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a dick Don’t negotiate Like a dick Integrative negotiation advice from Roger Fisher and William Ury https://www.flickr.com/photos/23950335@N07/
there is a widely held misunderstanding about what great negotiation is
and that misconception is that great negotiation is fair for all sides
i’ll let you in on a little secret
great negotiation is not about being fair
your choices are not limited to win-lose (unfair outcomes) or win-win (fair outcomes)
in fact, there is a third option
and that is what great negotiation is all about
the key to understanding this third option is to disabuse yourself of the notion that win-win is about being fair
what you’ve been defining as win-win, is actually lose-lose
let me explain by way of an example and a story
by way of example, let’s assume that we are negotiating over 100% of something
win-lose occurs when we split the 100% in an unfair distribution, let’s say i get 60% and you get 40%
in this case, i win and you lose
and as a result, we may have damaged our long-term relationship a bit ?
then there is the case where we split the 100% fairly
i get 50% and you get 50%
in practice, this is what most of us call win-win
but in fact, this is lose-lose
although we may remain friends after the encounter
both of us end up equally disappointed with what we got
so if win-lose is unfair and unhappy negotiation and lose-lose is fair, but unsatisfying negotiation, then what is win-win?
win-win negotiation happens when each of us gets 100%. * win-win negotiation is also known as integrative (not distributive) negotiation is defined in greater detail by Roger Fisher and William Ury in their seminal book, Getting to Yes
how can two people get 100% of 100%
turn the original 100% into 200%
you do this with creativity and by listening to, and understanding, the underlying interests of each party
here is a story from Fisher & Ury that demonstrates the magic of 200%….
a mother returns home from a long day at the office and finds her two daughters in the kitchen fighting
they are screaming at each other and locked in a tug of war
the mother sees that they are fighting over an orange
she forcefully separates the girls
and with both the girls complaining loudly, she grabs a sharp knife from the counter top
no, this is not a greek tragedy and there will be no infanticide
instead, quietly and confidently, she cuts the orange in half and gives each girl half of the fruit
proud to have once more demonstrated mother’s wisdom at finding a win-win solution, and enjoying the relative quiet that has now descended, she starts to leave the kitchen
but she stops short of the door as something incredibly odd happens
the first daughter peels the half orange, throws the peel in the garbage shoot and eats the fruit
she then goes to the refrigerator to look for a bit more food, as she remains a bit hungry
simultaneously, and to the great surprise of the mother, the second daughter peels the orange and throws the fruit down the garbage shoot!
the second daughter then goes to the counter top and starts calculating ingredients to bake half an orange cake, since she has only half the needed orange peel
you see what has happened right?
both daughters could have had 100% of what they wanted, but instead, because of the seductive fallacy of fairness, they got 50%
what the mother should have done, before jumping straight to the solution based on the apparent positions of the children (I want the orange)
was to ask, “why”
why do you want the orange?
and this leads to real win-win negotiation
so when you are negotiating with partners, employees, bosses, vendors, children, or friends
do not allow yourself to settle for win-lose or lose-lose
push yourself to find the 200% solution
* and check out Getting to Yes by Fisher and Ury for lots more detailed advice
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