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Practical Negotiating: Tools, Tactics & Techniques by Tom Gosselin

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Case Analysis

Let’s analyze the case with the wants-needs framework. Think about the pressures on the director of loan processing: increase in volume, potential for more revenue (fees), competitors offering faster processing on loan applications. Then, think of the pressures on the director of IT services: more requests with fewer staff, limited capacity to serve users, exposure to corporate politics. No wonder there’s a conflict. To get some hint at how to resolve the conflict, we have to look below the surface of the wants to the underlying needs, as shown in Table 2.7.

Table 2.7. Wants versus Needs in Loan Processing Example
PartiesDirector—Loan ProcessingDirector—Information Technology Services
WantsModify and expand current program—need it done nowSix-month backlog—get in line
NeedsFaster loan processing, generate fees, competeMaintain a fair system for prioritizing projects

By stating and understanding each other’s underlying needs, the parties have a fair chance of discovering a solution.

Let’s see how the meeting progresses the next day:

DIRECTOR OF LOAN PROCESSING:

I’ve been thinking about your budget and headcount issues. I guess I could go outside for some help with this.

DIRECTOR OF IT SERVICES:

You mean hire a consultant? That would really cause me problems. I mean, that makes my department look bad. Besides, they have to get oriented to our systems and they need monitoring. That’s not going to give you the speed you need on this.

DIRECTOR OF LOAN PROCESSING:

I’m not sure ...

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