June 14th, 2016

How Do You Build Back Trust at the Bargaining Table?

Having read this article from the Program on Negotiation from the Harvard Law School daily blog entitled “How to Build Trust at the Bargaining Table Using Negotiation Examples of Bargaining Techniques” I want to share this with you and share some ideas.  Trust

June 6th, 2016

Is Mediation Expertise What You Need?

In this article from the Harvard Law School Program on Negotiation the authors indicate that “In this article, we will walk you through the processes of finding the right mediator – someone who will be satisfactory to both sides – to settle your disputes”

The feeling of a negotiation reaching a closed deal.
May 30th, 2016

How to Close a Deal in a Negotiation

Early in my career as a business valuer and engineer I mentored many new employees with the advice that the first day to start report writing is when you receive the assignment.  Your focus needs to be on the final report from the day the engagement letter is initiated.  The same concept holds true for negotiations.   Plan on the close of the negotiation from the very beginning.  Many become to

May 21st, 2016

How to Win in a Negotiation - Preparation

What is winning?  What is winning in a negotiation?  In my latest book, Peaceful Resolutions, the chapter on the Art of Negotiations offers a host of ideas on how to be a principled negotiator being hard on the problem and being soft on the people.   Hard negotiators that are hard on the people disenfranchise others and generally do not res

May 15th, 2016

What do You do When Someone Loses Their Cool?

What Do You Do When Someone Loses Their Cool? From the Harvard Law School Program on Negotiation Sunday Morning Minute May 15, 2016 Dan Shapiro, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Psychology at Harvard Medical School/McLean Hospital offers this advice: “When your counterpart expresses strong negative emotions during a negotiation, how should you respond?

May 9th, 2016

Apply These Five Negotiation Techniques for Better Results

In this article from the Harvard Law School Program on Negotiation Katie Shock offers “5 Good Negotiation Techniques” that can he

May 2nd, 2016

Understand the Zone of a Possible Agreement and Use It

When you are involved with a negotiation you generally think about what is the Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement (BATNA) or the Worst Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement (WATNA), before proceeding into a negotiation, but do you stop and consider the Zone of a Possible Agreement (ZOPA) before and during a negotiation? Generally in business upon entering a negotiation, one party has identified their position and they believe they know the other party’s position.  Businesses tend to look at these as win-lose in hard negotiations rather than as an opportunity for mutual gain.  In business negotiations, one party tends to reflect before going into the negotiation on what is their BATNA considering that if a certain level of agreement is not achieved it is just as acceptable to walk away.  A BATNA may call for a certain level or return or profit to accept a deal. They should keep in mind other alternative deals that may offer a better option now or in the future.   In some instances a WATNA needs to be considered as well.  For example if an agreement is not worked out for a particular deal, this may cause the business to go out of business.  That alternative is clearly a WATNA.  This fortunately is rare, but consider not only BATNAs but WATNAs . Before and during the negotiation it is wise to consider and carefully develop a ZOPA.   For example if you are willing to accept the contract as agreed to for $900,000 to $1,000,000 and the other side is offering to have the work completed and to pay for the work for between $850,000 and $925,000 then a ZOPA exists between $900,000 and $925,000.  If however you are willing to accept a contract for $900,000 to $1,000,000 and the other side is offering to have the work completed and to pay for the work for $800,000 to $875,000 then there is no ZOPA.   There may be  other issues such as changing elements of the contract to take into account other items that may yet allow for a deal to be struck.  Many other variables may enter into the picture such as timing, relationships, quality of the workmanship, financing, maintenance and service contracts, and other enhancements or considerations. Often in negotiations the parties tend to be so focused on the deal at hand that they fail to consider alternatives outside of this negotiation.  For example in this case the party that would be happy to accept the contract for $900,000 to $1,000,000 may want to consider other contracts currently on the table with others, or the ability to obtain additional work at some point in the future with the other party or other parties. In an article from the Harvard  Business Review Program on Negotiation written by Katie Shock entitled “How to Find a ZOPA in Business Negotiations” she points out three considerations in particular.  These are: 1.       One party may hide that the deal struck is really not in the other party’s best interest. 2.       Parties may be reluctant to walk away from a deal due to sunk time spent on this deal. 3.       The desire to maintain or strengthen a relationship may prevent one or both parties from walking away from the deal. She makes a very good case for upfront developing a BATNA and ZOPA rationally ahead of the actual negotiation to avoid the three traps above.  I agree.  Having been the party to over 2,000 negotiations, I have seen many poor agreements,  and over time become far more oriented towards considering a BATNA, WATNA and ZOPA before ,entering into a negotiation.  This allows my clients to enhance their ability to negotiate with the other party.    The topic of BATNA and WATNA are discussed in detail in my new book, Peaceful Resolutions, and in my book The Servant Manager: 203 tips from the best places to work in America.  I would recommend anyone involved in negotiations to also consider having a copy of Fisher, Ury and Patton’s book Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement without Giving In. Mike is a manager with over 25 year’s experience at all levels of management.  Mike provides services to help clients with conflict resolution on a wide variety of issues.  When not serving clients, blogging or tweeting, Mike is an avid writer, speaker and educator.  When not working Mike enjoys family, church, volunteering, and daily yoga, meditation and exercise.      

April 25th, 2016

Know these Three Points for Complex Negotiations

Having read the recent article “For Paris Clima

April 21st, 2016

Validate the Other Side

From your own experiences you know that in an argument you like being heard.  The same is true for the other party.  Read on to learn why you should do this and the benefits of truly validating the other party in an argument.

April 15th, 2016

Negotiations When Others Don’t Play Fair

Having read this article from the Harvard Business Review Program on Negotiation entitled “How to See Through These 3 Hardball Negotia

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