How to become a negotiation ninja

Our recent work led us back to an "oldie but a goodie" in the annals of best-ever biz lit.

The challenge:  How do you gain consensus around stakeholder engagement within a highly diverse team of professionals, the diversity of whom is second only to the diversity of its client base?

The answer:  Ninjas, lots of Ninjas.

However, if your martial arts vendor budget has been depleted, read this. It's just as effective and you don't have to wear a unitard.

Rewind to '83 and the Harvard Negotiation Project.

The general gist is this:

  • Don't bargain over positions (It's easy to pick a side and argue. Finding principles that both sides agree on before you start is the real secret sauce to this method.)
  • Separate the people from the problem. (Deal with people as human beings and the problem on its merits.)
  • Create mutually-beneficial options. (Invent first, decide later.)
  • Insist on using objective criteria. (Try to frame each issue as a joint search for objective criteria.)

Sounds simple, right? It is. But understanding how is the easy part. The book will only point you in the right direction.

Now, learn by doing.


(Thx to J-Mat, our original mentor and negotiation ninja.)