Negotiation - Key Skill?? What else can I develop?

Ashokk N Menon
November 14, 2023

"The number 1 procurement skill that people should develop is negotiation", said a category manager in answer to a job interviewer’s question.

She’s not the only one to think this way..

Many executives would agree.

After all, negotiation is cool!

Being a ‘good negotiator’ is how deals get done!

But what about all the work that goes into even setting up a negotiation?

Is that included in the “negotiation” skillset?

I’m talking data, analytics, and testing hypotheses.

I’m talking the persuasion skills necessary to even get stakeholders to come sit at the table.

And what if you’re in a fragmented market?

How will that change the way you get to a negotiation?

How about a consolidated market, where your options for leverage are limited?

How can you drive outcomes there?

What about times when a stakeholder or team member is disgruntled, and doesn’t even want to have a conversation?

Will pure negotiation skills help there?

And how do you negotiation with a person who seems ethically off balance?

How do lying, cheating, intimidating, bribing, and blackmailing fit into your negotiation strategy?

Hint: pretending like you’ll never run into the above situations is not a strategy.

Negotiation is important.

Nothing gets done until a deal is negotiated.

But at the same time, ignoring everything else surrounding the negotiation is a huge mistake.

BTW... the category manager from the beginning of this post? Didn’t get the job.

About the Author
Ashokk N Menon

For more than 20 years, Ashok has led procurement both in industry and as a consultant. In executing over 100 projects for global brands, he discovered a passion for developing the talents of people early in their procurement careers and unlocking significant benefits for companies and executives