Some people just want to win, and their measure of success is how much you lose.
If your goal becomes victory, realize you’re stuck in a power struggle and are playing that game.
The power paradox: The harder you make it for them to say no, the harder you make it for them to say yes.
It is easy to end up in a lose-lose battle.
Use Power To Educate
The goal: Make it easy to say yes and hard to say no. The first part requires problem solving. The second part requires power.
Use power as part of the process (e.g. to bring them to the table). If they still don’t cooperate, they’ll think their BATNA is better than your golden bridge. Use power to educate them.
Let Them Know The Consequences
Ask Reality Testing Questions
Ask questions designed to let them think this through. 3 common questions:
- “What do you think will happen if we don’t agree?” If they don’t know, ask further leading questions.
- “What do you think I will do if there is no agreement?” or “What would you advise I do if no agreement?” or “What would you do in my shoes?” Use questions to show you are not vulnerable to threats.
- “What will you do if there is no agreement?” Get them to think in detail about their BATNA. Don’t stop at vague open ended answers.
Warn, Don’t Threaten
If questions don’t work, make direct statements about what will happen. But really be careful it is not perceived as a threat. Threats are subjective and confrontational. Warning is objective and respectful. A threat is what you will do. Warning is what will happen.
Present your warning in a neutral tone.
Demonstrate your BATNA
A demonstration shows what you plan to do without carrying it out. If your BATNA is to go to court, demonstrate by involving a lawyer. Another method is to walk out. But don’t bluff, and take this action seriously. Do not be angry or slam the door. Say you’re sorry it’s come to this point, and leave the door open for future negotiations.
Use Your BATNA To Defuse Their Reaction
You may have to use your BATNA, but you have to do it in a way that will not provoke them.
Deploy Your BATNA Without Provoking
Use the minimum necessary power: Exhaust all your alternatives first. And use restraint. If going on strike, keep the strike peaceful. If you’re an employer, don’t hire replacements for strikers.
Use legitimate means: Take the example of the store that refused to hire minorities. One day lots of (well dressed) minorities showed up for shopping. This is perfectly legal.
Neutralize Their Attacks
Neutralize your opponent without counterattacking. Do not escalate.
Tap The Third Force
Build a coalition: Find allies. They could be your friends, or they could be their friends. Or just 3rd parties. Identify the appropriate folks.
Use third parties to stop attacks.
Use third parties to promote negotiation: A third party can induce the other to negotiate with you. Or they could act as a mediator. If (s)he is neutral, the other side will be more likely to agree with him/her.
Keep Sharpening Their Choice
Keep reminding them of the golden bridge. Do not draw it!
Let Them Know They Have a Way Out
Always give them a way out. If your stance is too hard lined, they may not believe there is a way out. So ensure you convince them!
Let Them Choose
When they start to come around, then back off! Do not apply pressure at this stage. They must feel it is their choice! Don’t give them a take-it-or-leave-it stance. Let them shape some of the details. Give them some ownership that way.
Even When You Can Win, Negotiate
You may have enough power to force the issue. Do not!
Forge a Lasting Agreement
Keep Implementation in Mind
Reaching an agreement is different from implementing one.
Design the deal to minimize your risks: If possible, don’t rely on a court. It is expensive. One option is to structure the deal such that you don’t carry out your part of the agreement until they do (e.g. deposits, etc).
Invite people the other cares about into the deal (even if just as a witness). They will not want to let them down.
Do not indicate distrust. Have an excuse prepared.
Build in a dispute resolution procedure: Example: If the dispute lasts more than 30 days, then use a mediator. If it goes another 30 days, then use binding arbitration.
Reaffirm The Relationship
A difficult negotiation can sour the relationship even if there is agreement. Save some flexibility till the end so they can feel they won the last round. Think of ways to strengthen the relationship after agreement.
You may not want to see the other side again. But as long as you need them to carry out their end of the deal, you need a working relationship. Deal promptly with any grievances.
Aim For Mutual Satisfaction, Not Victory
Do not use power to get a victory!