Business & Professions

We have hired CMI Concord Group to help build the skills of our negotiators. They have worked with our General Managers, Assistant General Managers, Farm Directors and Scouting Directors. Their consulting has helped our staff build a systematic process for negotiating deals in complex environments, often with a multi-national component. CMI Concord has consistently received high marks for their ability to convey their methodology clearly and to make it relevant to our context.

– Lou Melendez, Vice President of International Operations, Major League Baseball.

I have worked with CMI Concord Group on too many negotiations with good results to remember them all. There are, of course, the many merger conversations that prospered because of your guidance. Also, some of my most important and difficult internal management decisions first were identified and framed by you as negotiations and then developed skillfully through execution by the three of us together. However, your most important contributions to me are more far-reaching and systemic than any given transaction.

Essentially, you have forever changed the way I think about negotiation. First, you helped transform my personal preferences and intuition into a system that enabled me to think about negotiation process in an explicit and orderly fashion. Along the way, you helped me realize that among the greatest advantages one can obtain in negotiation is a thorough and sympathetic understanding of the other parties' interests. More than that, you gave me the tools to cultivate my understanding of interests in every important negotiation I handle.

Your tools, skills and advice continue to guide my actions. Moreover, I have found that by instructing my own management team and directors in the same tools and skills, our company has been increasingly successful both in its internal as well as its external negotiations, be they mergers with other companies or internal management and governance debates.

– Ray McCaskey, Chief Executive Officer, Health Care Service Corporation (Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas)

In the complex environment of healthcare delivery, CMI Concord Group has been an invaluable asset in helping us address a number of difficult internal and external situations. Whether dealing with adversarial payor negotiations or handling problematic intra or interdepartmental conflicts, CMI Concord's process has helped us think systematically about resolving our differences. Your partner has been a key member of our team and one of my most trusted colleagues and advisors.

– David DeMaso, M.D., Psychiatrist-in-Chief, Children's Hospital Boston, Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School

As a forward looking company, Johnson & Johnson wants to create a corporate culture and language in negotiation. A corporate approach to negotiation allows us to integrate all of our people, regardless of their function or location, into our decision process. It also provides a sustainable competitive advantage, consistency in our communications to payors and providers, and credibility for the company. And, of course, it improves the day-to-day outcome of our decision making. After experience applying CMI Concord's advanced training, our professionals throughout the EU tell us: 'This was among the best things I ever learned in Johnson & Johnson,'It becomes a way of living,', 'Concord's Seven Elements is the only sensible approach when you foster long term relationships with governments.'

– Peter Lauper, World Wide Vice President, Health Economics and Pricing, Pharmaceuticals Group Strategic Marketing, Johnson & Johnson

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas has benefited enormously from Francine Pillemer's involvement with the company. Her counsel on numerous issues and initiatives has been invaluable. Two initiatives are noteworthy: First, as a lead member of the negotiating team for a $600M acquisition, she provided insights and developed strategies that contributed to an exceptional outcome. Her ability to analyze complex situations and develop creative solutions is remarkable. Second, during a time of dramatic change within the organization, Francine created a model to facilitate functional decision-making. The model crystallized roles and accountabilities and is a critical tool for the organization. In fact, 5 years later, the tool is still in use today.

The superior intellect of CMI Concord's professionals, their in depth understanding of the human dynamics of every situation, their creative problem solving skills, and their strong commitment to those they work with make them a valued resource to any organization fortunate enough to engage their services.

– Pat Hemingway Hall, former President, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas; Executive Vice President, Health Care Service Corporation (Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas)

The best companies, and Johnson & Johnson is certainly one of those, commit to the development of their staff and as such invest many millions in training courses. I have been privileged to attend very many such courses.

Some courses give you perhaps one memory or takeaway point, but in 20 years in the pharmaceutical industry two courses stand apart as having made a permanent and telling change to my overall behaviour and performance. Both these courses were on negotiating and run by CMI Concord Group. On the courses themselves, there are so many great paradigms and tools to use both in preparation for and during a face to face negotiation you will probably want to hear the information again and again and to get it into practice straight away, at work and at home.

It is hard to assess the sterling £ value or return which any course can give you, but I will say that without the new skills I acquired, at least three top accounts with sales in access of £1m would have slipped through my hands and at least one top supplier to us would have gone elsewhere.

The CMI Concord partners are highly intelligent, articulate people who have a compelling set of messages to convey. Being great executors of their own art, they are, in their own right, top negotiators.

– Stephen Bourne, Commercial Manager, Ortho Biotech UK & Ireland

Government & Education

I have worked with Paul Cramer in more than half a dozen mediations, some very tense and hostile. I trust his judgment and personal integrity completely.

– Susan Noonan-Forster, Massachusetts Teachers Association Negotiation Representative

CMI Concord Group has worked with the City of Newton on several high stakes negotiations with our unions. Their skill, creativity and patience have helped us reach fair agreements in tense negotiations. Recently, we were able to jointly restructure our health care arrangements in ways that have saved the City and the employees thousands of dollars.

– Sandy Pooler, City Budget Officer, Newton, MA

With the guidance and critical expertise provided by our UNDP Mission, key cabinet ministers renegotiated the mining contract that supported the national economy. The Mission team with CMI Concord Group as its negotiation expert probably saved the government at least a billion dollars over the life of the contract.

– Thomas Walde, as United Nations DTCD Interregional Advisor on Mineral Investment and Project Coordination, now Professor at (CEPMLP/Dundee)

CMI Concord was instrumental in helping us re-negotiate provisions around the highly complex restructuring of the Western Canadian grain logistics. Concord coordinated the discussions involving the growers, the railroads, the marketing companies and the government in a way that allowed all voices to be heard and in a way that allowed for a creative resolution of our issues. I can think of no better process that the one-text procedure CMI Concord used to generate consensus in that highly complex and emotionally charged atmosphere.

– Gord Cummings, former CEO of the Alberta Wheat Pool

Public Interest & Religion

While we still have challenges ahead, we have made real progress. Our covenant of behavior is holding up and the atmosphere is very positive. There is a warm, hopeful tone to things. I am as transparent as I can be and have earned trust from many staff, faculty and student leaders – and respect from others where trust will come more slowly. In a few years, we will know a lot more. I think I am well prepared for this job and Chuck Barker helped a lot with that – I would be very willing to say that anywhere. Thank you for all you did and are doing. I thought that your theological and spiritual sensitivity was crucial, and set the stage for some new hope and some significant progress.

– William S. Stafford, Dean, Sewanee School of Theology

At the beginning of my tenure as Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of New York I observed that the relationship between the Diocese and the Cathedral of St. John the Divine had evolved over many years into a difficult one. No one was completely wrong or meant harm. The views of the many individuals involved were just different. However, as is often the case when views differ about something as important as the life of a diocese or a cathedral, differences had metamorphosed into conflicts that undermined our working relationships and our aspirations for the church. The conflict was complex and important and those involved were stuck. The situation called for a commitment to change, deep expertise in facilitation, and a proven process. The members of the Diocese and the Cathedral supplied the commitment and CMI Concord Group provided us with the necessary expertise in process. This was not the first time I had worked with CMI Concord to unlock an intractable situation. With their patient guidance and understanding of the human dynamics involved as well as help using numerous process tools, we stayed focused, collaborative, and productive over the numerous sessions that finally assisted us toward mutual understanding and a way back to organizational health.

– The Rt. Rev. Mark S. Sisk, Bishop of New York