4You Want What? How to Negotiate Significant Changes to a Relationship – without Destroying It

Based on an interview with Vantage Partners

Anytime there is a negotiation that happens within the context of a long-term relationship, issues are bound to arise. That is even the case when the relationship is productive. It is that much more difficult when the relationship is already difficult and significant changes are being proposed by one entity toward the other. Then add in the dimension of many billions of dollars at stake and the parties need to walk a very fine line to find a deal that will remake the relationship and that still works for all the parties participating.

Such was the situation in the example below. What ultimately helped the parties to get to a new and different place was that one party had a well-defined negotiation strategy, and the discipline to follow it – adapting to the other party's actions, versus simply reacting. Common wisdom is that it “takes two to tango” but this case study shows the power just one party can exert to shape negotiations in a positive way. External forces also helped nudge the parties in a positive direction.

Background and the Negotiation Challenge

The first party to this negotiation is a large retail chain, with thousands of stores across the United States, called Zazas. The second party to the negotiation is a wholesaler and logistics service provider, called Loguserve.

Zazas and Loguserve had worked together for over 20 years. ...

Get The Book of Real-World Negotiations now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.