John Laing Investment invest in effective negotiation
Effective negotiation in the context of public-private partnership projects and public finance initiatives
John Laing, a privately owned, company, with a high level of experience in the specialist field of design, build, finance operate (DBFO) functions of public sector infrastructure assets, is mindful of the challenges it faces in developing functioning models for working effectively with the public sector on private investment in public service projects.
The very different structures and ethos in public and private sector organisations often put considerable strain on the individuals working at the public/private interface. The power dynamics and the ongoing negotiations required to keep both sides of the situations even moderately satisfied demand a high level of skill and persistence.
A group of those involved in these negotiations identified key issues around negotiation styles and outcomes which they decided would be best addressed through drawing on outside expertise from CEDR. They felt CEDR was an organisation with knowledge of both their working context and a strong grasp of negotiation theory and its practise implications. There was clear recognition by the company that the negotiation skill required of experienced mediators and the unique insight they bring to the negotiation training environment in view of having seen all sides of complex negotiations would be invaluable to the company’s negotiation team.
The key concern of the negotiators was that in an environment where there is often limited room to manoeuvre, they were perhaps not always getting the best outcomes possible. In particular they felt that there was more they could do to enable the negotiators on both sides of the table in order to get more of what their organisation required without destroying key partner relationships.
Developing the training
CEDR met with John Laing to develop a finely tuned understanding of the organisation’s internal environment and the strengths of the negotiators. Identifying key areas of theory and practice to build on existing skills and to compliment them was crucial to make the most efficient use of the limited time John Laing could make available for the training course.
The outcomes identified as core to the negotiators were being able to:
- Differentiate between different types of negotiation (specifically integrative and distributive)
- Identify and principles of these negotiation types and implement them
- Prepare effectively for a negotiation
- Identify and practice interpersonal skills for use in negotiation
A sector specific multi-party negotiation role-play was used to allow the negotiators to test out new ideas and practice integrative and distributive negotiation techniques.
The training was delivered by CEDR conflict management experts with sector specific expertise: Andy Grossman and Isabel Phillips.
After the training the course structure was described by the delegates as “Seamless and well tailored” and multiple comments were made about the “Excellent role-plays” (an element of the interactivity which some clients are somewhat wary of due to poor experiences with other providers).
Despite the challenges of the current economic environment, this organisation has come back to us with a request to train a further cohort of negotiators because of the importance of the skills and the value for money which the training represents.
Andy Vachell, Investment Performance Director: "Despite the varying levels of negotiating experience amongst the delegates everyone benefitted from attending CEDRs one day course which was tailored specifically for John Laing’s requirements. One of the key benefits was to provide all members of the team with a broad toolkit for negotiation and appreciation of negotiation styles which could be applied immediately in the work environment. It was also invaluable for the negotiators to spend a day reflecting on their current style and to acknowledge some key areas for improvement. All in all, CEDR delivered a training day of high value to John Laing."