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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The New "Getting to Yes"
For years "Getting to Yes" has been the standard introduction to negotiation. Frankly, the one-size-fits-all approach and win-win optimism of the book has gotten tired. Mike Watkin's "Shaping the Game" is the antidote.

Watkins's focus is the need to both create value and capture value. He argues that you have to shift your style accordingly to circumstances...
Published on August 4, 2006 by Robert Aiello

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars shaping the game
As always, Michael Watkins' materials are worth reading and full of well founded, practical, advice. He should however, seriously consider changing either his editors or publishing house. I cannot recall reading a book with so many typographical errors. The irritation these caused interfere with the message he is conveying.
Published on February 15, 2009 by negotations addict


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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The New "Getting to Yes", August 4, 2006
This review is from: Shaping the Game: The New Leader's Guide to Effective Negotiating (Hardcover)
For years "Getting to Yes" has been the standard introduction to negotiation. Frankly, the one-size-fits-all approach and win-win optimism of the book has gotten tired. Mike Watkin's "Shaping the Game" is the antidote.

Watkins's focus is the need to both create value and capture value. He argues that you have to shift your style accordingly to circumstances -- sometimes on creating value, sometimes on capturing it. Sometimes you focus on interests and sometimes on positions. Sometimes you negotiate a transaction and sometimes you negotiate a relationship. They key is to know when to do what.

After providing an introduction to diagnosing negotiations in terms of structure and process, Watkins outlines a framework for developing negotiating strategies based on identifying what you need to do (1) before you get to the negotiating table and (2) once you get there. He also highlights the importance of not just playing the negotiating games the way others have defined them, but also focusing on "shaping the game." He rightly stresses that much is won and lost in the setup of negotiations, before you even get to the table.

The rest of the book lays out key elements of his approach:

* Match Strategy to Situation - Figure out what type of negotiation you are involved in and prepare for it accordingly.

* Plan to Learn and Influence - Engage with the other side "at the table" in ways that both help you to learn about their positions and interests and that influence them.

* Shape the Game - Focus on influencing basic setup of negotiations, such as who you negotiate with and what the issues are and what alliances you build, in ways that help you to create and capture value.

* Organize to Improve - Make sure to learn from evey negotiation you do and also to strengthen the negotiation capabilities of your organization.

The last chapter provides some particularly helpful advice about how to become a better negotiator. It also will help anyone who runs an organization where people negotiate on a regular basis. While nominally written for people taking new jobs, it's useful for anyone who negotiates in organizations.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Major impact to your career success..., August 12, 2006
This review is from: Shaping the Game: The New Leader's Guide to Effective Negotiating (Hardcover)
Negotiating is a critical skill in just about all areas of life, but especially when you're supposed to be a leader at work. Michael Watkins' book Shaping the Game: The New Leader's Guide to Effective Negotiating does a very nice job in laying out the necessary skills, as well as giving you the strategic tools you need to be successful at it.

Contents: Introduction; Understand Terms and Conditions; Negotiate Strategically; Match Situation to Strategy; Plan to Learn and Influence; Shape the Game; Organize to Improve; Conclusion; Notes; Recommended Reading; Index; About the Author

Watkins takes you through the life of a soon-to-be new employee of a fictional company. The employee is trying for a sales management job, and he has to negotiate his way through three potential job situations with three potential employers. His skill in carrying on these simultaneous discussions is only the beginning of his deal-making. When he finally accepts one and gets on-board, he realizes that there are some make-or-break issues that, if not successfully navigated, will sink both him *and* the company. It's a classic turn-around situation, and the stakes are the survival of the company. Using this storyline, the author presents the necessary skills needed to get all the parties to the table, to get everyone communicating openly (or as open as is possible), and to learn how to adapt your style of negotiating to fit the particular scenario. I think for me, the most valuable aspect of the book was learning that a "one size fits all" approach to deal-making doesn't work. Working out a one-time deal (such as the sale of your used car to a stranger) is far different than working out an on-going partnership (such as between your company and a strategic buyer or supplier). Going for a "win at all costs" approach in the second situation pretty much guarantees a battle victory at the expense of the overall war...

Because the storyline is used to support the material about negotiating, the outcomes always seem to work out correctly. In real-life, that's not always the case. But regardless of that minor nit, this is a valuable book that can have a long-term beneficial effect on your career...
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very useful strategic guide to negotiating -- and leading., November 23, 2006
This review is from: Shaping the Game: The New Leader's Guide to Effective Negotiating (Hardcover)
This excellent guide to negotiation is concise, highly readable and eminently practical. Author Michael Watkins simply and clearly outlines the essentials every negotiator must know. More importantly, he situates negotiation where it belongs - at the very center of every leader's required set of skills. He duly notes that negotiations differ in many ways, and that a negotiator needs to adapt a strategic approach to each situation and context. Where appropriate, he draws on the work of other writers about negotiation, sometimes correcting their broad generalizations and oversimplifications. He illustrates his advice about negotiation with the story of Paul, an executive whose career exposes him to various negotiating situations requiring a range of skills. This tactic could be hackneyed or hokey, but in Watkin's hands, it works well. We highly recommend this book as an excellent tool for honing your negotiation and leadership skills.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars shaping the game, February 15, 2009
This review is from: Shaping the Game: The New Leader's Guide to Effective Negotiating (Hardcover)
As always, Michael Watkins' materials are worth reading and full of well founded, practical, advice. He should however, seriously consider changing either his editors or publishing house. I cannot recall reading a book with so many typographical errors. The irritation these caused interfere with the message he is conveying.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, August 28, 2007
By 
Trevor Cross "persepolis" (Hingham, MA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Shaping the Game: The New Leader's Guide to Effective Negotiating (Hardcover)
An excellent book that shows how important it is to adjust one's negotiating strategy to fit the situation. Unlike so many other books on negotiation which offer a cookie cutter approach, Watkins does a superb job in helping you develop strategies that will work in just about any situation.
A great companion to the book "Bargaining for Advantage" by Shell.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding primer on negotiations at work, June 3, 2007
This review is from: Shaping the Game: The New Leader's Guide to Effective Negotiating (Hardcover)
Michael Watkins , author of 2003's classic "The First 90 Days: Critical Success Strategies for New Leaders at All Levels" has followed it up nicely with "Shaping the Game: The New Leader's Guide to Effective Negotiating." Whereas the earlier book was a step-by-step guide to what a new leader needed to accomplish, the latest book focuses on how negotiation skills can play a key role in successful transitions.

Watkins, an expert in leadership transitions and in negotiation, has come to believe that, "...effective leaders negotiate their way to success in their new roles." This book is meant to help ensure success in that endeavor.

Watkins sees four objectives for negotiations during career transitions:

1. Create value for both the new leader and for the organization.

2. Ensure that the new leader captures a fair share of that value.

3. Build and sustain relationships by the way the negotiations are conducted.

4. Enhance the new leader's reputation as a tough, creative and trustworthy individual.

His framework for negotiation likewise contains four elements:

1. Matching negotiating strategy to the reality of the situation. No more one-size-fits-all negotiation strategies.

2. Planning to learn and influence.

3. Shaping the game - strategies to change the negotiation game to better suit your strengths.

4. Organizing to improve your skills as a negotiator, and those of your organization.

I like the way Watkins has organized the book. He provides plenty of clear, visual models of the negotiation process. Each chapter is concluded with a checklist that summarizes the key things to watch for when negotiating. The book is a fast read, and it will be easy to find what I need to help in specific situations later.

If you are entertaining several options for future employment, or entering a new position, consider using two books as guides. First, use George Bradt's The New Leaders 100-Day Action Plan: How to Take Charge, Build Your Team, and Get Immediate Results as the most practical step by step guide to early success in the new role. And use Watkins book to help you understand how to do some of the tougher steps in Bradt's book.

If you have any need to negotiate in your current role (and all of us do), pick up Watkins book to help you improve your ability to create and capture value. His stuff will work whether or not you are a new leader.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars High Quality Guide, December 21, 2006
This review is from: Shaping the Game: The New Leader's Guide to Effective Negotiating (Hardcover)
In "Shaping the Game: The New Leader's Guide to Effective Negotiating", Michael Watkins came up with a high quality book on critical skills required for successful negotiations. The author wrote an interesting and insightful book on achieving effective negotiations. Negotiation involves getting people who both have common and conflicting goals to be able to present and discuss issues and reach an agreement acceptable to all parties.

This is a very useful book that presents the negotiation process methodically, which helps the reader to follow and understand the process. The ideas you learn from the book are very helpful in any negotiating situation, whether one is interviewing for a job, buying a car, leasing a house, making a sell or negotiating between managers and workers for salary increase and conditions of service or a major contract.

This is an excellent book that is essential reading for all managers who need to learn the techniques, strategies and practices of effective negotiations. The author reinforces his well presented arguments, proposals and solutions with an interesting story of Paul whose duties require him to be involved in various challenging negotiating scenarios that should assist readers in reinforcing the concepts that they would have learnt.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great ideas, May 13, 2007
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This review is from: Shaping the Game: The New Leader's Guide to Effective Negotiating (Hardcover)
This provides a nice clear layout of the ideas behind successful negotiations. It's helpful to think clearly about the values and motivations of all the 'players' in the process. Great book and easy but thoughtful read.
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Shaping the Game: The New Leader's Guide to Effective Negotiating
Shaping the Game: The New Leader's Guide to Effective Negotiating by Michael Watkins (Hardcover - July 1, 2006)
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