Once again the Harvard Law School’s Program on Negotiation offers insights.  This time the title of the publication is Business Negotiation Strategies: How to Negotiate Better Business DealsIf you click on the link of the title you can download your free report.   The table of contents offer:

So you want to reach a more creative agreement… but how?

Got a raw deal?  Renegotiate a better one

How to win a “Beauty Contest”

Want the other side to open up?

Building your team on line

When a job offer is “Nonnegotiable

Let’s take a look at the highlights of each section:

So you want to reach a more creative agreement… but how?

In this section Katherine Shonk offers insights with citations from two excellent sources, Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman,  (New York Times best seller) and The Mind and the Heart of the Negotiator by Leigh L. Thompson.  Here are some of the ideas she shares on how “to get your creative juices flowing the next time you want to squeeze more value out of a negotiation.” She suggests

“Break the problem into smaller parts”,

“Consider novel deal terms”, and

“Try some mind games” (brainstorming for instance).

Got a raw deal?  Renegotiate a better one

In this section Katherine Shonk suggests, “If you are stuck coping with a faulty contract, try renegotiation.”  She suggests:

“Try some attention getting moves”,

Try “A little lemonade”,

“Toward (a) more successful negotiation”

            “Create breaks”

            “Prepare for disputes”

            “Avoid quick fixes”

How to win a “Beauty Contest”

In this section Guhan Subramanian asks the question, is my company “going through a ‘beauty contest’ to try to win a major contract”?

The answer stems around:

“Clarify their interests and alternatives”,

“Make multiple simultaneous offers”, and

“Look for a shut-down move”

Want the other side to open up?

In this section Katherine Shonk suggest that “It may be simpler than you think, a new study suggests”. Keys to accomplishing this are:

“Sharing and reciprocity”

Building your team on line

This section written by Michael Luca presents questions and answers about hiring on line and negotiations with potential recruits on line.  He suggests including experience targeting to limit candidates, focus on the quality of the candidates, since the price for candidates is generally in the employer’s favor, and with remote locations consider how to manage remotely. 

I would offer my book The Servant Manager: 203 tips from the best places to work in America a tip on remote managements:

There is an ever-growing number of remote workers. This is our reality. If you are not working closely with someone and seeing what they are doing, by definition they are remote to you. They might as well be in the next room, down the hall, in a different building, or different city, state or continent. How do you manage these individuals? The people issues are your biggest issues.

You have to build trust. Leaders take the lead in establishing trust. Trust is the foundation for working relationships. The biggest mistake is to try to fix trust once it has been lost. Instead you need to build trust. It is the make or break issue of virtual teams. It is important in all teams, but especially important in remote teams. Trust builds from leader and employee actions and reactions. A team is responsible for its own health, but the leader sets the tone and needs to continually monitor and assess how the team is doing.

Leaders Build Trust by:

  • Meeting face-to-face early on (either pay now or pay more later – investment in team building)
  • Focus on joint expectation setting, sharing of needs - supplies, space, equipment
  • Ensure everyone understands operational procedures and practices
  • Communicate, communicate, communicate especially when there is not a specific business reason
  • Build effective working relationships – ask how are things with the employee (family members, pets, hobbies, vacations, etc. – good small talk conversation for just a few minutes); ask how work is going and be prepared to assist or take timely actions if needed; ask if they have any concerns they want to bring to your attention. If you do this now; if you take timely quality actions and develop a good working relationship now, when a crises hits, you will have a loyal, dedicated team member.
  • Plan visits to remote sites, as practical
  • Share leadership roles
  • Share learning
  • Acknowledge differences
  • Bring the team together either physically or virtually by phone or video (consider a nice ice-breaker question)
  • Facilitate trust-building
  • Maximize face-to-face time when you are together. Don’t let other things interrupt this face-to- face time
  • Maximize effective use of information systems


When meeting with the team:

  • Tell your career story to the whole team

·         Brainstorm a team challenge and help solve the challenge together (go on line to see rules for brainstorming – check out Mind Tools as an example[i] and Tip 89: Brainstorming – Getting Ideas)

  • Share your personality preferences (we will be discussing these later) and what these mean as to how they can manage you and what this means to team work)
  • Do something fun (pizza, lunch-and-learn, off site activity or a volunteer activity together)


Expect the best and discuss employee responsibilities

  • Earn, accept and build trust with the leader and other team members
  • Know what you need to be successful – have the discussion regarding expectations
  • Communicate what you need from others
    • Ask for more of … from the leader/team
    • Ask for less of … from the leader/team
  • Share feedback on what is working well
  • Volunteer to partner with others on a project
  • Reach out across distance

Assess Team Effectiveness

  • What do we need to stop doing?
  • What do we need to start doing?
  • What do we need to continue doing?

This is a common strategic planning tool for teams and organizations to quickly identify where actions are needed on the one hand and to acknowledge what is right about the team or organization.

As a leader you need to balance:

  • Commitment versus Control
  • Command and Authority versus Coordination and Communication
  • Connecting versus Gatekeeping
  • Outcomes versus Activities
  • Integration versus Compliance”


When a job offer is “Nonnegotiable

“Probe for signs of flexibility”

“Take a long-term perspective”

“Create a scoring system” (to evaluate offers)

“Demonstrate flexibility”





About the author

Mike Gregory is a professional speaker, an author, and a mediator. You may contact Mike directly at mg@mikegreg.com and at (651) 633-5311. Mike has written 12 books (and co-authored two others) including his latest book, The Collaboration Effect: Overcoming Your Conflicts, and The Servant Manager, Business Valuations and the IRS, and Peaceful Resolutions that you may find helpful. [Michael Gregory, ASA, CVA, MBA, Qualified Mediator with the Minnesota Supreme Court]