Monday, November 29, 2010

Getting Past No: Negotiating In Difficult Situation (4/6)

Now you have stabilized your mental balance (step one) and created a favorable climate for negotiation (step two). It is time to focus on changing negotiation processes, which is step three“DON’T REJECT… REFRAME".  
Difficult negotiation situations are mostly caused by insisting positions. You job here is to change the process from battling at their positions, to discussing each other's interests. How do you do this? You reframe the negotiation. Instead of, rejecting your opponent point views, you accept it and transform it into the negotiation you want to have.
In here, reframing means that you need to put a problem solving frame around your opponent’s positional statements. You act as if he/she was trying to solve the problem, and thus you draw him/her into the new game, which is your game.  You may ask why I need to change the game, if he/she plays hardball, I can play it too! The reality is that those who initiate tactics like stone walls, personal attacks and tricks, they are very good at them. You rarely have a chance to control of the negotiations. Therefore, you should change to negotiation into a cooperative problem solving game, in which you can control and contribute.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Getting Past No: Negotiating In Difficult Situation (3/6)

After you have regained your mental balance from “the balcony”, you have to help your opponents regain theirs. This is step two:  “STEP TO THEIR SIDE”. The purpose of this step is to disarm their negative emotions towards you, in order to continue negotiations. Often, lots of hostage movies demonstrate this step in great detail. Out of all of them, a movie called “The Negotiator” is the best movie to show how two skillful negotiators accomplish this step in an extremely stressful situation.  
This step  consists of five components: active listening, acknowledge your opponent’s points, agree wherever you can, acknowledge the person, and express your views without provoking.  Principles of these five components are simple, but very powerful. At the beginning, you need to explore your opponent’s mental reality through listening. Then, you connect with your opponent’s mental reality by acknowledging his/her comments, feelings and situations. At the end, you use the connection to express your viewpoints. Basically, you have to be the architect to build a two way communication channel.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Getting Past No: Negotiating In Difficult Situation (2/6)

As mentioned in my first entry, most people find it  very challenging to negotiate with difficult people or under  undesirable circumstances. These challenges can be broken down into five categories: your own reaction, opponent’s negative emotions, opponent’s negotiate habits, opponent’s skepticism about the benefits of agreement, and opponent’s perceived power.

William Ury invents an all purpose five step method called “breakthrough negotiation strategy”. This strategy specifically addresses the five common challenges in negotiating under adverse conditions. I will talk about key concepts of each step in the following entries. A summary of the particular step will be given at the end of each entry as well.   
The first step of the “breakthrough negotiation strategy” is called “GO TO THE BALCONY”.  Basically, it means that when your opponent plays hard ball (obstructive, offensive, deceptive tactics or all of them)   with you, you have to stay calm. Don’t react to these tactics. Generally, we have three natural reactions to difficult negotiation. They are striking back (you are going to pay for this!), giving in (ok ok, I will accept your demand, I just want to make the deal quickly. That is me unfortunately) and breaking off (I don’t want to deal with you anymore, go away!).   

Friday, November 12, 2010

Getting Past No: Negotiating In Difficult Situation (1/6)

Negotiation is an essential and  important activity in our daily lives. We unknowingly picked up  negotiation skills during our childhood.  When we wanted new toys for our birthdays, we used many different methods to negotiate with our parents. Then, we adjusted our methods according to the outcome of the negotiations. As we grewolder, we started to learn to negotiate with people other than our families. We soon started to recognize that we have to negotiate with people, who have different personalities and interests.  Usually , we are well capable to negotiate with nice and honest people, because our families have provided day to day training for us since young.  However, when we are faced with  difficult or “unreasonable” people, we often lose theability  to get what we want.  And of course, I am no different.

I realized this shortcoming when I studied a negotiation subject from my Masters of Entrepreneurship. I realized that I performed very well, when the opponent was cooperative. However, once the opponent played hard ball on me, I was unable to  get through them at all. My natural impulse would be to give up and leave the situation as soon as possible. Therefore, nine out ten times the opponent would rob me empty.   

Monday, November 8, 2010

Grand Opening

Welcome to my first ever blog! My friends have been asking me to start writing a personal blog or blogging for years. I have been very reluctant to start a blog, because blogging needs commitment and effort. For a long period of time, I have not been able to find a theme or topic of my interest.I could not find a theme or topic, which I was interested to write for long period of time.

Until recently, two events inspired me to start a blog. The first event was my housemate’s graduation ceremony at my current university, Swinbune University of Technology. I saw a lot of happy faces of graduates, their friends and families inside the ceremony hall. The atmosphere was very warm and casual. When the  graduates started to be honored for their certificates on the stage, their families and friends were busy taking photos or videos of the graduates  while a few clapped.  Most of the audiencewere talking amongst themselves or playing games on their phones. The same social interactions happened, when the master graduates started to get on the stage.  Interestingly, when the Dean of business school announced that ,“We have three doctorate graduates today.” The people in hall wnt silent and looked up at the stage that very instant. When the Dean honor ed those Phd graduates, all the people in the hall were clapping. Thatkind of recogintionand respect motivated me to pursue my education career further. I hoped that I can  get my doctorate degree in the future.  That would be one of the biggest achievements in my life.
The second event was a phone conversation with a high school friend from Hong Kong. We discussed a book which he sent to me.  The book was called Sun Tzu Strategy, which is one of the greatest classic strategy book of all time. We talked for hours about the applications of historical warfare in the modern business world. My friend and I were amazed by some of our  findings. My friend told me that I should put them on a blog and share them with other people. Some people could  benefit from that.     
These two events have given me a very clear theme for my very first blog. The purpose of this blog is to  track and record  what I have read, seen and experienced throughout my journey to obtain one of the biggest achievements in my life, a Phd in Human Resource Management. As for the readers, I will select and recommend some practical and useful books and journal articles with my personal summaries and reviews. Constructive comments and discussions are highly encouraged and welcomed. I hope that everyone in this journey can get something useful and positive out of it.