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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/

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there is a widely held misunderstanding about what great negotiation is

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and that misconception is that great negotiation is fair for all sides

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i’ll let you in on a little secret

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great negotiation is not about being fair

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your choices are not limited to win-lose (unfair outcomes) or win-win (fair outcomes)

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in fact, there is a third option

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and that is what great negotiation is all about

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the key to understanding this third option is to disabuse yourself of the notion that win-win is about being fair

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what you’ve been defining as win-win, is actually lose-lose

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let me explain by way of an example and a story

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by way of example, let’s assume that we are negotiating over 100% of something

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win-lose occurs when we split the 100% in an unfair distribution, let’s say i get 60% and you get 40%

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in this case, i win and you lose

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and as a result, we may have damaged our long-term relationship a bit ?

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then there is the case where we split the 100% fairly

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i get 50% and you get 50%

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in practice, this is what most of us call win-win

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but in fact, this is lose-lose

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although we may remain friends after the encounter

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both of us end up equally disappointed with what we got

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so if win-lose is unfair and unhappy negotiation and lose-lose is fair, but unsatisfying negotiation, then what is win-win?

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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

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huh?!?!

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how can two people get 100% of 100%

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easy

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turn the original 100% into 200%

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you do this with creativity and by listening to, and understanding, the underlying interests of each party

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here is a story from Fisher & Ury that demonstrates the magic of 200%….

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a mother returns home from a long day at the office and finds her two daughters in the kitchen fighting

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they are screaming at each other and locked in a tug of war

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the mother sees that they are fighting over an orange

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she forcefully separates the girls

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and with both the girls complaining loudly, she grabs a sharp knife from the counter top

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no, this is not a greek tragedy and there will be no infanticide

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instead, quietly and confidently, she cuts the orange in half and gives each girl half of the fruit

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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

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but she stops short of the door as something incredibly odd happens

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the first daughter peels the half orange, throws the peel in the garbage shoot and eats the fruit

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she then goes to the refrigerator to look for a bit more food, as she remains a bit hungry

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simultaneously, and to the great surprise of the mother, the second daughter peels the orange and throws the fruit down the garbage shoot!

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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

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oh dear

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you see what has happened right?

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both daughters could have had 100% of what they wanted, but instead, because of the seductive fallacy of fairness, they got 50%

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what the mother should have done, before jumping straight to the solution based on the apparent positions of the children (I want the orange)

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was to ask, “why”

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why do you want the orange?

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and this leads to real win-win negotiation

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so when you are negotiating with partners, employees, bosses, vendors, children, or friends

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do not allow yourself to settle for win-lose or lose-lose

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push yourself to find the 200% solution

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* and check out Getting to Yes by Fisher and Ury for lots more detailed advice

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