Free Negotiation Assessment Tool | Confident Negotiator Podcast #1

By RED BEAR February 8, 2024 | 11 min read

In this premiere episode of The Confident Negotiator podcast, join Rob Cox (RED BEAR's Chief Marketing Officer) and Brandon Wilson (RED BEAR's Director of Client Engagement) as they delve into the transformative world of negotiation.

Discover the power of RED BEAR's newly launched Organizational Negotiation Assessment tool, designed to elevate your team's negotiation capabilities to world-class levels. Brandon shares invaluable insights on identifying negotiation strengths and areas for improvement, the common threads among successful negotiators, and the critical importance of planning and tension management in negotiation success.

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Click Here To Find Out Where Your Organization Stands

Transcription of the Video:

Rob Cox: Are you a world-class negotiator? It's time to find out. Hello, everyone, and welcome to the Confident Negotiator Podcast. Today, we're discussing how to assess your team's negotiation skills. I'm Rob Cox, and with me today is RED BEAR's Director of Client Engagement, Brandon Wilson. Brandon's here to chat about our new Organizational Negotiation Assessment tool and what everyone can take away from it. Brandon, how are you today?

Brandon Wilson: Doing great, Rob. Thanks for asking me to join you today, and I'm excited to be making my podcast debut, so I'm looking forward to it.

Rob Cox: Well, thanks so much for making time, Brandon. I'm excited about what we're talking about today. Now, Brandon, RED BEAR just launched the Organizational Negotiation Assessment. What is it, and why are we launching it?

Brandon Wilson: The Negotiation Assessment is a series of 20 questions where you rate your organization on a scale of one to five in terms of its effectiveness across various aspects of negotiation. Each question corresponds to a key component critical to negotiation success. We're launching it as a simple, easy-to-use tool that leaders can utilize to gain an awareness of where they currently stand in comparison to other organizations. If answered honestly, it will clearly identify specific areas where they may be lacking, along with areas where they may be performing extremely well in terms of their overall negotiation performance.



Rob Cox: That's great. It sounds like a great tool for organizations. Now, I know you and a lot of the members of the RED BEAR team spent a lot of time creating this. What all went into creating the negotiation assessment? What's in those 20 questions that people will be answering?

Brandon Wilson: So, the assessment starts with understanding your organization's performance in each of the key components of negotiation, which includes process, model, and tools. Primarily, what's behind those 20 questions is obtaining that understanding of where you are today. In fact, for any client that we work with here at RED BEAR, the first step in our engagement process is strategic alignment. We conduct a series of interviews with both leadership and others throughout the organization. For the sake of oversimplifying it for this podcast, because I've been informed I'm on a time limit and have been accused of being long-winded at times, what comes out of those interviews is an understanding of where things are today, specifically, we identify what are the top negotiation challenges that their people face and then what are the most common mistakes or wrong turns that are made when faced with those challenges. Unfortunately, there's not much we can do about those top challenges; that's the reality of the environment in which you operate, and those will remain. However, those wrong turns, those mistakes that are made, are addressable and can be corrected and improved upon. My assumption is that any low mark that may be identified through this assessment will align extremely closely with some of those wrong turns that we uncover with our clients.

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Rob Cox: Excellent. Now, you've been with RED BEAR for over seven years and you've helped thousands of professionals transform their negotiation skills. Are there any common threads between organizations that benefit the most from negotiation training?

Brandon Wilson: Yes, in terms of common threads, I'll go back to those challenges and wrong turns that I just mentioned. Again, we do our due diligence and cover those for every client that we work with. At RED BEAR, we don't operate within any one specific vertical; we have clients from any and every industry out there, which makes sense, right? Everyone negotiates, whether you're aware of it or not, both personally and professionally, you're negotiating every single day. So, across all these different clients and industries that we work with, there's a shocking similarity, or maybe it shouldn't be shocking, between those challenges and wrong turns that we see.

Oftentimes, we'll have clients say, 'Well, you know, we're unique,' and I'm sure there's truth to that in certain ways, but when it comes to the challenges that people face and the mistakes that are made, they're far more common than people realize. And on that note, you can correct me if I'm wrong, Rob, but I believe there's a 2024 Trends eBook coming down the pipeline which will cover this topic in more detail in terms of what we've been seeing recently.

Rob Cox: That's right, Brandon. We're looking forward to that 2024 Trend. It's coming out soon, so be on the lookout for it. Now, you talked about some of the wrong turns and challenges that organizations typically face. What are some of the other common signs that signal an organization would benefit from negotiation training?

Brandon Wilson: Another common sign would be organizations that lack a standardized negotiation process. Without having that process in place, that can lead to organizations either relying on individual talent, where everyone does their own thing, which leads to lack of internal alignment, lack of consistency in terms of how you represent your organization to your customers, suppliers, partners. And then similarly, there's also organizations that become overly reliant on experience.

And don't get me wrong, experience is extremely valuable, but it's not a process, and experience doesn't always equate to effectiveness. Someone may have 20 years of experience, but often times that can be year one repeated 19 times, and sometimes it's not the best year to be replicated. So, establishing that standardized process is critical to organizational success, and that is touched on with a few different questions throughout the assessment.

Rob Cox: Excellent. Getting rid of those bad habits is definitely a big thing. We've talked about some of the bad habits that people may see or there may be signals that organizations need negotiation training. On the other side of the equation, in your experience, what are the top traits that identify the most skilled negotiators?

Brandon Wilson: I'd say the first thing that comes to mind is the ability to manage tension. Tension's a critical component of what we introduce here at RED BEAR. It's having that understanding that tension is healthy to any negotiation, a certain respectable amount, and then having the confidence and competence to manage it effectively to get beyond potential impasse. And you know, Rob, we're sitting here talking today about assessments, and tension is something that skilled negotiators constantly assess at different times.

So, out of negotiation, there may be moments where the tension's too high and it's getting overly competitive. So, you know, what skills or behaviors can your team introduce to reduce that tension? Or on the flip side, there'll also be moments where the tension's too low and it's too collaborative. So in those moments, what can be done to induce some tension, again, a certain respectable amount? So, it's the ability or the awareness to be able to assess where's the tension level currently at and then manage it effectively. And that, in addition to tension, also planning.

Planning is critical to negotiation success, taking the time in advance to develop a negotiation strategy, anticipate what the other party's strategy may be, and then identify areas where you may need to gather additional information. And on that note of planning, one of the most valuable tools that our clients walk away with is our negotiation planner. It's a one-page document, front and back, summarizes all the key negotiation concepts and skills that we introduce here at RED BEAR. 

And what we often find is those clients that place a premium on planning and encourage or even require use of that negotiation planner, those are the clients that achieve consistent, sustained success throughout their organization.

Rob Cox: Excellent. Planning is so important. Now, Brandon, my next question for you is, why is it important for business leaders to know where their organization stands when it comes to negotiation?

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Brandon Wilson: Well, I believe it's important for business leaders to be able to clearly identify where their strengths and weaknesses lie as it relates to the performance of their negotiators, and where they stack up against other organizations. It's having that understanding of where you are today, and this assessment tool, it's a form of measurement, and measurement's a key component of what we introduce. We measure everything that we do here at RED BEAR, from immediately following each client engagement to then coming back three to six months later, measuring return on investment and skill effectiveness through our ROI study process. And we always say, 'What gets measured gets improved,' and the goal is progress, not perfection. So that progress starts with having that understanding of where you are today.

Rob Cox: Excellent. Now, Brandon, how long is it going to take someone to fill out this assessment?

Brandon Wilson: Like I said earlier, it's 20 questions. It's pretty straightforward. You rate your organization on a scale of one to five, so I'd say around five minutes. Or I can put it this way: most likely less time than it's taken you to listen to me on this podcast. 

Rob Cox: Now, what should people do after they take this assessment?

Brandon Wilson: Yeah, so after you complete it, you get your results in real-time, and again, you could see where you rank against other organizations. Then, the opportunity is available to connect with a RED BEAR team member if you'd like. With the assessment completed, that'll allow for a more personalized conversation related to those results, be able to identify and discuss potential gaps, areas for improvement, and then see if there may be an opportunity for us to team up to support you in those efforts. And then, I'd also add that this is a tool that you can take annually, if not more frequently. Again, I said earlier the goal is progress, not perfection, and watch as your score improves as you begin to take those necessary steps to address certain areas within your organization.

Click Here To Find Out Where Your Organization Stands

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Rob Cox: Excellent. Well, Brandon, thank you very much for your time today. You've been very generous with your time. Is there anything else you'd like to share with our listeners before we wrap up?

Brandon Wilson: No, just thanks for having me on the podcast, Rob. Like I said earlier, this is my first podcast. As I was trying to prepare for today, I have five little kids at home, so I've seen my share of YouTube videos and stuff like that. So, I'm pretty sure this is the part of the video where I'm supposed to say, 'Don't forget to hit that like button, subscribe to our channel, stuff like that.' So, I've heard that a number of times, so I think I did that right. But no, that's all I got. Thank you, Rob, and thank you to the listeners.

Rob Cox: Excellent, Brandon. Thank you again for your time. Like you said, the 20-question assessment takes less than five minutes, and did we mention that it's free? It's absolutely free to take the assessment today. You can find it at www.redbearnegotiation.com/assessment.

Want to Learn More About RED BEAR Negotiation? Fill out the form and we will be back to you in no later than one business day.

 

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