Getting to YES

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Getting to YES (ISBN 1-84413-146-7) is a reference book describing the principled negotiation or negotiation on the merits strategy (also referred to win-win negotiation), as a preferred alternative to positional bargaining.[1] Written by Roger Fisher (professor and Director of the Harvard Negotiation Project), William Ury (negotiation / mediation consultant and director of the Negotiation Network at Harvard University & Associate Director of the Harvard Negotiation Project), and for the Second Edition, Bruce Patton (founder and director of Vantage Partners, Deputy Director of the Harvard Negotiation Project) , first edition 1981, second edition 1991. This book has become a negotiation best seller: over 2 million copies in 20 different languages (in 1999) and has broadly influenced negotiation literature.


[edit] Chapter Summaries

Getting to Yes is written in 5 main sections.

[edit] Don't bargain over positions

A position in this context is defined as where someone stands on an argument. As an example if you want to buy a car your position is a figure that you've quoted the seller, on the other hand the salesman's position a figure much higher.

Getting to YES highlights:

  • Arguing over position produces unwise agreements.
    • As more attention is paid to positions, less attention is devoted to meeting the underlying concerns of the parties. Agreement less likely.
  • Arguing over position is inefficient.
  • Arguing over position endangers an ongoing relationship.
  • When there are many parties, positional bargaining is even worse.
  • Being nice and giving in is no answer.

The book explains how positions are part of human beings and their integrity. They are not negotiable unless one of the two negotiators folds and accepts losing, but as no one negotiates to lose there is no point in bargaining over positions.

[edit] Separate people from the problem

Getting to YES highlights:

  • Negotiators are people first.
  • Every negotiator has two kinds of interests: in the substance and in the relationship.
    • The relationship tends to become entangled with the problem.
    • Position Bargaining puts relationship and substance in conflict.
  • Separate relationship from the substance; deal directly with the people problem.
    • Perception
      • Put yourself in their shoes.
      • Don't deduce their intentions from your fear.
      • Don't blame them for your problem.
      • Discuss each other's perceptions.
      • Look for opportunities to act inconsistently with their perception.
      • Give them a stake in the outcome by making sure they participate in the process.
      • Face saving: make your proposals consistent with their values.
    • Emotion
      • First recognize and understand emotions, theirs and yours.
      • Make emotions explicit and acknowledge them as legitimate.
      • Allow the other side to let off steam.
      • Don't react to emotional outbursts.
      • Use symbolic gestures.
    • Communication
      • Listen actively and acknowledge what is being said.
      • Speak to be understood.
      • Speak about yourself, not about them.
      • Speak for a purpose.
  • Prevention works best.
    • Build a working relationship.
    • Face the problem, not the people.

The book explains how in negotiation, it's pretty easy to entangle the problem and the negotiator; thus, it is important to keep in mind that the negotiator is a human being with emotions and is not the problem, but the one who will help to solve the real problem.

[edit] Focus on interests, not positions

Getting to YES highlights:

  • For a wise solution reconcile interests, not positions.
    • Interests define the problem.
  • Behind opposed positions lie shared and compatible interests, as well as conflicting ones.
  • How do you identify interests?
    • Ask "Why?" Ask "Why not?" Think about their choice.
    • Realize that each side has multiple interests.
      • Identify shared interests and focus on mutual options for gain.
    • The most powerful interests are basic human needs:
      • Security (economic well being),
      • Guidance (a sense of belonging),
      • Wisdom (recognition),
      • Power (control over one's life)
  • Talking about interests
    • Make your interests come alive.
    • Acknowledge their interests as part of the problem.
    • Put the problem before your answer.
    • Look forward not back.
    • Be concrete but flexible.
    • Be hard on the problem, soft on the people.

The book explains interests are the objectives of a negotiation. Each negotiator must seek to fulfill his interests and needs, there is no point in trying to change the other side's position.

[edit] Invent options for mutual gain

Getting to YES highlights:

  • Don't assume there is a fixed pie and only one answer.
  • Don't think solving their problem is their problem, help them.
  • Separate inventing from deciding: brainstorming process.
  • Broaden your options.
  • Look through the eyes of different experts.
  • Invent agreement of different strengths.
  • Identify shared interests.
  • Ask for their preferences.
  • Make their decision easy.

A good behavior in negotiation is described as a creative open-minded behavior: the negotiator should seek to invent new options that might satisfy both parties' needs. It is also wise to take the other side's needs in account when making new proposals.

[edit] Insist on using objective criteria

Getting to YES highlights:

  • Principled negotiation produces wise agreements amicably and efficiently.
  • Use fair standards, fair procedures.
  • Never yield to pressure.
  • Use a 3rd party as referee.
  • Consider the one text procedure. Create one solutions based text that both parties can try to amend and agree upon together.

The book explains how negotiation is often linked to people's points of view, and why a good idea to reach a fair deal is to reference the deal to objective criteria.

[edit] Misc

Getting to YES highlights:

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  1. ^ R. Fisher et al., Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In, 10, (Penguin 1991).

[edit] External links

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