The Principles of International Negotiation: Finding Universal Value in a Complex World

The combination of technology and the evolution of global markets has created exciting opportunities to forge successful relationships and seek lucrative deals globally. While the world has indeed become smaller and a lot faster, culture from country to country, region to region – and even company to company – is far from uniform.

With dazzling new opportunities come more potential pitfalls. Even without the culture variable, negotiating in business is already a complex process. Culture, language, and fundamental, unspoken approaches to business can all make international negotiations more complex than domestic negotiations. While acting in a way that would normally create a good impression in your culture, you may inadvertently create the opposite in someone else’s culture. For example, setting an agenda for a meeting with someone you don’t yet know may be appropriate in the U.S., while some Japanese may view it as arrogant and presumptuous.

However, this boggling diversity also yields rich opportunity. The “win/win” outcomes that we train our clients to achieve can sometimes develop more naturally in countries where social harmony and stability are valued as highly as profit. While two American companies may take the “winner/loser” view of dividing profits, negotiation teams from other countries may value employment of the extended corporate family more than profit. This can create room for win/win scenarios that don’t necessarily involve contention.

Nurturing these global opportunities requires rigorous preparation and forethought. Our goal in this series of blog posts is to help you prepare on two levels:

  • By showing you the universal, bedrock principles of negotiation that K&R Negotiations executives and associates have used to close hundreds of millions in transactions across the globe
  • By helping you consider the international dimension of these principles and to share with you what we have learned – sometimes the hard way – over years of serving our global clients and partners

No matter how much faster and smaller the world gets, all players at the table want to walk away with a clear understanding of the value they have received and delivered. Making that value clear and removing the roadblocks to the deal – whether institutional, financial, or cultural – is the job of the negotiator. In the posts to come, we will try to make that job easier, hopefully turning the wild new world of global business into an arena where you and your team can consistently close better deals and create longer, more profitable relationships – wherever your business dealings are conducted.

Thank you for reading.

Mladen Kresic
CEO, K&R Negotiations