Thursday, July 14, 2011

Never Accept A Negotiated Agreement That Contains These 3 Words!

Sooner or later, we all will have to negotiate with internal or external clients, bosses or colleagues, and vendors about something important to the parties involved. Being able to navigate through the negotiation process and knowing when to make the appropriate strategic move, could determine whether you cut a deal or whether you end up in a no deal or empasse.

Negotiating is about the parties approaching a "problem" that needs to be resolved by coming up with a workable solution. In an effort to appear fair and collaborative, parties often resort to "splitting the difference". This may seem like a good thing, i.e. you and I get the same size piece of the pie which is fair. A closer look at this strategy often reveals that it doesn't take into account the inherent, untapped potential value within the 2 halves themselves. Dr. Roger Fisher, of Harvard's Program on Negotiation Research Project, uses the classic orange analogy to make the point. In this analogy, a baker and juice maker have one orange. Each wants it for a different reason (one for the juice, the other the rind for baking). They could have simply split it in half (fair) but in doing so the baker has no need for the juice in his half and alternately the juice maker has no use for the rind in his half. Had they collaboratively brainstormed, they could have doubled their take by having the baker take the whole rind, the juice maker, taking the juice. This created more value for the parties than they would have had by simply splitting the difference. The parties made the pie bigger through dialogue and probing questions to determine the other's needs as well as their own.

Excerpts from "Keys to Negotiating for Mutual Gain - A Collaborative Approach" by I. Zucker, Copyright 2011 VerbaCom®.
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