Sheila Heen

By PON Staffon / Executive Committee, PON Affiliated Faculty

Lecturer on Law, Harvard Law School

Co-Founder and CEO, Triad Consulting

Senior Affiliate, Harvard Negotiation Project

An expert on managing difficult negotiations, Sheila Heen is a lecturer on law at Harvard Law School and a founder of Triad Consulting. Her corporate clients include Apple, BAE Systems, HSBC, Tatweer of Dubai, Unilever, the Federal Reserve Bank, Pixar, Novartis, and numerous family businesses. She often partners with executive teams, helping them work through conflict, repair working relationships, and make sound decisions together. In the public sector, she has also provided training for the New England Organ Bank, the Singapore Supreme Court, the Obama White House, and theologians struggling with disagreement over the nature of truth and God. Heen has spent the last 20 years with the Harvard Negotiation Project, developing negotiation theory and practice.

Heen is the co-author of the New York Times business bestseller Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most, which has been named among 50 psychology classics, and by Penguin as among the 75 most important books they have published. She has appeared on shows as diverse as Oprah and the G. Gordon Liddy Show, NPR, Fox News, and CNBC’s Power Lunch. Her articles have been published in the New York Times, the Harvard Business Review, Fortune, Negotiation Journal, and Real Simple, among others.


B.A., Occidental College

J.D., Harvard Law School

Research interests

Negotiation theory, decision making, conflict resolution, improving conversations

Selected publications

  • With Douglas Stone and Bruce Patton. Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most. Penguin USA, 2000.
  • With Douglas Stone. Thanks for the Feedback: The Science and Art of Receiving Feedback Well. Portfolio Penguin, 2015.
  • “Sleeping with the (Political) Enemy.” New York Times, November 1, 2012.
  • “Responding to Feedback You Disagree With.” Harvard Business Review, April 14, 2017.
  • With Douglas Stone. “Find the Coaching in Criticism.” Harvard Business Review, January–February 2014.