Let's say you're trying to convince a new employer to sweeten its job offer to you. Or perhaps you're buying or selling a company. Or maybe you're even solving for peace in the Middle East. If any of these scenarios is yours, Roger Fisher, Daniel Shapiro, and their colleagues at the Harvard Negotiation Project have ideas that they would like to share. Fisher's previous book, Getting to Yes
, stands today as a seminal work in negotiations theory. Businesspeople in a wide variety of industries have drawn from the book's tips for deal-making and its larger framework for "interest-based negotiation", which focuses on understanding each side's interests and working together to produce proverbial win-win outcomes. In Beyond Reason
, Fisher and Shapiro go one step further.
To the authors' credit, they started this new book with a clear understanding of the previous one's chief shortcoming. Though Getting to Yes introduced a powerful paradigm for negotiations, it did not fully address a critical element of most deals: emotions, and the messy human details that can distract from purely rational decision-making. If both negotiators are consistently lucid, fair, and calm, the game has a certain set of rules, but if--as in most situations--the different parties get excited, angry, sad, insulted, and so on, then those rules change. That expanded focus forms the basis for Beyond Reason.
Fisher and Shapiro have structured this latest work around five key emotions which they identify as most critical to productive negotiations. Even though each situation has its own dynamics, they point to appreciation, affiliation, autonomy, status, and role as the most important for making each party comfortable enough to grasp the principles of rationality that maximize the chances for a win-win result.
Critics may deride this book as still too simplistic, too black-and-white, and unappreciative of life's shades of gray. The authors' pragmatic bent comes in the book's final two chapters. One takes readers through the overall process for negotiations--not just the parry-and-thrust of conversations with the other party, but also pre-conversation preparation. It's in this preparatory stage, the authors contend, where a thoughtful consideration of potential emotional dynamics can help prevent later problems. To synthesize many of the lessons they impart, Fisher and Shapiro then close their work by inviting guest commentary from the former President of Ecuador, Jamil Mahuad, who explains how he applied interest-based negotiations theory to highly charged negotiations between his country and Peru, on a border dispute in the late 1990s. It's this kind of real-life application of Fisher and Shapiro's theories that continue to give them relevance. --Peter Han
From Publishers Weekly
Masters of diplomacy, Fisher and Shapiro, of the Harvard Negotiation Project, build on Fisher's bestseller (he co-authored Getting to YES
) with this instructive, clearly written book that addresses the emotions and relationships inevitably involved in negotiation. Identifying five core concerns that stimulate emotion—appreciation, affiliation, autonomy, status and role—the authors explain how to control and leverage your own and others' emotions for better end-results. They enliven the book with detailed examples of commonly faced situations—from dealing with colleagues to understanding one's spouse—and with anecdotes of high-level negotiations regarding critical matters of state (e.g., Fisher's conversation with the head of Iran's Islamic Republican Party when U.S. embassy in Teheran was seized in 1979). Fisher and Shapiro play out each situation, often toward an unsatisfactory conclusion, and then carefully analyze the negotiation and rewind it according to their behavioral framework for more favorable resolutions. Take the initiative and understand the five core concerns, they suggest, offering practical advice on understanding another's point of view, building connections, joint brainstorming, tempering strong emotions and defining an empowering temporary role. Baffled spouses, struggling middle managers and heads of state might take a cue from the convincing strategy laid out by these savvy experts. (Oct.)
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