You Can’t Script Negotiation. EVER

Cookie-cutter strategies just don’t work in the turbulence of real world negotiation. Yes, preparation is essential. And persistence is often a virtue. But clinging to rigid plans is not. There’s just too much in flux. You have to be ready to make the best of whatever unfolds.

Boston Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington says, “Negotiation is not a linear endeavor. It’s full of twists and turns and requires managing relationships, data, intuition, and alternatives in a way that increases the probability of a good outcome.”

As a consequence, you’ve got to be agile if you want to succeed. Read More ⇒

Negotiation Lessons for the Rest of Us (DC Brinksmanship – Part 2)

Experience may be the best teacher in many arenas, but negotiation is a wicked learning environment. The problem is poor feedback. Even when you reach agreement, it’s hard to know whether you got a great deal or left money on the table. Likewise, if you’re stalemated, it could be that no deal was possible or that you over-played your hand.

After all, you only know your half of the story. You can’t know what might have happened if you had taken a different path by being (pick one) more patient, forceful, creative, or accommodating. Read More ⇒

DC Brinksmanship – Part 1: Deadlines, deadlocks, and negotiation dynamics

Work, they say, expands to fill time available. So does negotiation. Lawsuits often settle on the courthouse steps. Some strikes aren’t averted until the eleventh hour. Disputing parties may not back down until they are just about to suffer the full cost of non-agreement.

As Samuel Johnson observed, there’s nothing like the prospect of a hanging to concentrate one’s mind.

The problem is compounded when groups have unrealistic expectations and myopic viewpoints. Read More ⇒