Sunday, October 24, 2010

Negotiations Implementing Strategy - - Get the Big Picture

The cover story on the November 2010 issue of the Harvard Business Review covers leadership lessons from the military during combat and reconstruction operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. One story, Extreme Negotiations by Jeff Weiss, Aram Donigian, and Jonathan Hughes, covers the lessons learned by U.S. soldiers in the art of managing high-risk, high-stakes situations. The article has a considerable amount of great information that I will cover over a five day period.

The article focuses on the five highly effective strategies of (1) understand the big picture, (2) uncover hidden agendas and collaborate with the other side, (3) get genuine buy-in, (4) build relationships that are based on trust rather than fear, and (5) pay attention to process as well as desired outcomes.

The first is "Get the Big Picture." The key starts with soliciting the other person's or group's point of view. Use what you learn to shape the objectives of the negotiations and determine how you'll achieve them. In getting the big picture, avoid the following:
  • Assuming you have all the facts - - "Look, it's obvious that . . .'
  • Assuming the other side is biased -- but you're not.
  • Assuming the other side's motivation and intentions are obvious -- and probably nefarious.

Instead, focus on the following:

  • Be curious: "Help me understand how you see the situation."
  • Be humble: "What do I have wrong?"
  • Be open-minded: "Is there another way to explain this?"

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