Facilitate a Strategy Session

By Jennifer C. Wolfe  |  Posted 2010-01-28 Print this article Print

Principle No. 2: Facilitate a strategy session

Facilitate a strategy session to review outsourcing goals, anticipated ROI, alternatives available, reasons why provider was selected, key expectations and concerns, greatest wants, needs and risks not willing to take. This important step will ensure that time is best utilized and the right stakeholders are involved in critical discussions during the contracting process. Again, doing this after the fact, or not at all, will cost more money in the long run and take more time.

Principle No. 3: Put a strategic plan on paper

Putting a strategic plan on paper, and consulting it on every redline change to stay on focus, is a critical part of the process. With a written plan, the negotiation team can benchmark critical decisions against the plan created by the stakeholders and focus on the really important issues. This is a fundamental to identifying priorities and sticking to them throughout the process. If you don't write it down and measure how you follow it, it will cost you more in time and money, and the results may not be as strong.

Principle No. 4: Negotiate for value with a win-win approach

Negotiate for value with a win-win approach. It's not going to help your cause if your vendor can't make money on the deal, and you'll feel the impacts when the vendor starts to cut corners. Remember, that at the end of the contracting process, you are outsourcing a critical function in your business to the vendor. If you have negotiated too aggressively and forced them to take positions they do not want to take, you have not set a strong foundation for a good working relationship.

Jennifer C. Wolfe, Esq., APR, is founder and CEO of Wolfe LPA. Jennifer is an award-winning attorney and executive leader whose published articles cover topics ranging from strategic planning, negotiation and communication to women in business and the law. She is a regular legal columnist in Pink, a national magazine targeted to women business owners and executives. Jennifer provides continuing education to organizations throughout the country on a variety of topics, most notably, negotiation, best practices in contract management, branding and innovation. Prior to attending law school, Jennifer worked as the Marketing and Communication Director for Reach Publishing, where she managed marketing, public relations, advertising and franchise relations for the national company. She received her Juris Doctorate and Masters Degree in Organizational Communication from the University of Cincinnati, graduated magna cume laude in Journalism from Ball State University, and has been trained at Harvard Law School in negotiation and mediation. She can be reached at jwolfe@consultwolfe.com.

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