Negotiation Insights

A resource of quick tips and analysis of highly effective, real life negotiation strategies.

Influencing timelines: The brave new world of regulators

When rapid technological changes combine with entrepreneurship, and a generation that challenges conventions, regulators can find themselves under intense pressure to implement quick solutions to new situations. In this issue of Negotiation Insights we look at ways to influence and control the negotiation timeline.

The ability to make informed decisions when circumstances are rapidly changing is a challenge now confronting regulators worldwide. Two topical examples come to mind.

Drone technology, which is creating concerns for citizens who want aerial privacy rights over their properties, and law enforcement agencies, who want laws to deter the use of drone technology to transport and smuggle illicit drugs.

Uber, who by applying a business model that connects consumers directly with the choice of a self-employed driver, have disrupted the taxi industry, resulting in a loss of market share to the taxi cartels and their demands that the regulators take action to prevent Uber from trading.

What makes these examples problematic for regulators is that their ability to control a discussion’s conceptual framework is impeded by the speed of change, and by stakeholders who can have differing interests and want immediate action. In addition, the information being considered is imperfect, which makes it difficult for regulators to apply past precedents and justify decisions without looking subjective.

Whether you’re a business or a regulator, there are many ways you can influence how a negotiation’s issues are sequenced and the timeline is paced. Understanding these process options creates the opportunity for tactical advantages, and, more importantly, can improve how the parties involved jointly problem solve. Depending on your goal, our quick tips offer examples of how to either speed up or slow down a negotiation.

Quick tips – Ways to increase control of a negotiation’s timeline

  • Ways to speed up the timeline include: have outcome clarity, have an agreed agenda, remove issues, involve those with authority, share information, submit multiple proposals early in the process to establish preferences, and if you have a strong alternative make a final offer that is time constrained.
  • Ways to slow down the timeline include: introduce new issues, involve those without authority, create working groups and committees, create draft agreements for socialising with stakeholders, and withhold concessions, information and/or resources.