Just finished listening to the Harvard Business Review’s Condensed December Issue on Soundcloud. In this podcast, Amy Bernstein, editor of HBR, offers executive summaries of the major features in the December issue.
The article that caught my attention the most was an article summarized by Bernstein titled Control the Negotiation Before It Begins by Deepak Malhotra. The summary really focuses on how to negotiate between parties. Malhotra identifies several areas that need to be addressed in order to have a successful negotiation. The ones that I particularly identified with as an Independent Instructional Designer were:
- Map Out the Negotiation Space- Identify all stakeholders involved in the process. Make sure everyone who needs to be involved is involved. Consider the perspective of every party that can affect the project.
- Negotiate Process Before Substance- Set expectations before starting on content. Substance is the work that makes up the final product . Process is how you will get from where you are today to that final product.
- Normalize the Process- Establish communication norms and protocols for your collaboration. Tell counterparts what to expect so they don’t overreact to bumps in the road.
So where does all fit in to being an Independent Instructional Designer?
Map Out the Negotiation Space- This is vitally important. The project could collapse before it even gets off the ground if all stakeholders are not involved in the design process. I speak from personal experience that if all stakeholders are not identified, weeks, even months, of work may be wasted. I can remember a project I worked on recently, where my team was given the project outline and design documents but the CEO of the organization was not consulted. When a beta was presented to the CEO after several rounds of alpha testing with our intended audience, we were told to scrap the project and start over from scratch. Several months of planning and development time was just wasted because we didn’t identify everyone who had stakes in the project.
Points 2 and 3 are mapped out in the PLExD Process
It’s critical to PLExD to establish these communication standards and project expectations after we’ve completed our task analysis. It needs to be critical to you as well. It can be very enticing to take on a client without establishing these standards, especially when first starting out or bootstrapping your company.
With a lack of cash flow or trying to land your first client, you may be tempted to stray from sound principles in order to please the client. This will hurt you in the long run. Remember you’re the Instructional Design expert!
I’d like to hear what you think. Please comment below or send me a LinkedIn message.