Getting to Yes
Fisher and Ury’s Getting To Yes was a very informative and interesting book, as well as a rather quick read. The only thing that I don’t actually agree with is the title itself. Somehow the title, Getting To Yes, signals to me that one party in a particular negotiation has won over the other. This, of course, cuts totally against the grain and thesis of the book which is that by using the concept of Principled Negotiation, all parties involved in a conflict can and should be winners. In the opening pages of the book, the authors state that “Any method of negotiation may be fairly judged by three criteria: It should produce a wise agreement if agreement is possible. It should be efficient. And it should improve or at least not damage the relationship between the parties.” Principled Negotiations or Negotiations On The Merits teaches us how to do just that.
I have always used three of the four general ideas behind Principled Negotiation:
1. Focus on interests, not positions.
2. Generate options for mutual gain.
3. Insist on using objective criteria.
The fourth concept, Separate the people from the problem, has generally escaped me; however. Many years ago, I read a book by Marshall McLuhan entitled The Medium is the Massage, or the Medium is the Message as it was sometimes called as well. Reflecting on the medium and the message, and comparing those words with the fourth general idea found in Principled Negotiation (Separate the people from the problem); I now realize that I have been equating the medium with the message or in this case, the people with the problem. This has been an extremely important lesson for me to learn because this seemingly minor separation really encompasses several parts of the Nine Elements of Interest-Based Negotiations (Parties, Interests, Issues, Relationship and Communication). This is where we can clearly see how emotion and ego can severely impact negotiations. My “aha moment” came when I...