Sheila Heen, PON Executive Committee

By — on / Executive Committee, PON Faculty

Sheila Heen

Thaddeus R. Beal Professor of Practice, Harvard Law School

Deputy Director, Harvard Negotiation Project

Co-Founder, Triad Consulting

Sheila Heen is the Thaddeus R. Beal Professor of Practice and serves as a Deputy Director of the Harvard Negotiation Project, where she has been developing negotiation theory and practice since 1995. Heen also teaches in executive education programs for and serves on the Executive Committee of the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School.

Heen specializes in particularly difficult negotiations – where emotions run high and relationships are strained. She is also a co-author of two New York Times bestsellers, Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most (with Douglas Stone and Bruce Patton, 2nd ed Penguin 2010) and 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) (with Douglas Stone, Viking/Penguin 2014). She has written for the Harvard Business Review, and the New York Times as a guest expert and as a Modern Love columnist. Heen and her co-authors are currently working on a 3rd edition of Difficult Conversations, revising, and updating the content with what they have learned since.

Heen is also a Founder of Triad Consulting Group, a corporate education and consulting firm that serves clients on six continents. Her corporate clients have included Pixar, Hugo Boss, the NBA, the Federal Reserve Bank, Ford, Novartis, Converse, American Express, and numerous family businesses. She often works with executive teams, helping them to 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.

Sheila is a frequent media guest and has appeared on shows as diverse as Oprah, NPR, Fox News, and CNBC’s Power Lunch. She can be heard on podcast episodes of Shane Parrish’s Knowledge Project, Adam Grant’s WorkLife, Hidden Brain, and The Tim Ferriss Show. She has spoken at the Global Leadership Summit, the Nordic Business Forum, the Smithsonian, Apple, Google, Microsoft and the Leadership & Character Conference at the U.S. Air Force Academy. She got to fly along on a training mission in an F-16 while collaborating with the Air Force to strengthen feedback to pilots in training.

She is schooled in negotiation daily by her three children.


B.A., Occidental College

J.D., Harvard Law School

Research interests

Negotiation theory, decision making, understanding and managing conversations with high stakes and strong emotions

Selected publications & podcasts

  • With Douglas Stone and Bruce Patton, Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most. (2nd ed., Penguin, 2010).
  • With Douglas Stone, Thanks for the Feedback: The Science and Art of Receiving Feedback Well. (Penguin, 2014).
  • The Tim Ferriss Show, (podcast, 2021)
  • The Knowledge Project with Shane Parrish (podcast, 2019)
  • New York Times “Ask an Expert” 5-part series on “How to Negotiate Family Conflict” (2013)
  • “Sleeping With the (Political) Enemy,” New York Times, November 1, 2012.
  • With Debbie Goldstein, “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

The Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School
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