Don’t Bargain Over Positions

Posted by Beetle B. on Thu 09 June 2016

Much of the material with the tag gty comes from Getting To Yes.

A wise agreement is one that:

  1. Meets the legitimate interests of each side as much as possible
  2. Resolves conflicting interests fairly
  3. Is durable
  4. Takes community interests into account

Positional bargaining is where each side takes a position, argues for it, and makes compromises till a deal forms.

Positional bargaining rarely leads to a wise agreement.

A “good” method of negotiation:

  1. Produces a wise agreement (if agreement is possible)
  2. Is efficient
  3. Does not worsen relations

The more you clarify your position and defend it, the more committed you become to it. This is the problem with positional bargaining. It forces “saving face” to become part of the negotiation.

It also tends to force you to start at an extreme position. This results in many decisions (each compromise), leading to decision fatigue.

It leads to a contest of wills. This damages relationships.

It is even worse when there are more than 2 parties. Coalitions form who must then work hard to form a position. Once they have done so, they are reluctant to alter it, as they realize how much work it took merely to agree among themselves.

Soft bargaining can be good for relationships, but mostly will lose against hard bargainers. Don’t go for it if you want to win something.

Principled Negotiation

People: Separate the people from the problem.

Interests: Focus on interests, not positions.

Options: Invent multiple options looking for mutual gains before deciding what to do.

Criteria: Insist that the result be based on an objective standard.

Concessions encourage and reward stubbornness.

Table on P 13. Copy!

There are 3 stages: Analysis, planning and discussion.

tags : negotiations, gty