Dr. William L. Ury shows listeners how to overcome serious obstacles to negotiation. Whether dealing with an unruly teenager or an office bully, Dr. Ury's method will help listeners gain control in even the most difficult situations. Most importantly, Getting Past No gets results.
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William Ury is a negotiation expert from Harvard Law School's Program on Negotiation. He frequently gives seminars to companies such as IBM, AT&T and American Express and has served as a consultant to the White House, the State Department and the Pentagon.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
Breaking Through Barriers to Cooperation
Diplomacy is the art of letting someone else have your way.–Daniele Vare, Italian diplomat
We all negotiate every day. Much of our time is spent trying to reach agreement with others. We may try to negotiate in a cooperative spirit but frequently we find ourselves frustrated. We want to get to yes, but often the answer we get back is NO.
Think of a typical day: Over breakfast you may get into an argument with your spouse about buying a new car. You think it's time, but your spouse says, "Don't be ridiculous! You know we can't afford it right now." You arrive at work for a morning meeting with your boss. You present a carefully prepared proposal for a new project, but your boss interrupts you after a minute and says: "We already tried that and it didn't work. Next item."
During your lunch hour you try to return a defective toaster-oven, but the salesperson refuses to refund your money because you don't have the sales slip: "It's store policy."
In the afternoon you bring an already-agreed-upon contract to a client for his signature. You have trumpeted the deal to your associates and made the necessary arrangements with manufacturing. But your client tells you: "I'm sorry. My boss refuses to okay the purchase unless you give us a fifteen percent discount."
In the evening you need to return some phone calls, but the line is tied up by your thirteen-year-old. Exasperated, you say, "Get off the phone." The teenager shouts down the hall, "Why don't you get me my own phone line? All my friends have them!"
Each of us faces tough negotiations with an irritable spouse, a domineering boss, a rigid salesperson, a tricky customer, or an impossible teenager. Under stress, even nice, reasonable people can turn into angry, intractable opponents. Negotiations can bog down or break down, consuming our time, keeping us awake at night, and giving us ulcers.
Broadly defined, negotiation is the process of back-and-forth communication aimed at reaching agreement with others when some of your interests are shared and some are opposed. Negotiation is not limited to the activity of formally sitting across a table discussing a contentious issue; it is the informal activity you engage in whenever you try to get something you want from another person.
Think for a moment about how you make important decisions in your life–the decisions that have the greatest impact on your performance at work and your satisfaction at home. How many of those decisions can you make unilaterally and how many do you have to reach with others–through negotiation? Most people I ask this question answer: "I have to negotiate almost all of them." Negotiation is the pre-eminent form of decision-making in personal and professional life.
It is also increasingly the most important means of making decisions in the public arena. Even if we aren't personally sitting at the table, our lives are affected by the outcome of negotiations. When talks between the school board and teachers' union break down and the teachers go on strike, our children end up staying home from school. When negotiations between our business and a potential purchaser fall through and the business goes bankrupt, we may lose our jobs. When discussions between our government and its adversaries come to naught, the result may be war. In sum, negotiations shape our lives.
We may all be negotiators, yet many of us don't like to negotiate. We see negotiation as stressful confrontation. We see ourselves faced with an unpleasant choice. If we are "soft" in order to preserve the relationship, we end up giving up our position. If we are "hard" in order to win our position, we strain the relationship or perhaps lose it altogether.
There is an alternative: joint problem-solving. It is neither exclusively soft nor hard, but a combination of each. It is soft on the people, hard on the problem. Instead of attacking each other, you jointly attack the problem. Instead of glowering across the table, you sit next to each other facing your common problem. In short, you turn face-to-face confrontation into side-by-side problem-solving. This is the kind of negotiation Roger Fisher and I described more than a decade ago in our book Getting to Yes.
Joint problem-solving revolves around interests instead of positions. You begin by identifying each side's interests–the concerns, needs, fears, and desires that underlie and motivate your opposing positions. You then explore different options for meeting those interests. Your goal is to reach a mutually satisfactory agreement in an efficient and amicable fashion.
If you are looking for a promotion and raise, for example, and your boss says there's no money in the budget, the negotiation doesn't stop there. It becomes an exercise in joint problem-solving. Your boss inquires about your interests, which may be to pay your children's tuition and to grow in your job. You brainstorm together about how to satisfy these interests while staying within the budget. You may end up agreeing on a new set of responsibilities, a tuition loan from the company, and the promise of a raise next year to pay back the loan. Your basic interests are satisfied; so are your employer's.
Joint problem-solving can generate better results for both sides. It saves time and energy by cutting out the posturing. And it usually leads to better working relationships and to mutual benefit in the future.
Five Barriers to Cooperation
Skeptics are quick to point out that all this is easy to say, but hard to do. The principles of joint problem-solving, they say, are like marriage vows of mutual support and fidelity: They no doubt produce more satisfying relationships, but they are hard to apply in the real world of stresses and strains, temptations and tempests.
At the start, you may try to get your opponent to tackle the problem jointly, but instead you may find yourselves in a face-to-face confrontation. It is all too easy to get drawn into a ferocious emotional battle, to fall back into the familiar routine of adopting rigid positions, or to let the other side take advantage of you.
There are real-world barriers that get in the way of cooperation. The five most common ones are:
Your reaction. The first barrier lies within you. Human beings are reaction machines. When you're under stress, or when you encounter a NO, or feel you are being attacked, you naturally feel like striking back. Usually this just penetrates the action-reaction cycle that leaves both sides losers. Or, alternatively, you may react by impulsively giving in just to end the negotiation and preserve the relationship. You lose and, having demonstrated your weakness, you expose yourself to exploitation by others. The problem you thus face in negotiation is not only the other side's difficult behavior but your own reaction, which can easily perpetuate that behavior.
Their emotion. The next barrier is the other side's negative emotions. Behind their attacks may lie anger and hostility. Behind their rigid positions may lie fear and distrust. Convinced they are right and you are wrong, they may refuse to listen. Seeing the world as eat-or-be-eaten, they may feel justified in using nasty tactics.
Their position. In joint problem-solving, you face the problem and attack it together. The barrier in the way is the other side's positional behavior: their habit of digging into a position and trying to get you to give in. Often they know no other way to negotiate. They are merely using the conventional negotiating tactics they first learned in the sandbox. In their eyes, the only alternative is for them to give in–and they certainly don't want to do that.
Their dissatisfaction. Your goal may be to reach a mutually satisfactory agreement, but you may find the other side not at all interested in such an outcome. They may not see how it will benefit them. Even if you can satisfy their interests, they may fear losing face if they have to back down. And if it is your idea, they may reject it for that reason alone.
Their power. Finally, if the other side sees the negotiation as a win-lose proposition, they will be determined to beat you. They may be guided by the precept "What's mine is mine. What's yours is negotiable." If they can get what they want by power plays, why should they cooperate with you?
Getting past no requires breaking through each of these five barriers to cooperation: your reaction, their emotion, their position, their dissatisfaction, and their power. It is easy to believe that stonewalling, attacks, and tricks are just part of the other side's basic nature, and that there is little you can do to change such difficult behavior. But you can affect this behavior if you can deal successfully with its underlying motivations.
The Breakthrough Strategy
This book lays out a five-step strategy for breaking through each of these five-barriers–the strategy of breakthrough negotiation.
An analogy from sailing will help explain this strategy. In sailing, you rarely if ever get to your destination by heading straight for it. In between you and your goal are strong winds and tides, reefs and shoals, not to speak of storms and squalls. To get where you want to go, you need to tack–to zigzag your way toward your destination.
The same is true in the world of negotiation. Your desired destination is a mutually satisfactory agreement. The direct route–focusing first on interests and then developing options that satisfy those interests–seems straightforward and easy. But in the real world of strong reactions and emotions, rigid positions, powerful dissatisfactions and aggressions, you often cannot get to...
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Book Description Bantam Audio, 1991. Book Condition: Very Good. Audio Cassette - VG - 2 Cassettes with out defect - Abridged - 120 minutes. Bookseller Inventory # 237784
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