The principled negotiation method has four steps:
Separate the people from the problem.
Focus on interests, not
Generate a variety of possibilities before deciding what to do.
Insist that the result be based on some objective standard.
Let us look at each of these in
Separate the people from the problem
Often negotiations can end up as personal
, where strong emotions and people's personalities obscure the real issues. Principled negotiation
us to disentangle the people from the issues; and to move from a confrontational situation to one in which the participants are working together to attack the problem as opposed to attacking each other. Some of the techniques from Chapter 15 can be useful here, particularly the following:
Exactly what is the issue?
State the issue.
What's the ideal solution (very useful)?
"What would you do in my position?"
Put yourself in the other person's position.
Treat it as a project. Apply Step 1 of structured project management visualize what the goal is; set your eyes on the prize.
Focus on interests, not positions
Most often we take up negotiating positions based on a number of factors (interests) which are important to us. In a conventional negotiation, the position can quickly come to obscure the interests. Principled negotiation says to focus on the interests and not the positions. Again the techniques mentioned above can be used to help to do this.
Generate a variety of possibilities before deciding what to do
In other words, brainstorm.
Insist that the result be based on some objective standard
In a conventional negotiation results are often arrived at by one side giving in, or the other side being intransigent. A different way is to agree in advance an objective standard or set of criteria by which the outcome will be judged. Once this is done, nobody has to give in both sides can use the standard as the definitive reference point. Examples of an objective standard are market value, precedent, equal treatment or expert opinion.
In this chapter I have tried to give you a feel for the method of principled negotiation. Like many of the other things in this book it smacks of just plain common sense. Instead of arguing the toss about something, we say "look, we have this problem, how can we solve it to our mutual satisfaction?" It is a way that we know instinctively is:
more likely to be successful
more likely to produce the best solution
a damn sight more pleasant
than traditional negotiation.
Getting to Yes
(Fisher and Ury, 1981) won't take you long to read it's about half the length of this book. I urge you to get your hands on a copy.