In Focus: Negotiating Teams & Coalitions

In Focus: Negotiating Teams & Coalitions

What role will negotiation teams and coalitions have in the World Health Organization (WHO) negotiating a global Pandemic Treaty?

On May 3, 2021, the WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, "The one recommendation that I believe will do most to strengthen both WHO and global health security is the recommendation for a treaty on pandemic preparedness and response."

On November 29, 2021, the Ministers from the WHO's 194 member states plan to meet and decide whether to start negotiations on the pandemic treaty. If the treaty negotiations do commence they will also involve a multitude of coalitions and negotiation teams. So how do you manage coalitions and negotiation teams, who might seek to obstruct and delay by using tactics that include adding new issues, withholding information, and preventing proposals or votes from gaining momentum?

Firstly, start by looking for ways to create a narrative that is mutual and neutral, which Tedros did in his statement, "We need to turn that very thing that has exposed us in this pandemic, our interconnectedness, we need to turn that into a strength," 

Secondly, meet early and often prior to the formal negotiations to jointly design the negotiation process and to understand how areas of differing interests and mistrust can be made more manageable. Also consider agreeing to let the lead negotiators caucus in private, or with an agreed intermediary. This way additional process options become available, allowing for the sharing of information about underlying interests, and the creation of face saving options for any deadlocks.

Thirdly, when designing a negotiation team, aim, as a minimum, to have two lead negotiators; one with the experience and knowledge to manage ‘what’ the negotiation is about, and a second with the situational awareness and behaviours to collaboratively support ‘how’ the negotiation is being managed.

Considering that it took the WHO four years of negotiations to agree on an international health treaty on Tobacco Control, agreement on a global pandemic treaty is not likely to happen quickly. Let’s hope that humanity’s common ground and a well-designed negotiation process can result in a Global Pandemic Treaty. Its success will help to remove the vulnerabilities that caused this pandemic, and by doing so will have also reduced the risk of future global pandemics. 

Quick tips – Managing Coalitions

  • Issue a joint communique which commits to an agreed process that is framed as mutual and neutral. 
  • Build and maintain rapport by anchoring and revisiting the common ground.
  • Map backwards as the other side to understand how they would manage the negotiation process and what would be needed to get them to say ‘yes’ to you!

Archive  

Avoiding Buyer's Remorse: Knowing when to close

Breaking deadlocks: AFL resolves stalemate

Changing Perceptions: Shane Warne recalls advice

Collaborating to create value: Power to the people

Creating points of influence: Russell Crowe gets his leading lady

Creating strong alternatives: Flying fresh milk to China

Cultural mindsets: SONY Walkman designed for harmony

Defining Fairness: US German trade negotiations

Difficult conversations: Thalidomide sufferers seek empathy

Elon Musk: When to Negotiate

Engaging the enemy: US and Taliban peace talks

Finding common ground: US Firearm reforms

Gun tragedies: We hear you

Hostage negotiations: A frontline perspective

Identity needs: Tobacco now a nobody

Influencing timelines: The brave new world of regulators

In Focus: Managing Power Imbalances

In Focus: Measuring negotiation costs

In Focus: Negotiating Teams & Coalitions

In Focus: Negotiating with agents

In Focus: The authentic negotiator

Leadership without authority: Reducing domestic violence

Managing COVID-19 Renegotiations

Managing uncertainty: New freeway gets a red light

Mindsets: It’s a choice!

Negotiation preparation: Prime Minster wins election

Negotiation styles: Managing aggressive behaviours

Price haggling: Strategies to position value

Problem Solving: Calm in the cockpit

Problem Solving: Delivering outcomes

Restoring relationships: Saying sorry

Setting the scene: Automotive executives fly into a storm

Shaping mindsets: AVIS We try harder

Taylor Swift: Giving others a voice

The power of language: A statement or a question?

Timing concessions: Bangladesh factory tragedy

Traits of skilled negotiators: Nelson Mandela

Verifying trust: World soccer cup and gulf of Mexico oil spill


Topics