Question: I’ve just finished reading the recent book No One Would Listen: A True Financial Thriller (Wiley, 2010) by Harry Markopolos, the whistle-blower in the Bernard Madoff scandal. Why do you think Markopolos was so ineffective at persuading the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that Madoff was a fraud? What does this story tell us about how to be persuasive in negotiation more generally? Answer: I read Markopolos’s book, too, and I found it to be stunning. I’ve also read quite carefully the publicly available documentation of his investigation that he provided, and I agree with his core conclusions.
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The following items are tagged negotiation skill.
Courses and Training
This highly interactive semester-length seminar explores the ways that people negotiate to create value and resolve disputes. Designed both to improve understanding of negotiation theory and to build negotiation skills, the curriculum integrates negotiation research from several academic fields with experiential learning exercises.
Sally Soprano is a distinguished soprano who is now somewhat past her prime. She has not had a lead role in two years but would like to revive her career. The Lyric Opera has a production scheduled to open in three weeks, but its lead soprano has become unavailable. Lyric’s representative has requested a meeting with Sally’s agent to discuss the possibility of hiring Sally for the production. Neither knows much about the other’s interests or alternatives. There is a wide-range of possible outcomes.
From complicated negotiation strategies to artful subterfuge, conflict resolution games are one of the very best ways to prepare for the challenges of real-world negotiation. Games that employ a Prisoner’s Dilemma structure (where rational parties may not cooperate despite their best interests) enable participants to analyze negotiations, make strategic decisions, and anticipate their counterpart’s next move.
Courses and Training
We’re sorry, but the September session of Negotiation and Leadership and our one-day session, Winning at Win-Win Negotiations, is currrently sold out.
James Sebenius and Kristen Schneeman
DVD featuring excerpts from a discussion with Ambassador Lakhdar Brahimi regarding his international negotiation experiences, including negotiating a new government for Afghanistan in 2002
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.
Courses and Training
Turn disputes into deals. Transform deals into better deals. Resolve intractable problems. Negotiating effectively requires the ability to change the game – moving away from conflict and toward collaboration. In this intensive, interactive program, you acquire a proven framework for maximizing the value of your negotiation, whether you are behind the bargaining table with a client or across the table with an opposing party.
Engaged with a professional group of peers, you will participate in discussions and simulations that cover a range of complex scenarios ranging from intellectual property, pricing, and licensing negotiations to international, domestic, public, and private disputes. You will refine your negotiation skills and leave with a set of strategies that you can use to deal with difficult negotiation behaviors and hard-bargaining tactics.
Michael Maturo, Kate Mahoney, Francisco Ingouville and Anthony Wanis St. John, under the direction of David Fairman
Six-person mediated negotiation among representatives of the Guatemalan government, military, rebel groups, indigenous people, and U.S. government to address post-armed-conflict human rights, land claims, and cultural and political rights issues
If you’ve ever been annoyed by a negotiation counterpart who can’t seem to remember your interests and priorities, it could be that your communication skills, not his poor memory, are to blame. Negotiators typically aren’t as transparent as they think they are. In some cases, we think we’re revealing more information to the other side than we actually are. At other times, we fail to present information as clearly as possible. Such communication failures can pose significant problems. In one study, professors George Loewenstein and Don Moore of Carnegie Mellon University found that when information can be interpreted in different ways, differing expectations and settlement delays may result.
Courses and Training
Whether you’re a vice president, litigator, manager, or transactional attorney, negotiation is central to nearly every professional activity. Systematic and thorough preparation, as well as an ability to manage shared, different, and conflicting interests, is critical to success.
Designed to address the core issues that you experience as you negotiate on behalf of your clients, organizations, or yourself, this intensive two-day program provides a theoretical framework for thinking about business and legal negotiations. You will address distinct challenges faced by lawyers and professionals – ranging from multi-party, complex negotiations to situations involving difficult people and behaviors – and acquire proven strategies for overcoming them.
In complex legal negotiations, money, reputations, and sometimes even lives are often at stake. Legal professionals must know how to read and debate the law as well as fully embrace the art and science of negotiation.
To help attorneys and other legal professionals become well versed in law and court-based negotiation, the Program on Negotiation’s Teaching Negotiation Resource Center (TNRC) offers a wide range of role-play negotiation simulations.
Courses and Training
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.
What do a Nobel Peace Prize recipient, the CEO of an international financial advisory firm, and the former United States ambassador to the United Nations have in common? They’ve all received the Great Negotiator Award.
Every year, the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School bestows this prestigious honor on distinguished leaders whose lifelong accomplishments in the field of dispute resolution and negotiation have had compelling and lasting results.
When opposing parties cannot come to a satisfactory resolution, a strong mediator can make all the difference. By effectively examining the issues at hand and helping parties identify creative solutions, a well-trained mediator builds consensus where there once was none.
To help professionals learn the art of mediation, the Program on Negotiation’s Teaching Negotiation Resource Center (TNRC) offers a wide range of role-play negotiation exercises.
In his book Bargaining for Advantage: Negotiation Strategies for Reasonable People (Penguin, 2006), G. Richard Shell analyzes this story from Nancy Griffin and Kim Masters’s book Hit & Run: How Jon Peters and Peter Guber Took Sony for a Ride in Hollywood (Simon & Schuster, 1996) as an example of the deceptive tactics negotiators sometimes use to get what they want. Here are five other common types of deception you may come across in negotiation, according to Richard Shell.
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.
From complicated land use debates to the regulation of pollutants, environmental negotiations are fraught with dynamic legal, scientific, and societal considerations. Because many of the natural resources in question are limited and fragile, disputes over them can be particularly difficult.
To help educate professionals about how to work through challenging environmental and sustainability negotiations, the Program on Negotiation’s Teaching Negotiation Resource Center offers a wide range of role-play exercises.
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.
What’s one of the best ways to teach the art and science of negotiation? Case studies and articles that spark lively discussion or facilitate self-reflection. Based on real-world examples, these teaching resources are designed to help students envision how to apply what they’ve learned in the classroom and beyond.
The Teaching Negotiation Resource Center (TNRC) at the Program on Negotiation offers negotiation case studies from renowned authors who’ve negotiated trade agreements, aided peace treaties, and handled many other high-stakes deals. By drawing on their own experiences, they’ve crafted negotiation case studies that are authentic, compelling, and enlightening.
Individual negotiators are sometimes overwhelmed by the idea of leading organization-wide changes to negotiation practices. In fact,
it doesn’t take much time or effort to set the wheels of reform in motion, write Hallam Movius and Lawrence Susskind in Built to Win. Here
are four simple steps to implement in your workplace.
The increasingly diverse and global nature of business sets the stage for disputes that can cross ethnic and cultural lines—fueling the need for expertise in cross-cultural negotiations. To help teach these nuances and tactics, the Teaching Negotiation Resource Center (TNRC) has developed several negotiation exercises that address the challenges that are inherent to cross-cultural negotiations.
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.
Private sector or commercial negotiations can range from relatively straightforward, high-stakes contract negotiations between suppliers and distributors to complex, multiparty negotiations between government, industry, and other interest groups. To help teach these key negotiation skills the Teaching Negotiation Resource Center (TNRC) has developed a wide range of role-play exercises that reflect the full breadth and depth of business and commercial negotiations.
Whether you’re purchasing a new home or car, or negotiating a discount on an inventory purchase for your firm, the art of haggling enables negotiators to make a strong claim for their share of the pie. Here are six tips from the Negotiation Briefings newsletter to help you start becoming a better at haggling in business negotiations.
Just like the prices of houses, cars, and other big-ticket items, the prices of furniture, electronics, wine, jewelry, another “medium-ticket” goods are now frequently up for discussion. The ancient art of haggling—the back-and-forth dance of offers and concessions between buyer and seller—is making a comeback, and you would do well to brush up on your skills.
In the early 1990s, NASA managers and engineers were warned by an expert in risk
analysis that the heat-resistant tiles that protected space shuttles during reentry into Earth’s
atmosphere could be damaged by debris from the insulating foam on the shuttle’s’ fuel tanks.
During missions over the next 10 years, debris did, indeed, hit tiles, but the damage was always minor and could be repaired between missions.
On May 30, the National Basketball Association (NBA) announced it had approved former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer’s record-breaking $2 billion offer to buy the Los Angeles Clippers from Shelly Sterling, wife of Clippers owner Donald Sterling. In April, the NBA banned Sterling from the league for life after racist remarks he made during a phone call were made public.
Negotiations to buy the Clippers were fast and furious. Aware that the NBA Board of Governors could have voted to terminate both of the Sterlings’ ownership interests at a meeting scheduled for June 3, Shelly Sterling was eager to sell the team before that date and reportedly was authorized by her estranged husband to negotiate on his behalf. As part of the sale agreement, Shelly Sterling and her family’s trust promised not to sue the NBA and to absolve the league of litigation filed by others, including her husband. Donald Sterling, meanwhile, filed a $1 billion lawsuit against the NBA the day his wife’s deal was announced.
After recently losing an important deal in India, a business negotiator learned that her counterpart felt as if she had been rushing through the talks. The business negotiator thought she was being efﬁcient with their time. How can she improve her cross-cultural negotiation skills?
Research shows that dealmaking across cultures tends to lead to worse outcomes as compared with negotiations conducted within the same culture. This is primarily because cultures are characterized by different behaviors, communication styles, and norms. As a result, when negotiating across cultures, we bring different perspectives to the bargaining table, which in turn may result in potential misunderstandings and a lower likelihood of exploring and discovering integrative, or value-creating, solutions.
Although Elfenbein and her colleagues did find that negotiators performed at a similar level from one negotiation to the next, to their surprise, these scores were only minimally related to specific personality traits. And traits that are basically unchangeable, such as gender, ethnic background, and physical attractiveness, were not closely connected to people’s scores.
A small number of traits did affect negotiators’ performance,however. Let’s look at the qualities that stood out in this study, as well as some that other researchers have identified.
In their training, police and professional hostage negotiators are taught skills that will help them defuse tense situations over the course of long phone calls, such as engaging in active listening, determining the person’s emotions from his or her inflection, and trust building.
These crisis negotiators are being put to the test by young criminal suspects and others in crisis, whose first instinct increasingly seems to be texting rather than talking, according to an Associated Press article.
Red Bank, Tennessee, police chief Tim Christol tells the Associated Press that the usual negotiation skills he teaches don’t translate to texting, such as emotional labeling in the form of a statement such as “You sound angry.” Without verbal cues, Christol says, it becomes much more difficult to understand the emotional state of the person in crisis, and misunderstandings are common. “Words are only 7 percent of communication,” he says.
Most negotiation advice centers on the mistakes all of us make. But individual differences in personality, intelligence, and outlook could also affect your talks.
To encourage the negotiators they supervise to do their best, managers routinely rely on performance benchmarks, the promise of bonuses, and other types of goals. But before you engage in further goal setting, consider the following real-life disasters: Under the leadership of turnaround expert Q.T. Wiles, quarterly earnings goals became a company wide obsession at disk drive manufacturer MiniScribe in the 1980s.
In just one example of the unethical behavior inspired by the race for higher earnings, employees shipped bricks disguised as hard drives. Rampant fraud was revealed, and MiniScribe went bankrupt. In the early 1990s, Sears, Roebuck and Co. gave its auto repair staff the goal of achieving$147 per hour in sales. To reach this challenging goal, staff overcharged for work and made unnecessary repairs. The scandal broke, and Sears’s reputation suffered for years. In the years leading up to its collapse, energy-trading company Enron promised its salespeople large bonuses for meeting challenging revenue goals.
You can’t control the U.S. financial markets, but you can take these three steps to make sure your deals don’t contribute to a predictable surprise in your own home or organization.
Just one week after David Letterman revealed his decision to leave his long-running talk show, the Late Show with David Letterman, CBS announced that comedian Stephen Colbert would be his replacement. The negotiations surrounding the changing-of-the-guard were remarkably business-like and calm for the tumultuous world of late-night television.
Letterman debuted his show Late Night in 1982 and then switched to CBS in 1992 following a contentious battle with Jay Leno for Johnny Carson’s chair at the Tonight Show. Letterman’s voluntary decision to retire comes on the heels of Leno’s forced retirement from NBC, which replaced him with Jimmy Kimmel while his ratings were still healthy.
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.
Most negotiators will never engage in the kinds of high-stakes bargaining we read about in publications such as The Wall Street Journal and The Financial Times, but almost every negotiator will encounter the dreaded salary negotiation during the course of her career, a scenario that is, in many ways, the definition of a “difficult conversation.”
We stress preparation for negotiations in our literature and in our Negotiation and Leadership executive education course but both research and experience recognize that even the most prepared and adept negotiator can have her planning and negotiation preparation scuttled by unforeseen circumstances and invisible barriers.
That is why women often encounter difficulty during salary negotiations, according to a recent article by Tara Siegel Bernard for the New York Times. Self-advocating for a pay raise in the workplace often places women in the unenviable role of attempting, “…to juggle when they are on a tight rope.”
On April 9, the Paycheck Fairness Act, legislation intended to close the pay gap between men and women, was defeated in the Senate due to a lack of Republican support. The bill would have made it illegal for employers to penalize employees for discussing their salaries and would have required the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to collect pay information from employers.
Pay inequities and a lack of women in upper management remain enduring problems in the workplace. Absent government initiatives to mandate solutions, how can women themselves better advocate for higher pay, promotions, and plum assignments? Negotiation researchers advise women to avoid a backlash against asking for more by connecting their interests to those of the organization.
In a related maneuver aimed at protecting the weaker party to the deal, courts might infer additional terms within the contract or expand common-law notions of fiduciary duty.
Consider the famous case of the Page brothers – let’s call them “Big Page” and “Little Page” for simplicity – who started a linen supply company in Santa Maria, California, in the late 1940s.
Big Page was the brains of the operations; Little Page supplied equal capital but deferred to his older brother’s expertise.
Business was slow for several years, and the partnership lost money.
This three-step approach to managing process issues in negotiations will reap significant rewards at the bargaining table.
The concept of emotional intelligence burst into the cultural imagination in 1995 with the publication of psychologist Daniel Goleman’s bestselling book of the same name. Experts have predicted that scoring high on this personality trait would boost one’s bargaining outcomes. After all, the qualities that characterize emotional intelligence—awareness of our emotions and how they affect others, the ability to regulate our moods and behavior, empathy, the motivation to meet meaningful personal goals, and strong social skills—seem as if they’d help us get what we want from others and find common ground.
Should emotional intelligence be included among the most essential negotiation skills? In a new study, researchers Kihwan Kim (Buena Vista University), Nicole L. A. Cundiff (the University of Alaska, Fairbanks), and Suk Bong Choi (the University of Ulsan, South Korea) sought to determine whether emotional intelligence correlates with beneficial negotiation outcomes, namely trust building, the desire to work together in the future, and joint gain.
A Q&A with Sheila Heen, co-author (with Douglas Stone) of the new book, Thanks for the Feedback: The Science and Art of Receiving Feedback Well.
We recently interviewed Sheila Heen, lecturer at Harvard Law School, PON Faculty member, and Partner at Triad Consulting Group, about her new book with Douglas Stone, Thanks for the Feedback: The Science and Art of Receiving Feedback Well (Even When It’s Off Base, Unfair, Poorly Delivered, and Frankly, You’re Not in the Mood). Heen and Stone are co-authors, along with Bruce Patton, of the New York Times Business Bestseller Difficult Conversations. They have teamed up again to share their insights about what helps people learn and what gets in their way.
While the business world spends billions of dollars and millions of hours each year teaching us how to give feedback, Stone and Heen argue that we’ve got it backwards. Their new book demonstrates why the smart money is on educating receivers— both in the workplace and in personal relationships.
On February 11, House of Representatives Speaker John A. Boehner reportedly rendered his Republican colleagues speechless. At a meeting of the Republican Capitol Hill Club, Boehner announced that he would bring to a vote a measure to raise the U.S. government’s borrowing limit without preconditions until March 2015, as reported in the New York Times.
The move was widely viewed as a surrender and a violation of the speaker’s own “Boehner Rule,” which requires that any increase in the debt ceiling be matched by equal spending cuts or changes to the budget. By holding the vote, Boehner ended a series of budget showdowns held over the past three years, each of which shook global confidence in the U.S. economy.
No matter how many right moves you make at the table – however skillfully you read body language, frame arguments, make offers and counteroffers – doing so at the wrong table can undercut your results.
Not only should you negotiate right, you should do the right negotiation. Sometimes this means looking with new eyes for a more promising table.
For example, the owners of a niche packaging company that boasted an innovative technology and a novel product were deep in price negotiations to sell the company to one of three potential industry buyers, all larger packaging operations. The owners’ first instinct had been to persuade their bankers of the need for a higher valuation, refine their at-the-table negotiating tactics for dealing with each major player, and try to spark a bidding war.
In negotiation, a combination of several negotiation skills and tactics may be needed to break past a difficult impasse. A recent protracted negotiation between North Korea and South Korea provides a case study.
In April, North Korea abruptly removed its workforce from the Kaesong Industrial Complex, a joint venture it launched within its borders nine years ago with South Korea. The complex shut down, and the two nations engaged in seven rounds of negotiations over the course of 133 days to try to reach agreement to reopen it.
Lectures, like publications such as this one, are an excellent means of transmitting knowledge from an expert to a less knowledgeable audience.
I have attended many amazing lectures on a multitude of topics and have learned fascinating information about the ecosystem, politics in different nations, animal species, and so on. I even have enjoyed hearing negotiation experts talk about the keys to their success. However, I am not at all confident that any particular lecture has improved my negotiation skills.
In his article, “Full Engagement: Learning the Most from Negotiation Simulations,” Lawrence Susskind discussed the value of learning negotiation skills by participating in simulations. To explain why simulations are so effective, Susskind overview psychologist Kurt Lewin’s model of change.
In the The Third Side, William Ury suggests several concrete steps that you can take to start mobilizing the third-side approach to tackle naggling conflicts.
To your negotiation toolkit, consider adding a new skill: mind mapping.
In a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, Zack Anchors describes how financial advisor Rob O’Dell of Wheaton Wealth Partners of Wheaton, Illinois used the unconventional technique in an attempt to help a client negotiate the sale of his shares of the family business to his younger brother, who hoped to pass the business on to his children.
There are three major reasons that managers are reluctant to seek the assistance they need.
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.
With its booming economy and growing international consumer influence, negotiation skills appropriate for China is in high-demand. Here are a few tips to help you successfully navigate your next round of negotiations in China.
By following these steps in your next negotiation, you’ll improve the chances of meeting everyone’s interests.
On February 16, in the midst of the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) All-Star weekend, members of the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) unanimously voted to oust Billy Hunter as the union’s executive director.
“This is our union and we have taken it back,” National Basketball Players Association president Derek Fisher said, as reported by ESPN.com. Fisher said the union had been “divided, misled, [and] misinformed,” by its leader. Hunter hinted in a statement that he might contest his firing in court.
A passive approach to learning rarely leads to future negotiation success. To maximize your training experience, follow these guidelines.
Based on current research, the following is a summary of the information you need to set up an optimal accountability system for negotiators in your organization.
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.
On November 28, dozens of employees at several fast-food restaurants in New York City walked off their jobs and demanded better pay and unionization. In doing so, they launched what is believed to be the largest coordinated campaign in the United States to unionize fast-food workers from different restaurants, reports Steven Greenhouse in the New York Times.
Negotiating by email poses a set of challenges that one doesn’t often encounter in face-to-face negotiations.
Without the benefit of seeing your counterpart’s body language, what one person might intend to be a straightforward request the other might perceive to be rude.
A legitimate delay responding to an email offer by one party might be construed by the other as a dirty negotiating tactic. If the subject matter being negotiated has an emotional element, the lack of seeing the other party’s facial expression could lead to big misunderstandings.
Attempts to exercise power can backfire. As a negotiator, you must balance these three risks against the potential benefits of developing and exercising power.
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.
Negotiation preparation is as much an organizational task as an individual one. For example, when determining their best alternative to a negotiated agreement or BATNA (the point at which the negotiators ought to walk away from the table), executives should check in with key organizational leaders. If senior managers are unwilling to invest time in such a conversation – or if they offer less-than-helpful advice such as, “Whatever you do, don’t lose that account!” – an executive can’t be held responsible for poor negotiation preparation.
How can organizations capitalize on negotiation experience? Through reflective practice: the process of considering the results of each negotiation in light of initial expectations and then discussing what ought to be tried next. While each negotiator must take initiative for reflective practice, to truly learn from experience, most need continual coaching from mentors.
To further improve negotiations, a company could publish an internal negotiation newsletter that can be distributed through a secure company intranet. Each month, the person overseeing the newsletter could choose a negotiation involving someone within the company.
Just before a meeting with her boss, Cindy peeks into his secretary’s office and whispers, “How’s his mood today?” When the secretary gives a thumbs-up, Cindy decides the time is right to ask for a big raise.
In previous posts, the widespread belief that some people are honest negotiators and others are not has been shown to be inapplicable to real-world negotiations. Rather, because people respond strongly to their environment, ethical standards often vary depending on the context.
Reading groups at Harvard Law School, consisting of 2Ls and 3Ls, present faculty and students with opportunities to study with one another in a less formal setting. Additionally, students are encouraged and are able to gain an in-depth knowledge of the particular reading group’s subject matter.
Many negotiation experts recommend that you try to take the other party’s perspective, particularly when attempting to resolve disputes.
Recent research by Nicholas Epley of the University of Chicago and Eugene Caruso and Max Bazerman of Harvard University suggests a dark side to this generally sound negotiation advice. The researchers ran a series of experiments in which they asked participants to determine the fair division of a scarce resource. Half of the subjects (the “self-focused condition”) were asked how much would be fair for them to take. The other subjects (the “other-focused” condition) were asked to think about what would be fair for others to take and then write down how much would be fair for each party (not just themselves) to take.
Past Negotiation articles have highlighted many of the cognitive biases likely to confront negotiators. Work by researchers Russell B. Korobkin of UCLA and Chris P. Guthrie of Vanderbilt University suggests how to turn knowledge of four specific biases into tools of persuasion.
Like in the title character in Woody Allen’s movie Zelig, some people can smoothly adopt the manner and attitudes of those around them. Due to the lengths such chameleons go to alter their behavior, contemporary psychologists have dubbed them “high self-monitors.”
Many people consider negotiations to be stressful and threatening. Others view them as challenges to be overcome. Do these different attitudes influence the outcomes that people reach? New research by professors Kathleen M. O’Connor of Cornell University and Josh A. Arnold of California State University sheds light on this important question.
The Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School, in conjunction with the Future of Diplomacy Project at Harvard Kennedy School, honored distinguished statesman and former Secretary of State James A. Baker III as the recipient of their Great Negotiator Award for 2012. Secretary Baker served under President George H.W. Bush from 1989 to 1992.
A panel discussion was held on the afternoon of March 29 and included Program on Negotiation faculty members James Sebenius and Robert Mnookin, as well as Harvard Kennedy School faculty member Nicholas Burns. The Great Negotiator Award was created twelve years ago by the Program on Negotiation to recognize an individual whose lifetime achievements in the field of negotiation and dispute resolution have had a lasting impact.
Often it is the relatively small details of an agreement that can cause the most consternation in negotiation. When viewed in light of the big picture, these details can be of minor importance, but while in the heat of the action they can become points of contention capable of derailing the process altogether, especially if these points are left unresolved and the two parties have to come back to the negotiating table again in the future. Tufts University Fletcher School of Diplomacy professor and Program on Negotiation faculty member Jeswald Salacuse recently described four such scenarios in his article “The Endgame” for the Winter 2012 edition of Tufts Magazine.
Professor Salacuse emphasizes that having good negotiation skills while in the midst of battle is important, but of equal importance is the ability to execute a good endgame. Professor Salacuse offers four methods to close the deal:
Set a deadline.
Not all issues have to be decided immediately.
Invite an influential third-party.
Solicit the opinions of an expert.
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?
Negotiation is not only something we do at work; often the toughest negotiations we encounter are in our personal lives. In a recent Wall Street Journal article, Daniel Shapiro, Associate Director of the Harvard Negotiation Project and a faculty affiliate with the Program on Negotiation, offers some suggestions on how negotiation skills can be used to repair friendships that are strained or broken. To start, suggests Shapiro, don’t assume that the other party is going to be ready right away to return to a close relationship. By listening closely to the concerns and feelings expressed by a friend, and understanding their perspective, one can begin to rebuild trust, a key component in any relationship.
For decades, General Electric (GE) and the Environmental Protection Agency sparred over who would pay for the removal of PCBs, or polychlorinated biphenyls, that GE had discharged into New York’s Hudson River, a cleanup project expected to cost hundreds of millions of dollars. In October 2005, the two sides came to an agreement.
In the midst of the recent financial crisis, accusations of greed on Wall Street have sounded across the globe. Greed may be a significant factor in the collapse of credit markets, but it’s not the only one. Overlooked in cries to punish the “bad apples” is the role of a mistake that virtually all negotiators make: ignoring how our short-term decisions will affect us and others in the future.
This month’s Harvard Business Review features an article by Daniel Shapiro, an Associate at the Harvard Negotiation Project. Shapiro’s article focuses on repressing emotions and its negative effect on businesses.
The evidence from social science is clear: people’s behavior is powerfully influenced by the actions of those who are like them. A classic study by Harvey Hornstein, Elisha Fisch, and Michael Holmes found that New York City residents were highly likely to return a lost wallet after learning that a “similar other”—another New Yorker—had first tried to do so. But evidence that a dissimilar other—a foreigner—had tried to return the wallet did not increase the likelihood that they would try. When people are trying to determine how to act, they pay attention to how others like them behave in the same situation.
The benefits of hiring an agent are well known. Yet negotiation experts often overlook the ways in which you can use the other side’s agent to your advantage.
Suppose you work for a specialty bicycle manufacturer and have negotiated a one-year contract to buy 500 headlamps per month from a supplier for $10 each, with payment due 30 days after receipt. The seller makes five deliveries; you promptly pay $5,000 after each shipment. The seller fails to make the sixth delivery, however, and announces it will not be able to make any of the remaining shipments because of a production glitch that has made the headlamps extremely expensive to produce. What recourse do you have?
Imagine you’re celebrating a special occasion with friends at an upscale restaurant. Soon after you take your seats, the wine director introduces himself and hands you a list of high-end bottles of wine. You notice that the prices—all in the $200–$600 range—have been slashed through with a red pen.
Under certain conditions, women may work harder than men when negotiating on behalf of others, suggests a study by Harvard professors Hannah Riley Bowles and Kathleen McGinn, and Carnegie Mellon University professor Linda Babcock.
Imagine that at the beginning of class, a professor produces a jar full of coins and announces that he is auctioning it off. Students can write down a bid, he explains, and the highest bidder wins the contents of the jar in exchange for his or her bid.
Even when parties at the negotiating table have the same interests, they may disagree on the amount of risk they are willing to take.
Individuals in this position often feel as though they have few if any options. In his February 2006 article in Negotiation newsletter, “Negotiating with a 900-Pound Gorilla,” MIT Professor Lawrence Susskind offers strategies for how negotiators in a weak position should deal with a seemingly all-powerful opponent.
What’s the right number of options to put forward in financial negotiations? In their April 2005 article in the Negotiation newsletter, “Putting More on the Table: How Making Multiple Offers Can Increase the Final Value of the Deal,” Northwestern professors Victoria Husted Medvec and Adam D. Galinsky write that issuing three equivalent offers simultaneously can be a good strategy in financial negotiations.
What do we do when we’re uncertain about how to behave in business negotiations? We study the behavior of others in similar situations.
When we look for social proof regarding the “right” way to behave, we tend to make quicker, more efficient decisions, writes psychologist Robert Cialdini of Arizona State University.
The Clearinghouse at PON offers hundreds of role simulations, from two-party, single-issue negotiations to complex multi-party exercises. The following role simulation explores client/attorney relationships and the complexity of information exchange.