This model of Negotiation is based on four principles. Before we go into these principles and talk about the ways to become a compelling Negotiator, we might want to reflect for a second why principles, why not rules and that’s quite interesting that the Harvard people choose to go for principles and not for rules because if you have rules like in-laws chances are very high that; that is too linear and too strict and that people simply think if they follow these kinds of rules everything will be fine. Whereas if you have principles it is much more organic it’s much wider, because you have lots of ways how to fulfill those principles. so, it’s important to realize that the Harvard people choose principle for cooperation and not rules so that because cooperation needs freedom and creativity. An effective Negotiator must have both. So, let’s go for these four principles;  we do have these high interest or low interest in the relationship and we have the high interest or low interest in the issue you want to have.

let’s assume for a second you’re negotiating with somebody you like and you find yourself very sympathetic to that person, then it could be that you have a tendency to give in and to accommodate to the other person so that you have a tendency to play lose-win for which is certainly not a trait of a good negotiator.

On the other extreme, you do actually don’t like the other person you might even hate the other person, and then it is possible that you have a tendency to play win-lose because you don’t like the person, you don’t care for the relationship which also makes up a bad Negotiator. so the Harvard people said okay in order to avoid these risks, that quality of relationship interferes with your interest in the issue you should separate them at all so, which makes the first principle that we’re gonna discuss now.

1. Separate the person from the issue

The first principle and that’s easy to say & hard to achieve is to separate the person from the issue in real life. That would mean you can negotiate very hard, but you should never be hard on the person unfriendly and so on and so forth. Because it is in your own interest to understand the interests of the other people and Therefore the other partner is not your enemy, it’s actually your partner otherwise you don’t get what you want and because otherwise if you could simply order what you want you wouldn’t negotiate. So the other party is your partner and the first principle is separating the person from the issue easy said, hard actually to live.

2. Negotiate not position Focused but interest-oriented

Let me illustrate with the pumpkin example, Suppose three people had a position they all wanted in this case the “pumpkin” since there was only one pumpkin, it was not possible to give everybody the pumpkin. There were too limited resources. The solution that was found, was not found based on the position and focused on the position, but oriented on the interests of the people. You remember, one wanted the shell for a Halloween mask, the other one wanted to make the soup so he needed the meat, and the third person as simply the seeds. So the interest, on the level of interest it was possible to find a solution that everybody made happy, so a win-win solution. So the second principle of the Harvard people for to be a Negotiator is; you should not negotiate position-focused but interest-oriented.

3. Develop Criteria that solution must fulfill

The third principle now is that and that is, If you’re actually looking for a trick for win-win you might find it here. The Harvard people found out that sometimes cooperation is not possible because people who are negotiating are going too fast, too quick, into solutions. You hear a problem and you immediately suggest a solution. And if all parties are doing this, chances are very high that you then only negotiate these kinds of positions and you end up with a compromise, in the best of all words. In order to get through the win-win, they suggest now a different approach. They said, based on the interest you should first develop criteria that must be fulfilled by a solution that you could say yes to. Or in other words, what conditions must a good solution that you could say yes to fulfill?

Just to illustrate this principle a little bit. Just assume you want to invite somebody out for dinner to the restaurant, and you want to make sure actually that the person you invite to actually likes the restaurant. So you could ask this other person, how would you realize that the restaurant is a good restaurant for you? Then immediately the person would tell you some conditions that must be fulfilled by a good restaurant, for example, a small menu because a small menu for this person suggests that it is actually fresh cooked, or it might say a; certain quality of light, so and then you could elaborate a little bit more what kind of light the person means, like candle lights or whatever. Or, that there’s a certain quality of hygiene, or and so on and so forth music, and so on. So you would get a whole set of criteria that must be fulfilled, and the interesting thing about the criteria is there are much more restaurants than only one restaurant that would fulfill the criteria. So working with criteria kinda open a world of lots of options, and whereas positions it’s only, it must be, “we go to Chez Felix”. 

For example: yeah so the third principle is before creating a solution, agree on certain principles that must be fulfilled by a solution that you could say yes to. And so, at that stage of the negotiation, we would have a set of criteria. For party A and we would have a set of criteria for party B and you will find a “win-win” solution at that moment where you find one option that fulfills all criteria of party A and all criteria of party B -- “win-win”. So this is how we get a “win-win” solution.  

4. You should have different options to choose from

The fourth principle is and it is based on the research that people like to choose, so the Harvard people suggest, before you actually choose a solution, you should have different options to choose from. So they suggest, don’t develop only one option that then is the best solution, but maybe two, three, or four options, and then take the criteria and evaluate your options by the criteria to find the best option. So that and by doing so, the solution that was found by the parties will be much more sustainable because they also have the sense that, they actually had a choice. So just to repeat these four principles of the Harvard model of negotiation, it is to separate the person from the issue, negotiate not to position focus but interest-oriented, develop first criteria that a good solution must fulfill, and develop several options to choose from. So if you follow these four principles chances are very high, that you actually go for cooperation, and that you avoid competition & become a perfect Negotiator. 


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