Note: While reading a book whenever I come across something interesting, I highlight it on my Kindle. Later I turn those highlights into a blogpost. It is not a complete summary of the book. These are my notes which I intend to go back to later. Let’s start!

THE POWER OF FRAMING

  • Control  the  frame  of  the  negotiation.  The  frame  that  takes  hold  will  shape  how negotiators make decisions, evaluate options, and decide what is acceptable.

  • Convincing  the  other  party  that  they  will  have  to  concede  or  withdraw  from  initial positions is not enough. You have to make it easier for them to back down.

  • It is a good idea to educate the other side at the outset about the limits of what you can offer and about the areas where you have more or less flexibility.

NEGOTIATE STYLE AND STRUCTURE, NOT JUST THE SUBSTANCE

  • The breakthrough came when we noticed a flaw in how we were going about the discussion: we were stuck negotiating royalty rates in one dimension ( over time),  when  our  differing  perspectives made clear that two dimensions were in play: the passage of time and the quantity of sales.  Maybe we  could  leverage  this  to  create  a  royalty  schedule  that  went  both  up  and  down.  If  the  other  side needed to show rates going down over time, perhaps we could accommodate this and still safeguard our financial interests when the product sold more.

PAY ATTENTION TO THE OPTICS OF THE DEAL

  • Pay attention to the optics of the deal. It’s not just the substance of what you offer that matters, but how it looks to your negotiating partners and to their audience.

HELP THE OTHER SIDE SELL IT

  • Think  about  how  the  other  side  will  sell  the  deal,  and  frame  the  proposal  with  their audience in mind.

MAKE IT SAFE FOR THE OTHER SIDE TO ASK FOR HELP

  • The safer you make it for the other party to tell you the truth, the more likely they are to do so.

  • Build  a  reputation  for rewarding transparency and not exploiting their moments of weakness.

AVOID ONE-ISSUE NEGOTIATIONS

  • Avoid  negotiating  over  a  single  divisive  issue.  Add  issues  or  link  separate  one-issue negotiations.

NEGOTIATE MULTIPLE ISSUES SIMULTANEOUSLY

  • Negotiate multiple issues simultaneously to help identify wise trades and to reduce the risk that concessions will not be reciprocated.

  • Don’t let any single issue become too prominent. Educate your audiences about how to measure success, and limit the amount of attention given to any one issue.

  • There is another strategy for avoiding a win/lose outcome: split the one issue into two or more. This is what the NFL negotiators did by splitting one revenue number into three separate revenue “buckets.

  • It may be possible for both sides to meet their underlying interests (getting a higher raise, staying within budget), but this will only happen if they stop arguing about “what they want,” and  start  discussing  their  motivations  for  “why  they  want  it.”  This  is  referred  to  as  shifting  from positions  (what  people  want)  to   interests  (why  they  want  it).

  • Be as firm as needed on substance; be as flexible as possible on style and structure.

GETTING UNSTUCK IS A WORTHY ENOUGH SHORT-TERM GOAL

  • A  wisely  framed  proposal  need  not  resolve  the  entire  dispute.  Sometimes  just  getting unstuck is the key to paving the path towards eventual agreement.

  • The logic of appropriateness tells us that many of the choices people make are based on how they answer one simple question: What does a person like me do in a situation like this?

  • Leverage social proof to boost the appropriateness of your proposal.

  • Framing an option as unique might make it more intriguing but less attractive.

  • Present your proposal as the default option to boost its appropriateness.

  • There  is  a  clear  advantage  to  being  the  party  who  presents  the  initial draft or whose standard contract will be used as the template for the deal. In my experience, many items that reside in boilerplates—even some important provisions that have a substantive impact on the value of the  deal—often  go  unchallenged  or,  because  they  are  included  in  the  standard  contract,  are  not  haggled over as aggressively as they would be had they only been proposed orally by the other side.

  • As with other factors that  influence  framing,  the  longer  a  default  persists,  the  harder  it  is  to  change.  

  • Establish a proper reference point. Even generous proposals can be evaluated negatively if the other side’s reference point is not set appropriately.

  • Always justify your offer, but don’t apologize for it.

  • When  neither  side  is  willing  to  openly  subordinate  its  demands  on  key  issues  or principles,  strategic  ambiguity—language  that  is  deliberately  open  to  multiple interpretations—can help the parties reach an agreement

  • Strategic ambiguity should be used only when other mechanisms are in place to ensure compliance with appropriate behavior.

  • Strategic  ambiguity  can  help  parties  initiate  relationships  when  there  is  insufficient trust for full commitment, but where being explicitly noncommittal is unacceptable.

  • There  is  a  powerful  first-mover  advantage  in  framing.  Whenever  possible,  seek  to control the frame of the negotiation at the start.

  • If the existing frame is disadvantageous, seek to reframe as soon as possible

  • Disputes  are  easier  to  preempt  than  to  resolve.  Decisions  can  sometimes  be  framed  in + ways that help people avoid confrontation in the first place.

  • Early  actions  can  take  on  heightened  significance.  Look  for  low-cost  opportunities  to powerfully  influence  the  frame  and  to  establish  the  appropriate  expectations  and + precedents for the relationship

  • Here  are  just   a  few elements of process to consider and try to shape:
    • How long will negotiations last?
    • Who will be involved and in what capacity?
    • What will be on the agenda, and in what order will issues be discussed?
    • Who will draft the initial proposal?
    • Will negotiations be public or private?
    • When and how will progress be reported outside of negotiations?
    • Given multiple parties or issues, will there be one negotiation track or many?
    • Will all the parties be in the same room at the same time?
    • Will negotiations take place face-to-face or via technology?
    • How many meetings will be scheduled?
    • How will major deadlocks or other problems be managed?
    • Will there be outside observers or mediators?
    • Will deadlines, if any, be binding or not?
    • What milestones might help build momentum and keep the process on track?
    • If the negotiations end in no deal, when and how might parties reengage?
    • Who are the parties that need to ratify the deal, and how much support is sufficient for passage?
    • In most  negotiations,  some  or  many  of  these  factors  will  be  predetermined,  or  there  may  be  a default  process  in  place  due  to  precedent  or  the  actions  of  other  parties.  But  as  we  have  seen, defaults need not be blindly accepted—they can be reset to great advantage.
    • Have a process strategy: how will you get from where you are today to where you want to  be? Consider  the  factors  that  influence  whether,  when,  and  how  substantive negotiations will occur.
  • A  process  strategy  for  deal  making  is  not  enough—you  also  have  to  strategize the implementation process. What will be required for successful implementation?

  • How will you garner sufficient support for the deal? How will you ensure ratification?

  • Be the most prepared person in the room. Know the facts, anticipate the arguments, and understand your weaknesses.

  • Negotiate process before substance. Understand and influence the process before diving too deeply into substantive discussions or concession making.

  • Misalignment  on  process  can  derail  deals.  Ensure—early  and  often—that  there  is agreement about what has been accomplished and what the path ahead looks like.

  • Even if you cannot influence the process, seek to get as much clarity and commitment on it as possible. Normalize  the  process.  If  other  parties  know  what  to  expect,  they  are  less  likely  to overreact to or overweight the significance of doubts, delays, and disruptions.

  • Encourage others to normalize the process for you—and make it safe for them to do so.

  • The risk of reneging is lower when commitments are personal, explicit, unambiguous, and public.

  • These  are  five  very  important  elements  to  consider  before  disengaging  on  the  basis  of  process conflict:
    • Can we be sure it was a breach, or does the other side have reasons to see things differently?
    • Do we bring sufficient value to the table, and does the other party understand this?
    • Can we justify our actions on the basis of acceptable principles?
    • Have we clarified what would be required to fix the breach?
    • Have we given the other party a face-saving way to return to the table?
  • Commitment  to  a  rigid  process  is  not  always  possible  or  advisable.  If  the  process  is flexible, make sure all parties understand the degree to which there is commitment.

  • Preserve forward momentum. Before using tactics to gain advantage, consider: how will this affect our ability to negotiate productively in the future?

  • Consensus  deals  can  be  shortsighted.  As  the  number  of  parties  with  veto  power increases, the degrees of freedom for deal structuring decreases.

  • In  complex  deals  and  protracted  conflicts,  especially  if  hostage  taking  is  a  concern,  a sufficient consensus approach can be more appropriate than seeking unanimity.

  • Keep  a  low  bar  for  progress,  but  a  high  bar  for  final  agreement.  

  • The  principle  of  “nothing  is  agreed  until  everything  is  agreed”  can  help  overcome paralysis by allowing people to make concessions safely

  • Transparency  during  the  bargaining  process  can  stifle  progress.  Give  negotiators  the privacy  they  need  to  structure  the deal;  give  constituents  the  right  to  decide  whether  the deal is acceptable

  • Most  negotiations,  even  successful  ones,  leave  residual  conflict  in  their  wake.  Create channels and processes to manage subsequent flare-ups and latent conflict.

  • Stay  at  the  table,  especially  after  failed  negotiations,  to  sustain  relationships, understand the other side’s perspective, and look for opportunities to reengage.

  • Parties  can  get  bogged  down  with  process  concerns  when  there  is  inadequate preparation, an unrealistic goal of crafting the perfect process, or an excessive desire for strategic flexibility.

  • When power relations are unclear or unstable, process negotiations can become proxy wars for leverage and legitimacy, endangering substantive negotiations

  • Resisting  unfair  demands  on  matters  of  substance  is  easier  if  you  have  earlier challenged unfair demands on process.

  • If you want to stand firm on process, it is best to (a) demonstrate that you seek equality, not  advantage,  (b)  acknowledge  and  address  substantive  concerns  that  are  linked  to process choices, and (c) negotiate substance in parallel with process.

  • Early-stage interactions can provide a relatively low-cost opportunity to shape the terms of future engagement.

  • Your willingness to incur up-front costs in support of the process sends a credible signal of your commitment to it.

  • Label your concessions. Even genuine acts of kindness and wisdom can be interpreted as weakness or incompetence. Shape the attributions others will make of your behavior to ensure that you encourage reciprocity rather than exploitation.

  • If a destructive pattern is entrenched, label your future concessions.

  • Credibility  is  usually  lost  a  little  at  a  time.  Safeguard  your  credibility  by  following through on your commitments, even the small ones.

  • Empathy expands the set  of options you  have for resolving the  conflict. The better you understand the other side’s perspective, the more likely you are to find a solution.

  • Create  slack.  If  your  calculus  for  retaliation  ignores  the  possibility  of  mistakes  or misunderstanding, the risk of unhealthy and inappropriate escalation increases.

  • There  is  almost  always  a  trade-off  between  maintaining  strategic  flexibility  and safeguarding credibility.

  • Do  not  make  ultimatums  unless  you  plan  to  follow  through  on  them—and  even  then, look for other means of influence that won’t sacrifice strategic flexibility.

  • Do not force people to choose between doing what is smart and doing what helps them save face.

  • Beware  the  curse  of  knowledge.  Once  we  know  something,  we  lose  the  ability  to understand what it feels like not to know it.

  • Don’t just prepare your arguments, prepare your audience for your arguments.

  • Consider  all  potential  explanations  for  the  other  side’s  behavior.  Do  not  start  by assuming incompetence or ill intent.

  • Early,  and  throughout  the  negotiation,  audit  the  psychological,  structural,  and  tactical barriers that may obstruct deal making.

  • Work  the  whole  body.  Consider  all  the  barriers,  approach  the  problem  from  all directions, and use all the levers at your disposal.

  • Ignore  ultimatums.  The  more  attention  you  give  to  them,  the  harder  it  will  be  for  the other side to back down if the situation changes.

  • Reframe ultimatums. By rephrasing ultimatums using less rigid language, you make it easier for the other side to back down later.

  • What  is  not  negotiable  today  may  be  negotiable  tomorrow.  Think  about  how  to  shape incentives  and  options  for  all  sides  to  make  future  attempts  at  negotiation  more successful.

  • Ibn  Saud  decided  that  the  only  way  to  tackle  religiously  expressed  objections  would  be   through religion itself, not by going around it. So, he invited a group of religious leaders to the palace and asked one to hold a microphone while another was asked to stand at the receiving end of the technology. He then asked the first to read a passage from the Quran, the Muslim holy book. As the voice was carried over to the speaker on the other end, Ibn Saud made the argument that would win the debate: if this machine were the work of the devil, how could it possibly carry the words of the Quran?

  • Sometimes the best response to a deep-rooted perspective is to yield to it: understand it, adopt it, and repurpose it to advance your position.

  • Competing  perspectives  can  be  bridged  if (a)  one  side  can  adopt  the  other’s  frame without sacrificing their ability to articulate key demands, or (b) both sides can agree to a new frame that gives neither an advantage.

  • Yielding to the other party’s frame or perspective might enhance your leverage.

  • If  your  proposals  are  being  rejected  but  their  concerns  seem  legitimate,  try  giving  the other side the task of structuring the deal—but clarify the conditions they must meet.

  • Think  trilaterally:  evaluate  how  third  parties  influence  or  alter  the  interests, constraints, and alternatives of those at the table.

  • Map  out  the  negotiation  space.  Your  strategy  should  take  into  account  all  parties  who can influence the deal or who are influenced by the deal.

ICAP ANALYSIS: INTERESTS, CONSTRAINTS, ALTERNATIVES, AND PERSPECTIVE

  • Interests: What do the other parties value? What do they want and why? What are their relative priorities? Why are they doing this deal? Why now rather than last month or next year? What do they worry  about?  What  objectives  are  they  trying  to  achieve  with  this  negotiation?  Are  their  interests likely to change over time? If so, how?

  • Constraints: What are the things they can and cannot do? On which issues do they have more or less  flexibility?  On  which  issues  are  their  hands  completely  tied?  What  is  causing  them  to  be constrained? How might their constraints change over time? Are there other parties with whom we might negotiate on their side who would be less constrained?

  • Alternatives: What happens to them if there is no deal? Are their outside options strong or weak? Are  their  alternatives  likely  to  improve  or  deteriorate  over  time?  How  might  their  alternatives  be shaped?

  • Perspective: How are they seeing this deal? What is their mind-set? Where does this negotiation fit into the portfolio of deals they are doing? Is this a high or low priority for them? Are they thinking strategically  or  tactically?  Long-term  or  short-term?  Is  this  negotiation  occupying  a  large  or  small portion of their organization’s attention?

  • When  it  comes  to  evaluating  the  action  away  from  the  table  and  how  it  can  influence  the negotiation, there are three assessments worth making:
    • Static Assessment: How does the existence of third parties influence the interests, constraints, alternatives, and perspectives of all parties in the negotiation?
    • Dynamic Assessment:  How  is  third-party  influence   changing  over  time?  That  is,  are  the  other  side’s  alternatives  improving  or worsening? Are constraints tightening or loosening? Are interests evolving?
    • Strategic Assessment: How might we engage with third parties to influence the negotiation? Might they be willing to put pressure on  the  other  side?  Might  they  agree  to  subsidize  the  deal?  Would  doing  a  deal  with  a  third  party  change  the  power  dynamics  in  our favor?
  • Prepare for good fortune. Be psychologically, organizationally, and politically prepared in case a window of opportunity opens for deal making or diplomacy.

  • When  there  is  no  possibility  of  reaching  a  deal  today,  prepare  for  future  opportunities with moves that improve positioning and create option value.

  • Avoid  picking  a  winning  strategy  earlier  than  is  necessary.  Keep  options  open  and  be prepared—psychologically, organizationally, and politically—to change course.

  • See the other side as your partner, not your opponent, regardless of the type or degree of conflict. It is hard to empathize or collaborate with “opponents.”

  • Start  by  asking:  What  would  be  the  value-maximizing  outcome?  Are  there  ways  to create value?

  • Protracted conflicts cannot be resolved without genuine efforts to understand the deep-seated forces that legitimize each side’s perspective and behavior.

  • Understand what is sacred to the other side and avoid asking for it as a precondition to engagement. They might agree to negotiate what was once nonnegotiable, but only if they see a credible path to resolving the conflict or achieving vital objectives.

  • History  begins  at  different  times  for  different  people.  The  dates  that  register  on  our calendars are typically those that mark our victories and victimizations.

  • Asking people to forget the past is futile, but it is sometimes possible to help them find more value-creating ways to apply the lessons of the past.

  • What we usually consider as impossible are simply engineering problems—there’s no law of physics preventing them.

SUMMARY

Control the frame, be  mindful  of  the  optics help  the  other  side  save  face,  have  a  process  strategy,  negotiate process  before  substance,  normalise  the  process,  lower  the  bar  for  progress,  stay  at  the  table, empathise,  create  slack,  work  the  whole  body,  map  out  the  negotiation  space,  seek  greater understanding, create value, and so on

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