In his new book Getting to Yes with Yourself (and Other Worthy Opponents), (HarperOne, 2015), Harvard Negotiation Project cofounder William Ury presents the following six steps to help us recognize and overcome the blind spots that may be holding us back in our negotiations:
- Put yourself in your shoes. Seek better self-understanding by listening empathetically to your own underlying needs.
- Develop your inner BATNA. Sidestep the “blame game” by committing yourself to taking care of you won needs.
- Reframe your picture. To avoid bringing a scarcity mind-set to negotiation, foster independent sources of contentment.
- Stay in the zone. Learn techniques to help you stay in the moment and keep anxiety from getting the best of you.
- Respect them “even if.” Break the cycle of attacking and rejecting by surprising your counterpart with respect and inclusion.
- Give and receive. To improve our satisfaction and your results, practice fiving first instead of taking.
William Ury writes that our biggest obstacle in any given negotiation usually is not a difficult partner, bad timing, or a lack of power, but rather, it is ourselves. Ury says, “We sabotage ourselves by reacting in ways that do not serve our true interests.” Most of us have bad tendencies that we return to in negotiations, such as losing our temper, withdrawing instead of communicating, or saying yes when we need to set limits. Let’s discuss two of the steps of Getting to Yes with Yourself.
Put yourself in your shoes. We have been taught to look at the issue from the other party’s perspective, to put ourselves in their shoes. Ury advises negotiators to “put yourself in your own shoes first”, meaning to listen to yourself first, identify your deepest needs, and think about how they can be met. You should not being trying to address your opponent’s needs without first addressing your own needs and interests.
Develop your inner BATNA. Ury reminds us that when negotiators find themselves in conflict, they often try to blame and shame one another. We miss the boat when we refuse to hold ourselves accountable and fail to recognize our contributions to the problem. Ury says we can avoid this destructive spiral by cultivating what Ury refers to as our “inner BATNA.” BATNA is the concept that one’s greatest source of power in negotiation is one’s best alternative to a negotiated agreement. Ury explains even when our BATNA seems weak, we can foster a sense of power in ourselves and avoid the “blame game” by creating an inner BATNA: “a strong, unconditional commitment to ourselves to take care of our deepest needs, no matter what other people do or don’t do.” Ury emphasizes, “By giving up the blame game and assuming responsibility for your relationships and needs, you can go right to the root of conflict and take the lead in transforming your negotiations and your life.”
Quote of the month: “The reality is the blame and shame game isn’t going to get us anywhere.” Myra Christopher