Is a lack of confidence affecting your team’s negotiation performance?

Kier Group and Black Belt Negotiation

Improving not only negotiation but
confidence and communication

Senior managers at Kier Group came to us after they identified that a number of their members of staff lacked confidence in negotiations. This included both internal negotiations between teams, affecting project management, and externally with contractors and clients, affecting profitability.

TWI put together a programme that not only helped improve profitability of external negotiations, but also led to increased departmental communication and job satisfaction.

Black Belt Negotiation

Long story short

Helping Keir Group achieve win-win outcomes


Long story short

Helping Keir Group achieve win-win outcomes

Having identified lack of confidence and bad communication skills as key issues in negotiations taking place at Kier, TWI:

  • Put together a bespoke negotiation programme which covered different approaches to internal team-to-team negotiatio0ns, as well as external individual-to-client negotiations.
  • Explained the neuroscience behind effective negotiation and the importance of emotional buy-in and the power of research, as well as listening first.
  • Ensured not only future external negotiations revenue was maximised but better long-term relations with clients and other stakeholders were formed
  • Saw the immediate impact in internal negotiations, which left members from different teams collaborating better and coming to mutually beneficial decisions.
  • Has since been told of the long-term benefits of the programme, both in terms of profitability, but also more effective communication between teams and productivity.

The challenge

Lack of confidence and discordance between teams

Tayyiba Nazir, a Human Resources Specialist with the Kier Group, identified that more often than not negotiations were frequently going wrong. The staff lacked the confidence before the negotiations even began. Furthermore, there was discordance between teams, struggling to work on projects and negotiate needs, priorities and deadlines. This led to in-fighting and a  ‘our teams’ needs are more important that yours’ culture, which was damaging for collaboration.

Internal and external negotiation approaches

Adapting our Black Belt Negotiation programme to address both internal and external scenarios, as well as real life examples common in the construction industry, we promised that we would help all attendees to negotiate with poise and confidence.

Through the backing of neuroscience, we helped individuals to understand the benefits of a positive mindset. We demonstrated how a good relationship is more important than threatening behaviour and aiming for a ‘win at all costs’.

More broadly, we focussed beyond ‘confidence’ generally, as highlighted by Kier, but identified issues at a more individual level, including limiting beliefs and unconscious biases.

In their words

“The culture before was that everyone was ‘just working’ and they weren’t sharing.”
– Tayyiba Nazir, Human Resources Specialist, Kier

The result

Win-win outcomes

The aim of this Black Belt Negotiation programme was to help staff at all levels to understand the why negotiations so frequently go wrong and the importance of emotional buy-in, rather than the traditional, and often ineffective, confrontational approach.

Through our training we proved that all negotiations can be win-win, and without unnecessary concessions.

Following up with Tayyiba and the team, we were astounded that the results went much further than simply improved success with negotiation and better deals.

The training improved communication and inter-departmental problem-solving, as well. By helping people to change their mindset about the challenges they face at work, it impacted the culture and value of the business.

Tayyiba explained:

“Senior managers came and said that you can ‘feel the difference’…after the training, we noticed [staff] were more ‘open’…We could see there was open conversation and better communication cross functionally. Throughout the company, there was more transparency.”

The future

Effective communication and better staff retention

Long-term impact is always the aim at TWI.

During follow up with Tayyiba, she reported:

  • more openness
  • effective communication within the team
  • more cross-functional conversations
  • a positive change to people’s mindset
  • better retention

This proves that giving people the tools to do their jobs better – to negotiate effectively and with satisfying results, not threat or fear – then, the overall working environment is positively impacted. This leads to better job satisfaction and, in turn, this leads to increased staff retention.

“100% – we saw a wide-ranging impact across many areas, not just negotiation.”

We are delighted the Kier Group saw such a big return on their investment.

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