Nov 20, 2010

Extreme Negotiations

This week I read a very interesting in the Harvard Business Review about extreme negotiation skills used by the U.S. Military. I think it's a fascinating article especially because these soldiers often have to deal with people that are very different in terms of culture, tradition, language, etc,. In such an intense environment we recognize the basic, raw human elements that we all share, regardless of race, ethnicity, education, culture, tradition, etc,. Below are the five strategies from the article (Extreme Negotiations - Harvard Business Review):

1. Get the Big Picture:
  • Assuming you have all the facts
  • Assuming the other side is biased--but you are not
  • Assuming the other side's motivations and intentions are obvious-and probably nefarious
  • Be curious
  • Be humble
  • Be open-minded
2. Uncover and Collaborate:
  • Making open-ended offers
  • Making unilateral offers
  • Simply agreeing to (or refusing) the other side's demans
  • Ask "why is that important to you?"
  • Propose solutions for critique: "Here's a possibility--what might be wrong with it?"
3. Elicit Genuine Buy-In
  • Threats
  • Arbitrariness
  • Close-mindedness
  • Appeal to fairness
  • Appeal to logic and legitimacy
  • Consider constituent perspectives
4. Build Trust First
  • Trying to "buy" a good relationship
  • Offering concessions to repair breaches of trust, whether actual or only perceived
  • Explore how a break-down in trust may have occurred and how to remedy it.
  • Make concessions only if they are a legitimate way to compensate for losses owing to you nonperformance or broke commitments.
  • Treat counterparts with respect, and act in ways that will command theirs.
5. Focus On Process
  • Acting without gouging how your actions will be perceived and what the response will be
  • Ignoring the consequences of a given action for future as well as current negotiations
  • Talk not just about the issues but about the negotiation process
  • Slow down the pace
  • Issue warnings without making threats

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