PON Harvard: Sunday Minute Tip

When you’re face to face with a tough counterpart, it’s natural to be competitive. But by being collaborative, you can create and claim more value. In today’s Sunday Minute tip—from Massachusetts Institute of Technology Professor Lawrence Susskind, author of Good for You, Great for Me: Finding the Trading Zone and Winning at Win-Win Negotiation—you’ll learn how working together can help you get what you want.

Sunday Minute Tip

Larry SusskindNegotiators often assume that the key to getting what they want involves enlightening their counterparts about why they should accept what is being proposed.

But this strategy typically minimizes the other party’s concerns and, as a result, sparks resistance.

By contrast, a joint fact-finding process provides a better route to value creation and claiming. You will find that you can claim more value for yourself after you have done everything you can to help the other side win as much for themselves as possible.

Joint fact-finding should follow these four steps:

1. Negotiate an agenda. Jointly choose a professional facilitator or mediator to help you agree on an agenda and ground rules for your talks. Be clear about the amount of time and money they’ll spend gathering data and helping you analyze it.

2. Choose advisers together. Rather than each hiring your own experts to present opposing versions of the facts, work together to select technical advisers and analytic methods that will help you arrive at a shared understanding of a project’s likely costs and benefits.

3. Jointly assess data. After the advisers present their results, jointly negotiate with your counterpart about how to proceed, taking time to share the findings with your constituents as well.

4. Correct misperceptions. Once you have agreed upon facts and forecasts, both sides should become more receptive to one another’s concerns. Jointly generated forecasts also allow you to correct faulty perceptions within your organization, while encouraging your counterpart to reconsider unreasonable assumptions and demands.

Sunday Minute Summary: Instead of dismissing feedback that seems off base, consider how you can use it to grow and improve

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