Negotiation: The Harvard Negotiation Project

04/03/2023by dang tin0

The Harvard Negotiation Project

HARVARD FACULTY and staff have studied thousands of large and small negotiations, both in business and in national and international politics. They identified four key elements to successful negotiating. (The entire Harvard Negotiation Project is explained in the book Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In, by Roger Fisher, William Ury, and Bruce Patton.)

1. People. A key to successful negotiating is to separate the personalities of the people from the problem and the issues at hand. Remain unemotional. Keep your mind and your eyes focused on the subject of the negotiation, and don’t allow yourself to be sidetracked by the personalities, either positive or negative.

2. Interests. Begin the negotiation by clearly identifying the interests or needs of the different parties to the negotiation. Before you write out a list of what you want, write a list of the outcomes you are trying to accomplish. Then you decide what you will have to get in the negotiation in order to accomplish your goals.
When you sit down with the different parties, and even before, take the time to develop absolute clarity about what the other party wants and needs to achieve from this negotiation. Ask them, “If this discussion was ideal, what result would we achieve at the end, in your estimation?”

3. Options. Before getting into an argument on various points, develop a variety of options in those areas where you disagree. Create several possibilities. Use brainstorming methods to develop alternative approaches. You can use a mind map, a whiteboard, or a flipchart.

4. Criteria. These are often called “boundary conditions.” Before you negotiate, agree to base the result or conclusion on some objective criteria. How are you going to decide whether you have come up with a good ideal for both parties? What are you trying to avoid, achieve, or preserve?

Once you are both clear on what you need to accomplish in the negotiation to make both parties happy, you then compare various options and conclusions against this desired end result. You say, “A good deal will satisfy this condition. It will give us that result. It will achieve this goal.” In other words, you state what a good deal will look like, both for you and for the other party.

Finally, you go through and discuss the various ways that you can achieve the interests and the needs that will fulfill the objective criteria or boundary conditions that you have established.
This is a powerful process of negotiating that keeps people’s minds focused solely on the objectives and prevents them from being steered off course by personalities and tangential issues.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *