OWN PERIL
Hallam Movius & Larry Susskind