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Perils and pitfalls on the path to successful negotiation

Image (left to right): Shannon Bell (HR Manager, Fibre NSW), Jackie Muscat (former HR Manager, Fibre NSW), Joe Ardolino (Operations Manager, Revesby Fibre NSW), Diane Utatao (NSW State Committee Chair).

We all need to negotiate at work sometimes – whether it is for ourselves, with our business units or a range of internal and external stakeholders. But unless we are in Sales or Procurement we probably haven’t had a lot of formal training. NAWO’s first NSW QuickBite for 2017 offered some great insights into the perils and pitfalls of negotiating. Thanks to Abby Phillips – Transformational Change and Continuous Improvement Leader, Kimberly-Clark Australia and New Zealand, and Shannon Bell – HR Manager NSW, Orora Limited, both NAWO NSW State Committee Members, for collaborating on this post event review…

As part of our ongoing commitment to building engagement and diversity within our business, on Wednesday 22 February, Orora Smithfield (New South Wales, Australia) hosted its first National Association of Women in Operations (NAWO) event.

NAWO’s newest NSW committee member, Shannon Bell, HR Manager – Fibre NSW, developed and facilitated the session, which focused on negotiation and influencing skills – and it was truly inspiring!

The session’s aim was to impart some tips and tricks to help with successful negotiation in the workplace. We all need to negotiate at work sometimes – whether it is for ourselves, with our business units or a range of internal and external stakeholders, and unless we are in Sales or Procurement roles, we probably haven’t had a lot of formal training.

Enter this session’s key note speaker, Jackie Muscat, former HR Manager – Fibre NSW, who shared her personal experience and learnings as an HR leader in operations, centering on her journey of discovery into the art of successful negotiation during a period of transformational change while at Orora.

Over three years, Jackie and Revesby’s Operations Manager, Joe Ardolino, applied a highly collaborative approach which centred around a negotiation method called ‘Interest-Based Problem Solving’, leading to one of the best transformational success stories in the industry.

Based on this technique, Jackie shared the following key tips when it comes to negotiation:

  1. Asking the right questions is key – don’t assume you know what the other parties want. Approach with an open mind, then Listen, Listen, Listen.
  2. Always deliver on what you say in order to build trust and credibility for next steps of the negotiation.
  3. Use the support network around you – debrief and get feedback after every step.

In second half of the networking event, attendees split off into small groups and worked on two business scenarios to put the key learnings into practice, which participants found incredibly valuable. Attracting over 80 people, including external parties as well as internal team members and managers, the event was an overwhelming success!

Special thanks to Smithfield for hosting the event and Shannon Bell for coordinating. As part of Fibre’s active participation in the discussion and facilitation of diversity in Orora, and to contribute to Orora’s strong partnership with NAWO, Shannon will represent Orora NSW on the NAWO Committee.


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