The Negotiator Magazine

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Communication is an important element of coalition strength.
Everyone should be thinking and behaving as a single unit. In order to achieve and help sustain this mindset, you will want to establish a network within which you can keep the coalition abreast of developments. Hosting regular meetings may be necessary - but know that convenient venues require careful security management.

If you find yourself, either by design or default, leading your coalition, be prepared to explain how developments may affect individual members and the group as a whole Unless your group is exclusive, well controlled and practically sequestered, it will be virtually impossible to keep information quiet in such an environment, so there will be times you'll have to weigh individual interest against disclosure. Never rule out that an adversary representative may be positioned within the organization. Even if you trust the individuals within the group to handle information with care, they will probably feel likewise about others outside the group who may actually possess other, more self-serving motives. At times, you may benefit by turning this natural phenomenon to your favor when you'd perhaps like your adversary to be a little more aware of your future plans.

Demonstrate true leadership.
Effective leaders don't lead - they inspire others to follow. A coalition represents many of the challenges and advantages of a true democratic process. By maintaining objectivity in your opinions; encouraging individual participation; avoiding favoritism among members; presenting sound, balanced solutions together with credible information; participating in group solution-seeking; and, soliciting resources useful to the group you will increase your chances of winning and maintaining coalition favor through leading by example.

You can help assure your own success

Coalitions possess the potential for both risk and benefit. Before you construct or elect to participate in a coalition, devote time and attention considering the coalition's innate instabilities, and account for the appropriate design and level of management required to sustain it. These advance measures can fortify an inherently fragile design, keep it strong and viable throughout your negotiations process, and provide a uniquely formidable lever is structuring your success.

Lisa Bracken is a business communications specialist and owner of Accelerated Innovative Marketing Solutions. She is a real estate broker and paralegal (non-attorney) with specialized negotiation experience in toxic environmental issues and the corporate oil and gas industry. The information contained in this article by Lisa Bracken should not be construed or relied upon as legal advice. Please seek the advice of qualified counsel to address your specific situation and concerns.

Lisa Bracken is available as lecturer, neutral or spokesperson and may be reached through her web site at http://www.aimsatyourservice.com

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March 2006