Interesting article on the Russian negotiating style, with some observations on the Chinese style too:
“Although negotiation theorists speak about the overall opportunity, and finding “win-win” outcomes that can benefit both sides, Russians find it difficult to adapt to this negotiation approach. Indeed, the word “victory” itself in the Russian language means that the other side loses or leaves the game. The Russian negotiation mentality is a very strong approach, and a rather inflexible one, which to some extent ignores emotional and psychological considerations often discussed in negotiation theory.
When Russians negotiate outside of Russia, their approach often clashes with leading cultures in the West – and notably the United States, Europe and the United Kingdom. The Western negotiation paradigm is based on sharing information; such disclosure is seen as a prerequisite for establishing an effective cooperative win-win process. In Russia, in contrast, negotiators do not want to volunteer any information. This behaviour baffles Westerners, who expect them to share information in the spirit of both sides finding a solution. Thus Westerners will often ask Russians in negotiation: “Why are you behaving like this if you want to build a win-win outcome?”
Ask the President.
And on China:
“But China is characterized by systems thinking. In the Middle Kingdom, things often do not have a beginning or end, they involve a cycle. Given this circular mentality in China, without beginning or end, it is common to reopen negotiations after having signed an agreement.”
[Boris and the Brexiters know a bit about that last one too, lol.]
In London, I once had a Russian client. I helped on an MBO for him. Near to signing, he rang me, in a bad mood. He wanted to know where the “assassination” clause was.
I had never heard of such a thing. Lots of Square Mile jargon is un-necessarily macho (e.g., a “take out” is just a removal of security holders from a target company), and initially I assumed it had a similarly innocent meaning. Then I thought it was just heavy Slavic humour.
Eventually, startled, I realised he was being literal.
He genuinely wanted to know what would happen to the deal if he was shot.
I put in something about “extreme force majeure” which kept him happy, but it made me think, and I was in some ways glad that my move in-house meant I never had to do any work for him again.