Collaboration is working with each other to do a task.

Learn how to negotiate like a diplomat, think on your feet like an improv performer, and master job offer negotiation like a professional athlete when you download a FREE copy of Negotiation Skills: Negotiation Strategies and Negotiation Techniques to Help You Become a Better Negotiator.

The following items are tagged collaborative.


To Grade Or Not To Grade? That Is The Question!

Posted by & filed under Teaching Negotiation.

Whether to grade student role-play performance, process and outcomes is a tricky question. Jim Lawrence, a long-time PON contributor, simulation author, attorney and practicing mediator with Frost Brown Todd LLC, recently shared his thoughts on the value and purpose of grading students participating in negotiation simulations.

Courses and Training

Mediating Disputes

Posted by & filed under Harvard Negotiation Institute, Harvard Negotiation Institute (5 Day Courses).

Mediating Disputes is currently full and registration has closed.  To be added to the waitlist for this section, please click here and follow the instructions.
The success of any mediation is predicated on the skills of the mediator. In this popular program, you will acquire the practical skills and techniques for facilitating negotiations between disputing parties. From family and employment matters to public policy and business disagreements, you will discover effective ways to settle differences and mediate disputes across a variety of contexts. This program will provide you with core mediation skills and training and hands-on experience as a mediator in a variety of simulations.


Conflict Resolution Lessons from the Home: How Conflict Management Skills Transform Discord Into Harmony

Posted by & filed under Conflict Resolution.

Every day diplomacy, such as resolving conflicts between family members, can inform negotiation strategies and negotiation techniques employed at the bargaining table. In this article, Bruce Feiler’s New York Times’ article “Lessons in Life Diplomacy” is examined from the perspective of broader dispute resolution and conflict management strategies.

Courses and Training

Advanced Negotiation Workshop: Making Difficult Conversations Productive

Posted by & filed under Harvard Negotiation Institute, Harvard Negotiation Institute (5 Day Courses).

When negotiations become difficult, emotions often escalate and talks break down. To overcome barriers and turn negotiations from difficult to collaborative, from breakdown to breakthrough, you must learn to understand the inter- and intra-personal dynamics at play. In this program, you will examine how your own assumptions and behaviors can help create and perpetuate negotiation dynamics you desperately want to avoid, and learn how to modify even deeply held assumptions and enact new behaviors more likely to foster successful negotiations. You will learn the concepts and skills required to overcome difficult tactics and effectively respond to emotions — your own and others’ — so that you can initiate and maintain productive conversations even in complex situations with challenging counterparts. Through intensive personal coaching, you will also gain valuable insight into your own personal challenges and leave with proven techniques for greater negotiation success.


Courses and Training

New! Advanced Mediation Workshop: Mediating Complex Disputes

Posted by & filed under Harvard Negotiation Institute, Harvard Negotiation Institute (5 Day Courses).

You’ve handled numerous mediation sessions with ease. You are confident in your mediation skills, especially between two parties who want a fair resolution. But how do the dynamics change when their lawyers join the session? What happens when the mediation expands to multiple parties who are bringing many issues to the table? Mediators are very often called upon to play a variety of roles, and success in these settings requires strategies, skills, and activities very different from what is required to mediate a 2-party dispute. This course presents two different settings – first, mediating with attorneys and parties, and, second, contending with multiple stakeholders – in which these advanced skills can be deployed.


Courses and Training

Negotiation and Leadership: Dealing with Difficult People and Problems

Posted by & filed under Executive Education Seminars (3 Day Courses), executive training.

It’s often said that great leaders are great negotiators. But how does one become an effective negotiator? On-the-job experience certainly plays a role, but for most executives, taking their negotiation skills to the next level requires outside training. Designed to accelerate your negotiation capabilities, Negotiation and Leadership examines core decision-making challenges, analyzes complex negotiation scenarios, and provides a range of competitive and cooperative negotiation strategies. Whether you’re an experienced executive or and up-and-coming manager – working in the private or public sector – this program will help you shape important deals, negotiate in uncertain environments, improve working relationships, claim (and create) more value, and resolve seemingly intractable disputes. In short, this three-day executive education program will prepare you to achieve better outcomes at the table, every single time.


Courses and Training

Spring 2015 Mediation and Conflict Management

Posted by & filed under PON Seminars, PON Seminars (Semester Length Courses).

This course is designed to raise your awareness of your own approach to conflict, introduce a range of theories about mediation and participatory processes, and improve your conflict management skills. While we will discuss a wide range of dispute resolution processes that involve third parties, we will focus on mediation. Each class moves back and forth between theory and skills practice, using theory to improve real world effectiveness, and using experience to improve understanding of theory.


Make the Most of Mediation in Negotiations and Dispute Resolution

Posted by & filed under Mediation.

Negotiations that turn into intractable disputes between negotiators should look to mediators and mediation as a solution to the impasse. Previously the Program on Negotiation has discussed litigation and arbitration as pathways that acrimonious disputes between negotiating parties can take. In this article, mediation is discussed as a method for creating value and resolving disputes at the bargaining table.

Business Negotiations and Dealmaking: Giving Outsiders a Voice in Your Negotiation

Posted by & filed under Dealmaking.

In negotiation, what might seem like a stellar deal for everyone involved could backfire if you don’t factor in the impact of the agreement on those who aren’t at the table—a lesson that Apple and some of the largest U.S. book publishers are learning the hard way. Back in 2007, to boost sales of its fledgling Kindle, the first e-book reader on the market, Amazon began selling e-books at the rock-bottom price of $9.99. Five publishers—Simon & Schuster, Hachette Book Group, Penguin Group USA, Macmillan, and HarperCollins—disliked Amazon’s low, flat price, which they felt would undercut the sale of their new-release hardbacks, whose average cover price was $26.

Mediation: Negotiating a More Satisfactory Divorce

Posted by & filed under Mediation.

We’ve all heard nightmarish stories of divorce battles that take years—and cost a small fortune—to resolve. The task of negotiating child and spousal support, dividing property and other possessions, and establishing child-custody arrangements can be daunting, especially when the principals are barely speaking to each other. In the worst-case scenario, bitter spouses hire cutthroat lawyers to make rigid (and sometimes outrageous) demands, the two sides dig in, a judge takes over, and animosity reaches a fever pitch.
Mediation would seem to offer a more peaceful alternative to the traditional adversarial approach to divorce negotiations. And, indeed, mediated divorces, now widespread, have been found to achieve higher settlement rates than litigation.

Win-Win Negotiations: Is Your Bargaining Style Holding You Back?

Posted by & filed under Win-Win Negotiations.

All of us have a personal approach to negotiation. Here’s how to make the most of yours.

Your boss has asked you and a colleague to collaborate on a marketing campaign for your small company. At your first meeting, you and Jeff, your colleague, present several proposals to each other. You believe Jeff’s plans aren’t very good and that one of your proposals is the clear winner. But Jeff suggests you work together to “merge” your good ideas. Will you negotiate for your preferred proposal?

Thanks to Keen Negotiation Skills, the Carolinas Avoid a Border Dispute

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

Due to the frequency of their border disputes, the United States can at times seem not so united. The states of Georgia and Tennessee are currently embroiled in a heated conflict over a mile-long strip of land. A dispute between Georgia and South Carolina over several islands reached the Supreme Court, as did a conflict between New Jersey and New York over a landfill near Ellis Island.

Highly inaccurate surveying conducted in the early days of the republic, combined with the natural human tendency to make biased claims to land and other prized commodities, have conspired to make these disputes especially heated. That’s why the states of North and South Carolina should be commended for approaching a border challenge with a minimum of rancor and some collaborative negotiation skills, as described recently by Stephen R. Kelly, a visiting professor in the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University, in the New York Times.

Capture the Best of Mediation and Arbitration with Med-Arb

Posted by & filed under Mediation.

The problem: You’re not sure which of the two most common dispute-resolution processes, mediation or arbitration, to use to resolve your conflict. Mediation is appealing because it would allow you to reach a collaborative settlement, but you’re worried it could end in impasse. You know that arbitration would wrap up your dispute conclusively, but it wouldn’t give you much say in the outcome. The tool: A hybrid mediation-arbitration approach called med-arb combines the benefits of both techniques. In this increasingly popular process, parties first attempt to collaborate on an agreement with the help of a mediator.

Negotiation Skills: Threat Response at the Bargaining Table

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

When someone issues a threat or an ultimatum, take a step back and diagnose the problem. Consider how you would respond to threats and ultimatums such as these during negotiation. In the face of such tough talk, should you strike back with a counterthreat? Probably not. Because counterthreats raise the emotional temperature of a negotiation, they will get you even further off track. Instead, immediately after hearing a threat (or just after you issue one yourself), call for a break.

Conflict Management Techniques: Should You Take Your Dispute Public?

Posted by & filed under Conflict Management.

To turn up the heat on opponents, negotiators sometimes advertise their grievances.

Here’s negotiation skills advice on when it’s a good idea to be vocal—and when to keep talks private.

The decision seemed nonsensical.

Early on the morning of March 7, 2010, with the Academy Awards telecast just hours away, the Walt Disney Company pulled the signal on WABC, its New York–area station. Residents in the New York area awoke to learn they might have to scramble to watch the Oscars via satellite at bars or friends’ homes.

How to Deal When the Going Gets Tough

Posted by & filed under Conflict Management.

Most business negotiators understand that by working collaboratively with their counterparts while also advocating strongly on their own behalf, they can build agreements and longterm
relationships that benefit both sides.

During times of economic hardship, however, many negotiators abandon their commitment to cooperation and mutual gains.

Instead, they fall back on competitive tactics, threatening the other side with “take it or leave it” offers and refusing to accept concessions of any kind.

Negotiation Skills: Identify Your Negotiating Style

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

Have you ever wondered if your negotiating style is too tough or too accommodating? Too cooperative or too selfish? You might strive for an ideal balance, but, chances are, your innate and learned tendencies will have a strong impact on how you negotiate. Wise negotiators seek to identify these tendencies and enhance them according to the situation.

Individual differences in “social motives,” or our preferences for certain kinds of outcomes when we interact with other people, strongly affect how we approach negotiation, according to Carnegie Mellon University professor Laurie R. Weingart. Drawing on the social motives that drive our behavior, Weingart and other psychologists have pinpointed four basic negotiating personalities.

Cooperation in Congress? Liberals and Libertarians Polish Their Negotiation Skills

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

On June 19, Republican Representative Thomas Massie of Kentucky, a libertarian, teamed up with two liberal Democrats, Zoe Lofgren of California and Rush D. Holt of New Jersey, to push through an amendment that places new prohibitions on the National Security Agency and the CIA’s surveillance operations, including barring the agencies from engaging in warrantless collection of Americans’ online activity, the Times reports.

Dealing with Difficult People? Lessons from Ronald Reagan

Posted by & filed under Conflict Management.

In recent months, U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders have struggled to find a winning strategy to convince Russian President Vladimir Putin to back away from his aggressions toward Ukraine. In a Wall Street Journal editorial, Ken Adelman, U.S. President Ronald Reagan’s ambassador to the United Nations and arms-control director, writes that recently declassified accounts of negotiations between Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev offer lessons that could help Western leaders approach their Russian counterpart more effectively.

According to Adelman, on his way to accept the 1980 Republican nomination, Reagan told an adviser that the primary reason he wanted to be president was “To win the Cold War.” Having set this overarching goal, Reagan tenaciously pursued it throughout his two terms in the White House.

In Dispute Resolution, Change the Game—and the Name

Posted by & filed under Dispute Resolution.

Suppose that two businesses have similar sounding names. The similarity is confusing to customers, or could be down the line. One of the businesses decides to do something about it. How can they engage in a successful dispute-resolution process?

Two recent conflicts over business names went in different directions. First, a public dispute broke out last year between blogger and writer Bunmi Laditan, creator of the satiric blog and book franchise “The Honest Toddler,” and the Honest Company, an eco-friendly baby-products brand owned by actress Jessica Alba. Laditan started the Honest Toddler in 2012 as a Twitter feed, ostensibly run by an incorrigible youngster offering unsolicited parenting advice. Laditan filed a trademark application for the Honest Toddler name in September 2012. The Honest Company, which also launched in 2012, purchased the Internet domain name in March of that year.

At the Met, Conflict Management in a Minor Key

Posted by & filed under Conflict Management.

This spring, the Metropolitan Opera opened labor talks with the 16 unions representing its workers, whose contracts all expire at the end of July, the New York Times reports. Labor and management agree on one fundamental point—that the opera is struggling financially amid falling ticket sales, a depleted endowment, and growing expenses. Perhaps not surprisingly, however, they disagree on where needed budget cuts should come from.

Met management has asked for 16-17% salary cuts from its workers. The unions have refused, saying the company should shrink its rapidly increasing budget by scaling back on new productions and trim administrative spending.
D. Joseph Hartnett, the assistant director of stagecraft from the opera’s stagehands’ union, struck a conciliatory note, saying “We can save the Met…but it means all of us working together to bring the budget in line.”

The Consensus Building Institute Honors Program on Negotiation Faculty Member Lawrence Susskind with New Fellowship

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

The Consensus Building Institute (CBI) based in Boston, Massachusetts and in Washington, DC has honored Program on Negotiation faculty member Lawrence Susskind with its creation of a one-year graduate student fellowship that offers the successful candidate the opportunity to work with CBI in Boston or DC on an area of focus for bot CBI and the student’s research.

Graduate students enrolled in Law, Masters and doctoral programs with a focus on public issues are eligible to apply for the year-long fellowship which will award $7,500 per semester and will require 16 hours of work a week at either of CBI’s offices in an area of mutual interest to both CBI and the student’s research.

Successful candidates will demonstrate a commitment to consensus building and dispute resolution in the public sector, a passion for working collaboratively, a knowledge of negotiation and alternative dispute resolution theory and practice, an ongoing, demonstrable interest in areas where negotiation theory and practice converge, as well as a strong sense of innovation and entrepreneurial spirit.

Negotiation Skills: Are You Really Ready to Negotiate?

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

You set up the contract renegotiation with a key client months ago. You had every intention of gathering a range of information to establish realistic goals and assess the client’s needs, but short-term projects got in the way. Suddenly it’s the day before the first meeting. Aside from making a few phone calls and calculations, you’ll have to wing it—but that’s OK. You’ve always worked well under pressure. Right?

We all know we’re supposed to prepare to negotiate, yet we often fail to follow through on these best intentions. That’s a problem because research overwhelmingly shows that underprepared negotiators make unnecessary concessions, overlook sources of value, and walk away from beneficial agreements.

Dealing with Difficult People—Such As Putin?

Posted by & filed under BATNA.

In negotiation, we are often confronted with the task of dealing with difficult people—those who seem to prefer to set up roadblocks rather than break down walls, or who choose to take hardline stances rather than seeking common ground.

How can you deal with such difficult people?

One tactic you might consider is avoiding the conversation altogether by finding more collaborative negotiating partners, but this is not always an option.

When avoidance is impossible, strengthening your best alternative to a negotiated agreement (BATNA) can help give you the confidence you need to deal with obstinacy among negotiating partners.

Joint Fact Finding: Mapping the Territory Together

Posted by & filed under Dispute Resolution.

Some might argue that confrontation is inevitable. But a wide range of collaborative efforts around the country have shown that it can be avoided.

How can negotiators find their way into the trading zone quickly and easily?

One proven method is joint fact finding.

The Program on Negotiation’s MIT-Harvard Public Disputes Program Releases “Collaborative Approaches to Environmental Decision-Making” Case Studies

Posted by & filed under Conflict Resolution, MIT-Harvard Public Disputes Program.

The MIT-Harvard Public Disputes Program, one of the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School’s many research programs, acts as a center for research committed to thinking about and resolving disputes in the public sector. Led by its Director and Program on Negotiation executive committee member Lawrence Susskind, the MIT-Harvard Public Disputes Program conducts research dealing with international environmental treaty negotiations, public sector consensus building, and advocating for the importance of the science behind any negotiations about resource management.

How to Negotiate Successfully Online: The Challenges of Virtual Negotiation

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

When you communicate in person, social norms – including body language, manners, and physical appearance – guide your behavior and ease the process. A common environment can facilitate understanding as well. Over the telephone, the speaker’s intensity, speed, and inflection provide useful social information.

As a consequence, face-to-face and telephone interactions generate greater social awareness and greater stability and cooperation than do online interactions.

Nantucket’s Never-Ending Negotiations: Harvard Negotiation and Mediation Clinical Program (HNMCP) Students Shape How Town and Unions Work Together

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

Preparation. Practice. Persistence. Those qualities make for a good firefighter, and as Nantucket Firefighter Nate Barber learned from working with Harvard Negotiation and Mediation Clinical Program (HNMCP) students, they also make for a good negotiator.

As a member of Nantucket’s Local 2509 of the International Association of Firefighters and a former undergraduate negotiation student at Boston University, Mr. Barber knew relations between the Town of Nantucket’s management and his union could be better. Since the firefighters’ contracts only lasted two or three years and the negotiation process itself often took that long, the union and the management sat down for contract negotiations every year. And every year, the negotiations spilled over into the next year or, if it was the final year of the contract, went to arbitration. This impacted everyone: arbitration provoked more fighting, poorer relations, and less of what everyone wanted. They hadn’t had a mutual agreement for six years. As one of the interested parties, though, Mr. Barber knew he was not the person to fix a broken bargaining system.

Enhancing Your Deal in Business Negotiations

Posted by & filed under Dealmaking.

Not all contracts are created equal. Some maximize joint through creative trades, while others are barely satisfactory. Strategic wariness causes many people to leave untapped value on the bargaining table. Of course, agreements based on incomplete and distorted information aren’t likely to be efficient.

Improving Negotiation Skills Training

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

How would you characterize your negotiating style: Are you collaborative, competitive, or compromising? If you have trouble answering that question, you’re probably not alone. That’s because skilled negotiators typically take on all these styles during a negotiation: they listen closely and collaborate to create value, they compete for the biggest slice of the pie, and they make compromises when necessary.

Water Diplomacy: The Role of Science in Water Diplomacy

Posted by & filed under Conflict Management.

Scientific and technical knowledge is important in water negotiations, but not in the ways it has often been used. It is counterproductive to use scientific information to justify arbitrary (political) decisions. For example, scientific information about water has increased dramatically over the last several decades, but our ability to manage water resources has not improved proportionately.

Water Diplomacy: Creating Value and Building Trust in Transboundary Water Negotiations – Israel and Jordan, From War to Water Sharing

Posted by & filed under Conflict Resolution.

Most difficulties in water negotiations are due to rigid assumptions about how water must be allocated. When countries (or states) share boundary waters, the presumption is that there is a fixed amount of water to divide among them, often in the face of ever-increasing demand and uncertain variability. Such assumptions lead to a zero-sum mindset, with absolute winners and losers. However, when parties instead understand that water is a flexible resource and use processes and mechanisms to focus on building and enhancing trust, even countries in conflict can reach agreements that satisfy their citizens’ water needs and their national interests.

Bring Your Deal Back from the Brink: Probe the Other Side’s Point of View

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

How can you figure out the motives behind someone’s seemingly stubborn position? Begin by questioning her about the problem she is trying to solve. Deal blockers may be held back by financial, legal, personal, or other constraints you don’t know about, according to Harvard Business School professor Deepak Malhotra. A tough stance could also communicate a psychological need that isn’t being satisfied.

Conflict Off the Rink: The NHL Negotiations

Posted by & filed under Conflict Management.

Negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) between the National Hockey League Player’s Association (NHLPA) and the NHL’s team owners took a tumultuous turn in mid-August, a month before the current agreement’s looming expiration date of September 15.

The Perils of Powerful Speech

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

Death to modifiers! All hail the active verb. Be succinct. These are some of Strunk and White’s commandments for simple and direct writing from The Elements of Style. They may also be effective guidelines for establishing verbal power in negotiation – though not always, it turns out.

Corporate Stakeholder Engagement and Mineral Extraction in Colombia

Posted by & filed under Dispute Resolution, MIT-Harvard Public Disputes Program.

I want to make four simple points regarding corporate social responsibility and mineral extraction in Colombia. I presented these ideas several weeks ago at a Harvard Law School seminar sponsored by the Colombian government. We had senior officials present along with a great many Colombian graduate students studying at Boston-area schools. I think these prescriptions apply globally, but they are especially relevant in Latin America.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) provides a new point of entry for those concerned about the social and environmental impacts of mineral extraction.

Shattering the Mold: Value Creation and Creativity in Negotiation

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

When life becomes routine we are more likely to overlook details or, conversely, we cannot see the forest for the trees. In both instances, what we may lack is a creative outlook on the situation at hand. In negotiations, creativity can lead to value-creation for both parties. Coming up with innovative ideas in the middle of the collaborative process can be difficult so how does the skillful negotiator change her mindset to become more creative? The March 2012 issue of the Negotiation newsletter offers three practical tips for obtaining more creative deals with your counterpart in negotiation.

Moving Forward in Mediation Together

Posted by & filed under Mediation.

The teacher’s federation has qualms with the current education bill’s stipulations regarding the scheduling and terms for mediation between the federation and provincial government. The government is open to further negotiations, but refuses to offer more money. Susan Lambert, president of the British Columbia Teacher’s Federation, asserts that the government is acting in bad faith, claiming the “whole process is a mockery of fair play…There is a predetermined outcome that requires us to be complacent in stripping out of our collective agreement rights that [the employers tried to take out] at the bargaining table, rights that took a long time to negotiate.” Could mediation unlock value between these parties that was previously left untouched, even though one side has little faith in the process?

To Improve Your Negotiation Skills, Choose the Right Partner

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

Tensions between the Humane Society of the United States and United Egg Producers have existed for more than a decade. When the two sides are asked why they don’t come together to negotiate their differences, each answers that the other is someone with whom negotiation is difficult if not impossible. Often it is those parties with whom we dread having a negotiation to reconcile differences are the ones we need to focus on the most in order to achieve our goals. How do you negotiate with someone whose interests seem so contrary to your own? Sometimes, even in the most difficult negotiations, a win-win outcome is possible. How can forming a novel alliance help your organization in its next negotiation with an intolerable counterpart?