Tuesday, December 14, 2010

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

What if, despite all your efforts to build your opponent a golden bridge, he still refuses to come to an agreement? Your natural reaction would be to abandon the problem solving approach, and shift the nature of the negotiation into a power game.  In a power game, you switch from listening and acknowledging to threatening. From reframing your opponent’s position to insisting on your own.  And from building a golden bridge to force him down from his position.  The worst part in  playing  a power game is that you escalate  not only your means, but also your ends. When you invest more of your resources in the battle, you naturally want more from your opponent to compensate for your time and effort. Thus, your goal shift from mutual satisfaction to victory, or from win-win to win-lose.  This is when people say “Screw it! I have had enough of his nonsense. If he is so childish about this, I will teach him a hard lesson!”      
The power game is supposed to work as follows: You threaten or try to coerce your opponent and then he backs down. However, unless you have a decisive power advantage, he usually resists and fights back. He gets angry and hostile, reversing your attempts to disarm him. He sticks to his position even more, frustrating your efforts to change the game. He becomes increasingly resistant to reaching agreement, not only because you may be asking for more but because agreement would now mean accepting defect. This demonstrates the typical power paradox: “The harder you make it for him to say no, the harder you make it for him to say yes.”  

Overcoming the power paradox means making it easier for your opponent to say yes while  you make it harder for him to say no. Making it easy to say yes requires problem-solving negotiation; making it hard to say no requires exercising power. You don’t need to choose between the two. You can do both.  Which bring us to step five: “BRING THEM TO THEIR SENSE, NOT THEIR KNEES”
This step has two main components: underscoringthe costs of no agreement, and highlighting  the benefits of agreement. Your opponent faces a choice between accepting the consequences of no agreement and crossing the golden bridge. Your job is to keep sharpening that choice until he recognizes that the best way to satisfy his interest is to cross the bridge.
The key of this step is to treat power as an integral part of the problem-solving negotiation. Use power to bring your reluctant opponent to the table. Instead of seeking victory, aim for mutual satisfaction.  Usually, when your opponent refuses to come to terms despite all your efforts, it is because hebelieves he can win. He believes that his/her best alternative to negotiation-his/her BATNA- is superior to your golden bridge. You job here is to exercise power to convince him that he is wrong. 
The trick to use power is to educate your opponent, not to beat them up. As the British military strategist Sir Basil Liddell Hart states,  “the more bitter you will make your opponents, with the natural result of hardening the resistance you trying to overcome”.  Therefore, when you exercise your power, you should act as a respectful counselor. Act as if your opponent has simply miscalculated how best to achieve his interests. Focus his attention on his interest in avoiding the negative consequences of no agreement. Don’t even try to impose your terms on hiz. Seek instead to shape his choice so that he makes a decision a decision that is in his interest and yours. 
However, if your opponent still refuses to negotiate with you after all your effort, you should deploy your BATNA without provoking your opponent.  Never use your BATNA as a weapon to attack your opponent, because you may negotiate with the same person in the future. Therefore, it is essential for you to explain to your opponent that your decision is based on legitimate reasons, and nothing personal. However, your must remember that your BATNAs are the very last resort in negotiations.  As Sun Tzu states that “The best general is the one who never fights”, the best negotiator never uses his/her BATNA.
In conclusion, the main theme throughout the strategy is to treat your opponent with respect, not as an object to be pushed around, but as a person to be persuaded. Rather than trying to change his mind by direct pressure, your change the environment in which he/she makes decisions. Your let him draw his own conclusions and his/her own choice.  As the author states that “you goal is not to win over him but to win him over”.      
Click here to download Chapter Summary 1.5 or View it here

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