Getting to Yes

Getting to YesAuthor: Roger Fisher & William Ury with Bruce Patton

Synopsis: Good book that suggests a novel framework for improving your negotiating skills and outcomes.  Instead of negotiating based on power and positions using compromises details how both sides can gain a better deal from negotiating through principled agreement; basing neogtiations on understanding each others interests, looking for mutual wins, using objective criteria and comparing any deal to your best alternative if you don’t negotiate

Aim: Practical method for negotiating agreements amicably w/out giving in
 
Intro
Principled negotiation: a way that is neither hard nor soft
     – decided issues on their merits
     – look for mutual gains
     – if conflict of interest insist result based on fair standards, independent of the will of either side
 
1. The Problem
     – negotiation takes place @ two levels 1) substance 2) procedure
     – Bargaining over positions: i.e. take a position, argue for it & make concessions to comprise (the standard form of negotiation e.g. over antiques)
     – INSTEAD negotiate success and look to:
          a. produce wise agreement
          b. be efficient
          c. improve relationships
     – 5 problems w/ bargaining over positions
          i] unwise agreement
               – lock yourself into position (more defend => > commitment to it & ego identifies with the position)
               e.g. Kennedy and ban on nuclear testing, position was 10 inspection vs. 3 but no definition on what inspection was
          ii] inefficient
               – time: take extreme position & hold giving small concessions despite true feelings
               – effort: many small decisions need to be made on each concessions
          iii] endangers relationships: battle not a task jointly to find solution
          iv] harder more ppl involved
          v] being nice no answer: hard negotiating technique beats soft
     – Alternative: Principled negotiation
          People: separate ppl from problem
          Interests: focus on interests not positions
          Options: generate variety possibilities b4 decideding what to do
          Criteria: insist that the result be based on an objective standard e.g. mrkt value, law, expert opinion, custom
     – Stages:
          i. analysis: diagnose situation via info gathering, organise data and analyse.  Understand ppl problems, interests of each side and initial options
          ii. planning
          iii. discussion     
 
II. THE METHOD
2. Separate ppl from the problem
     i. Negotiators are emotional ppl first
     ii. Every neogtiator has two kinds of interest
          a. substance: wants to reach agreement that satisfies substantive interests
          b. relationship: turn into regular customer, maintain working relationship
               BUT relationship gets entangled w/ problem (e.g. statement ‘kitchen is a mess’ becomes personal attack)
               & ppl draw from comments on substance unfounded inferences about person’s intentions & attitudes
     => separate relationship from substance: deal directly with the ppl problem
          – base relationship on accurate perceptions, clear comms, forward looking outlook
          – deal w/ psych problems using psych techniques & also be aware of own ppl problems e.g. emotions
 
3 categories of ppl problems
     A. Perception: other side’s thinking is the problem, differences defined by gap between your and their thinking. To resolve
          – put yourself in their shoes
               – don’t deduce their intentions from your fears
               – blaming is counterproductive => push back
               – “our x that you x broke down again.  That’s 3x in last month.  Our x needs it functioning.  I want your advice on how to resolve.  Should we a, b, c”
          – discuss each other’s perceptions: make explicit even if don’t seem to block path to agreement
          – look for opps to act inconsistently with their perceptions
          – give them a stake in the outcome by making sure they participate in the process: e.g. involve them in investigation of the problem
          – face-saving: make your proposals consistent w/ their values – ppl often hold out, even if proposal acceptable, because don’t want to be seen to bk down
     B. Emotion: feeling may be more important than talk
          i. recognise & understand their emotions & yours
          ii. make emotions explicit & acknowledge as legitimate => proactive not reactive
          iii. allow the other side to let off steam: e.g. allow polemic speeches as may be a) let off steam b) for their constituents, so seen as tough
          iv. don’t react to outbursts: don’t fuel the fire
          v. use symbolic gestures: roses, coffee, sorry
     C. Communicating
          Problems
               – negotiators won’t talk to one another in way to be understood
               – ppl may not hear you
               – misunderstanding
          => to resolve
               – listen actively & acknowledge what is being said
               – speak to be understood: speak as an equal & allow private comm
               – speak about yourself not about them: I feel let down not you broke the agreement
               – speak for a purpose: know the reason you are speaking
     Prevention works best
          – build a working relationship, get to know the person personally (b4 negotiation, Franklin & books)
          – face the problem not the ppl: view as partners in search for fair agreement e.g. sit on same side
 
3. Focus on interests not positions
     – for a wise solu reconcile interest not positions e.g. fresh air vs. stop draft => open vs. shut
     – interests define the problem. The basic problem is not the position but needs, wants, fears e.g. estate dev – he needs cash, I want peace & quiet
     – interest motivate ppl, positions are decided on
          -> often solution to be found when look at interest not positions i.e. behind opposed positions lie shared & compatible interests as well as contrasting
          e.g. landlord vs. tenant: both want stability, well kept accommodation, gd relationships but differ on downpayment (landlord needs, tenant don’t care)
     – realise each side has multiple interests
     – most powerful interests are basic human needs – take care of these & negotiation becomes much easier
          – security
          – economic well-being
          – sense of belonging
          – recognition
          – control over one’s life
 
     – How define interests?
          – ask why? examine each position and ask why it is held
          – ask why not? why haven’t they make a decision, what interests stand behind it
          – analyse the consequences of decisions on interests
 
     – Talking about interests
          – chance of serving interests improves when communicate them (be specific)
          – acknowledge their interests & frame as part of the problem your trying to solve
          – put the problem before your answer: interests & reasoning before concl & proposal
          – look forward not back: talk about where want to go not what’s happened in past
          – be concrete but flexibly: hv specific options that meet your criteria but be flexble
          – be hard on the problem, soft on the ppl: 
               – commit to be aggressive about your interests
               – create cognitive dissonance by attacking problem but supporting person – humans don’t like inconsistency therefore will support you
 
4. Invent options for mutual growth
     – creative options can make the difference btwn deadlock & agreement
 
     – Obstacles to inventing abundance of options
          1. premature criticism of options -resolution-> separate inventing from judging (suggests ATK brainstorming process) 
          2. searching does the single answer -resolution-> broaden options
          3. assumption of a fixed pie -resolution-> search mutual gains
          4. thinking that solving their problem is their problem -resolution-> make  their decision easy
 
     – Broaden options
          – multiply # by shuttling btwn specific & general (see Circle chart in book)
               i. think of problem you dislike
               ii. diagnose causes of problem
               iii. what ought to be done
               iv. specific & actionable suggestions to resolve
          – look through eyes of different experts e.g. educator to psychiatrist
          – invest agreements of different strength e.g. no permanent contract, what about provisional?
          – change scope of proposed agreement e.g. smaller parts or larger
 
     – Look for mutual gain
          – id shared interests & make use of them
          – dovetail differing interests: think in terms of time, forecast, risk
          – look for items that are low cost to you & high benefit to them
          – provide options: 200k for 5 yrs vs. 75k for 4 yrs
     
     – Make their decisions easy
          – whose shoes? pick one person to reach agreement w/
          – what decision? draft agreements, search of precedent, shape legitimate sol for legal
               -> write out what their strongest critic would say
          – don’t make threats, offers are more attractive
 
5. Insist on using objective criteria
     – deciding on basis of will is costly, use objective criteria
     – case for objective criteria: principled negotiation produce wise agreements amicably & efficiently: less relationship threat, quicker sol
     – developing objective criteria
          – fair standards: need to be independent of each side’s will, legitimate & practice.  Must apply to both sides
          – fair procedures: e.g. cake cutting – one cuts & other chooses (biz e.g. mining companies vs. Enterprise), agree visiting rights pre custody battle
     – negotiating w/ objective criteria
          i. frame each issue as a joint search for objective criteria
               – ask what’s your rationale e.g. for house price
               – agree first on principles: easier for others to agree if they proposed the criteria 
          ii. reason & be open to reason: if in doubt go for the middle (2 objective prices come up) or ask a 3rd party to decide
          iii. never yield to pressure: bribes, threats, trust (it’s a separate matter)
               – ask to state reasoning
               – suggest objective criteria you think applies
               – don’t budge on pressure
     Example in book: insurance negotiation – broke off, question by question took apart their argument, prepared for court (independent arb.) if no agreement
 
III. YES BUT
6. What if they are more powerful? BATNA (best alternative to negotiated agreement)
     – Benefits: a) protects you vs. making agreement you shouldn’t b) help you make the most of assets you do hv
     a) Protecting yourself
          – don’t be too accommodating because you want to end negotiation
          – cost of using a bottom line (e.g. highest price would pay/sell)
               – limit benefit from learnings during negotiation
               – not flexible
               – inhibits imagination
               – often set unobjectively
          – know your BATNA: what do you do if no agreement, rent house, tear it down…
          – if don’t know then may be too optimistic: ppl often sum total of options rather than choose one
          – include trap wire: don’t sell for less than £150k w/out talking to others
     b) Making the most of your assets
          – better BATNA => greater power e.g. salary negotiations w/ a job offer
          – develop your BATNA
               i. invent list of actions if no agreement
               ii. improve more promising ideas & turn into practical alternatives
               iii. select tentatively best
          – consider other sides BATNA
 
7. What if they won’t play? Negotiation jujitsu
     Options if they won’t play
          a) what you can do? principled negotiation -> contagious
          b) what they may do? counter with negotiation jujitsu
          c) 3rd party intro
     
     b) Negotiation jujitsu
          – do not push back if criticise/reject principled negotiation
          – attacks normally manifest in 3 ways
               i. asserting position forcefully
               ii. attack your ideas
               iii. attacking you
          – to resolve
               a) don’t attack their position, look behind it
                    – treat their position as a possible option: don’t reject or accept it
                    – look for interests  & principles behind it & ways to improve it
                    – ask how it addresses problem @ hand
               b) don’t defend your ideas, invite criticism & advice
                    – criticism: use  to find their underlying interests
                    – advice: ask for it & what they’d do in your position
               c) recast any attack on you as an attack on problem
               d) ask questions & pause
                    – statements generate resistance, questions generate answers
                    – ppl free uncomfortable w/ silence partic if they gave insufficient answer
 
     One text procedure
          – 3rd party mediator can use this to resolve differing positions (example of architect w/ couple designing home)
          – instead of what you want?  why you want? e.g. not bay window but bay window for light and sun
          – method
               – list interests & needs of ppl and ask them to criticise the list
               – iterate
               – final yes or no
 
     Example of negotiating in book: Jane vs. Turnball
          1. “Fact, please correct me if I’m wrong”: establishes dialogue based on reason
          2. give person support
          3. make stand based on principle
          4. Q not statements
          5. ask what’s the principle behind their position
          6. don’t make decision on spot, utilise time & distance i.e. call back tomorrow
          7. one fair solution
 
8. What if they use dirty tricks? Taming the Hard Bargainer
     – Dirty tricks = one side proposals about procedure of negotiating
          – Standard response: a) put up w/ it b) respond in kind
     – How to negotiate about rules of the game
          i. recognise tactic
          ii. raise issue explicitly
          iii. question tactics legitimacy & desirability
               i.e. negotiate on procedure using 4 step process explained in earlier chapters
 
     – Common dirty tricks
          a. Deliberate deception: 
               i. phony facts: unless you hv gd reason to trust someone, don’t
               ii. ambiguous authority: not decision marker therefore find decision maker @ start, if they ask to renegotiate ‘agreement’ also do so yourself
               iii. dubious intentions: get contingent agreement (e.g. equity in house if don’t pay child maintenance)
          b. less than full disclosure/deceit
          c. psych warfare
               i. stressful situation: physical (heat/cold/seat) say if don’t like & offer to swap tomorrow
               ii. personal attacks: recognise & bring it up
               iii. gd/bad cop: ask same question to both – why is your offer reasonable? what’s the principle?
               iv. threats: warnings are more effective
          d. positional pressure tactics
               – refusal to negotiate: find out why they won’t negotiate, discuss principles, offer other channels (3rd party)
               – extreme demands: aim to lower your expectations (£75k offer for £200k house), ask for justification
               – escalating demands: call to attention & take break
               – lock-in tactics (e.g. make statement in press/to union): deemphasise it
               – hardhearted partner: spk directly, get soft partner’s agreement in writing
               – calculated delay: create options
               – take it or leave it:
 
IV. IN CONCLUSION
     – you knew it all the time
     – learn from doing
     – winning = achieve a better process for dealing with your differences
 
FAQ: used to emphasise points from the main body of the book
1) Does positional bargaining ever make sense?
2) What if the other side believes in a different standard of fairness?
3) Should I be fair if I don’t have to be?
4) What do I do if the people are the problem?
5) Should I negotiate even with terrorists, or someone like Hitler?  When does it make sense not to negotiate?
6) How should I adjust my negotiating approach to account for differences of personality, gender, culture and so on?
7) What about practical questions like, ‘where should we meet?’, ‘who should make the first offer?’ and ‘how high I should start?
     – it’s a mistake to think making an offer is always the best way to put a figure on the table can => other side feel railroaaded
     – but should try to anchor discussion around approach or stand favourable to you
8) Concretely, how do I move from inventing options to making commitments
9) What’s the best way to try out these ideas without taking too much risk?
10) Can the way i negotiate really make a difference if the other side is more powerful? And, how do I enhance my negotiating power?

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4 Comments

  1. Hi Messer,

    Thanks for your effort for that summary, i have read it and get the message of the book.

    I have you can inform me if you find another good book.

    Indra, Indonesia

  2. Hi Messer,

    Thanks. I’ve read it and now I’m interested to read the book fully.

    Mihiri, Sri Lanka.

  3. Hello. I appreciate your thorough outline. I was wondering what the ATK brainstorming process was. I was unable to find any helpful information when I looked online. Thank you.

  4. Hi there everybody, here every person is sharing these
    familiarity, so it’s good to read this weblog, and I used
    to pay a quick visit this weblog all the time.

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