Principled Negotiation: An overview

In their book, Getting to Yes, and in their work at the Harvard Project on Negotiation, Dr. Roger Fisher and William Ury suggest that in a well planned and well conducted negotiation:

•   Interests and Needs. The agreement must satisfy both sides' underlying interests and
    needs enough to be durable. Learning to get below your counterparts' positions to
    their driving interests and needs is key to crafting an agreement that lasts.

•   Alternatives. Both sides have to conclude that the outcome of the agreement is better
    than their best possible alternative. As you clarify your own BATNA – your Best
    Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement – and work to make it even better, you build a
    realistic sense of your own power and avoid coming to agreements that are not good
    for you. As you identify your counterparts' BATNA and its limits, you further strengthen your sense of your own
    options.

•   Options. Ideally, the agreement is as good for each as possible, is the best solution of all the
    possible options. As you focus on interests and needs instead of positions, you'll be able to
    multiply options for mutual gain, in order to arrive at what Fisher and Ury call an elegant
    solution. This allows you to look for ways that the solution can be made better for them
    without being worse for you, and better for you without being worse for them.

•   Legitimacy. Even for those items that are in dispute, the process for resolution or the criteria
    used for coming to a solution should be seen as legitimate by each side, so that neither feels
    coerced or abused. Each can then support the outcome, even though specific elements of the
    agreement might be less than optimal to them.

•   Outcome. In a good outcome, the commitments that are made are operational, realistic, well–
    planned, and agreed upon. As you look at the outcome of your agreements, see if they
    pass the test of specific, agreed upon, and operational.

•   People. And, in a good outcome, the relationship is not worsened. Participants learn to
    separate the people from the problem, and to work together to maintain or strengthen
    the relationship, even while addressing the opportunity or the problem on its merits.


These concepts permeate every aspect of the design of the Negotiating Solutions workshop. Participants play with them throughout the program.

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