Why do negotiations fail?

A cursory glance at any daily publication throws up news of umpteen ‘negotiations’ going on in the social, geopolitical, and business spheres. But not many lead to positive results for either player because often people plunge into it without exercising any degree of pragmatism. Poor ground work, abysmal levels of trust, and sometimes even ego stand in the way of engineering the best outcome.

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People focus

“Emotions are an expression of how people are processing information, and can give a strong signal of how the mind is internalizing the discussion.” Managed well, they can turn a frustrating negotiation into one that is pleasant, productive, and even enjoyable.* Just as understanding the power of emotions, acknowledging the value of trust and adopting a win-win approach can go a long way towards ensuring valuable results.

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Negotiations on the leadership path

According to conventional wisdom, leading people requires vision, charisma, and a palpable self-confidence—but not negotiation skills. Negotiation is for use outside the firm—for instance, in cutting deals with partners, customers, and suppliers. The conventional wisdom is dead wrong.* The skill to negotiate is integral, for without it the path to leadership would be difficult.

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Mindful dialogue

Negotiation is inherent in any human interaction. For as long as we live, we are bound to interact with others exchanging mutual needs. We all negotiate… being able to negotiate in a state of awareness enables us to be flexible, open to novelty, creative with alternatives and free from the tyranny of thoughts and emotions. Mindfulness is a skill that, if cultivated and applied to negotiation, could lead to its effectiveness.*

True, mindfulness helps build within us a foundation of empathy and understanding, and takes us closer to the realization that win-win is not mere compromise.

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Creative approach

In an article, ‘Six Guidelines for Getting to Yes’, Katie Shonk cites Roger Fisher, William Ury, and Bruce Patton: “Negotiators should look for negotiation strategies that can help both sides get more of what they want—by listening closely to each other, treating each other fairly, and jointly exploring options to increase value.”* In a negotiation, one has to explore both sides and identify limitless valuable solutions to succeed.

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