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Partnerships: Don't Beg, Prove Undeniable Value

A legacy of colonialism and cultural hierarchies, for far too long, emerging market leaders have assumed inferior positions of bargaining power and kow-towed to counterparts.

We have seen this play in MSMEs' pleas to financial institutions for access to credit products. It is on full display in non-profit fundraising sad stories that are expected to tug at the hearts of donors. Perhaps the most insidious is observed when governments beg bilateral and multilateral partners for development assistance and with it, ever-increasing debt. These leaders and their organizations have been willing to accept any terms and conditions, no matter how predatory, as long as they receive "help".

In recent decades however, we have witnessed a shift in mindset and approach as emerging market actors, public, private, and non-profit, have pivoted from begging to making offers of mutual gain. This shift has changed conversations, rebalanced power, and exponential increased negotiated value for both emerging market leaders and their counterparts.

See what has changed the game for them that you can adopt to elevate your negotiation outcomes:

1. Define Mutual Issues

Issues are the things you are negotiating. Not everything that is important to you is important to them nor material to your conversation. Define what Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timebound (S.M.A.R.T.) mutually important things you want to discuss and exchange value over and stick to these in your conversations.

2. Identify Each Party's Interests

Interests are why parties want what they want. Put quite simply, ask yourself, "What's in it for them?" then list everything the other party stands to gain from engaging with you. Is it trust? Is it reputation? Is it political leverage? Is it profit? When you know not only what they want to gain, but why it is important to them, you can research quantitiative and qualitative options to satisfy their interests.

3. Generate Massive Value

Get creative. Look for ways to generate massive value for both of you. Make them enthusiastic about partnering with and generating value for you by first seeking to understand and help them get what they want. This does not mean that you don't negotiate or make counter offers, rather it brings you into a problem-solving partnership that asks, "what barriers can we remove so that we can work together for mutual gain?" Then setting out together to accomplish just that.

4. Partnerships: Don't Beg, Prove Undeniable Value

Building such partnerships takes investment. You will need to do the ground work to research the obvious and not so obvious interests, issues, and value for both the parties you are negotiating with as well as others that directly or indirectly influence and are affected by the outcome of your negotiation.

"Place a higher priority on discovering what a win looks like for the other person."

-Harvey Robbins.

If you are still appealing to others' good graces and coming up short, you are likely trying to convince them to cater to your needs, rather than first seeking to understand and partner with them on theirs. The former approach will likely elicit a negative response and yield predatory terms. The latter, where you define mutual issues, identify each party's interests, and generate massive value, will likely ignite positive collaboration for mutual gain and on highly competitive terms.

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