Saturday, November 21, 2009

What criecketing partnerships teach us about corporate meetings and negotiations

When following Sri Lanka's 1st test with India in Ahamedabad it brought me home to one universal truth, sports has a lot to teach us.

At the end of the day it was one of those dull draws. However the lesson that I'm about to share is one that could make or break careers for some people.

Great cricketing innings are built on parnerships. If you take a partnership, be it 50 overs or test match cricket their is a universal pattern. When one batsmen is going at great guns the other just compliments and does not try to out do the one who takes the initiative and vice versa. In cricket there are 'passages of play' when one batsman takes over the lead role in scoring runs. Best partners then just rotate the strike! They do not try to match their partner with every storke.

When a partner finds it difficult to face a difficult bowler or to score runs, great partners take it upon themselves to face that bowler. They take over the dominance or they start negotiating the bolwers, minimizing the burden on the other batsman.

Now this sort of approach will both help us in making meetings more productive and negotiations more successful. Lets see how.

Haven't you come across countless situations at meetings where people go round and round the same thing without making any progress.What a waste of time! The point is that you can simply acknowledge the fact that you agree with whats been said AND add ONLY something new to the whole conversation. Next time around when you sit for a meeting, just observe of this fact. Besides when you absorb whats being said and then when you make your constribution to the conversation there is defenetely more value in it.

Group negotiations are ideal situations where this tactic could be practiced with good success. Say you are representing your company in a negotiation with another party. Your colleague is making an obvious point across to the other party which they vehemently arugue against. Rather than trying to join the band wagon you could stay quite analyze their reaction and then work your argument accordingly and present. Given it is a 'silent'voice waking up, they are bound to listen to your point of view.

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