Saturday, November 11, 2006

"Everything in life is a negotiation."

As an MBA Student, when we enter the work force tomorrow, we will be placed at different situations... where we would have to negotiate so that the best results are achieved for both sides.

One of the courses this stage is Negotiations. We have two text books for this stage. One of them is the text book written by our Dean and the other one is the popular book -Getting to say Yes.

I just finished reading this short book and here are some of the key points from the book:

People find themselves in two ways to negotiate: soft or hard. The soft negotiator wants to avoid personal conflict and so makes concessions readily in order to reach agreement. He wants an amicable resolution; yet he often ends up exploited and feeling bitter. The hard negotiator sees any situation as a contest of wills in which the side that takes the more extreme positions and holds out longer fares better. He wants to win; yet he often ends up producing an equally hard response which exhausts him and his resources and harms his relationship with the other side.

Any method of negotiation may be fairly judged by 3 criteria:
Ø It should produce a wise agreement if agreement is possible
Ø It should be efficient
Ø It should improve or at least not damage the relationship between the parties

Golden rule is NOT to bargain over positions. Your ego becomes identified with your position. You now have a new interest in "saving face" - in a reconciling future action with past positions- making it less and less likely that any agreement will wisely reconcile the parties' original interests

Negotiate on Principles
The method:
1. Separate the People, from the Problem
2. Focus on the Interests, Not positions
3. Invent options for mutual gains
4. Insist on using objective criteria

1. Separate the People, from the Problem
a) Negotiators are people first. They have emotions, deeply held values, and different backgrounds and view points, and they are unpredictable as are you

b) Every negotiator has 2 kinds of interest- In the substance and in the relationship

c) The relationship tends to become entangled with the problem. Anger over a situation may lead you to express anger toward some human being associated with it in your mind.

To find your way through the jungle of people problems, it is useful to think in terms of three basic categories
- Perceptions
- Emotions
- Communication
The various people problems all fall into one of these three baskets.
2. Focus on the Interests, Not positions

Interests define the problem

How do you define interests?
Ø Ask Why?
Ø Ask "Why not". Think about their choices
Ø Realize that each side has multiple interests
Ø The most powerful interests are basic human needs ( security, economic well being, a sense of belonging, recognition, control over one's life)

Talking about interests:
Ø Make your interests come alive
Ø Acknowledge their interests as part of the problem
Ø Look forward, not back
Ø Be concrete, but flexible

3. Invent options for mutual gains

Four major obstacles that inhibit the inventing of an abundance of options
1. Premature Judgment
2. Searching for the single answer
3. The assumption of a fixed pie
4. Thinking that "solving their problem is their problem"

Diagnose, Prescribe, Brain storm and Analyze the options

4. Insist on using objective criteria

Develop Objective Criteria and use Fair Procedures

There are 3 basic points to remember
1. Frame each issue as a joint search for objective criteria
2. Reason and be open to reason as to which standards are most apporpriate and how they should be applied
3. Never Yield to pressure, only to principle.

What if they are more powerful?
Develop your BATNA- Best Alternative to a negotiated agreement
- The costs of using a bottom line
- Know your BATNA
- The insecurity of an unknown BATNA
- Formulate a "trip wire"

Making the most of your assets:
- The better your BATNA, the greater your power
- Develop your BATNA
- Consider the other side of BATNA

What if they wont' Play?
The second approach is to Use negotiation jujitsu
If BATNA approach is not being accepted and they continue to use positional bargaining, you can resort to a second strategy which focuses on what they may do. It counters the basic moves of positional bargaining in ways that direct their attention to the merits

The third approach focuses on what a third party can do. If neither principled negotiation not negotiation jujitsu gets them to play, consider including a third party trained to focus the discussion on interests, options and criteria. Perhaps, the most effective tool a third party can use in such an effort is the one text mediation procedure.

Negotiation Jujitsu:
If the other side announces a firm position, you may be tempted to criticize or reject it. If they criticize your proposal, you may be tempted to defend and dig yourself in. If they attack you, you may be tempted to defend yourself and counter attack. In short, if they push you hard, you will tend to push back.

DO NOT PUSH BACK. When they ascertain their positions, do not reject them. When they attack your ideas, don't defend them. Whey they attack you, don't counter attack them. Break the vicious cycle by refusing to react. Instead of pushing back, side step their attack and deflect it against the problem.

Typically their attack will consist of 3 maneuvers:
Ø Asserting their position forcefully
Ø Attacking your ideas
Ø Attacking you.


At 10:47 PM, Anonymous rdx said...

ah, one of the most valuable posts... anyone can relate to it for any situation...

not fully grasped all the gems that has been said here, guess when i read them again later, it would give a different meaning

thanx for this wonderful post

At 7:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Getting to Say Yes"? You have a picture of the book right above it and it seems to very clearly be called "Getting to Yes."


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