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Shaping the Game: The New Leader's Guide to Effective Negotiating Hardcover – July 10, 2006

4.7 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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  • Shaping the Game: The New Leader's Guide to Effective Negotiating
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Having already addressed ways of making painless (and successful) upward professional transitions in his previous book, The First 90 Days, Watkins, a leadership consultant, hones in on what he calls the most valuable skill for the upwardly mobile: negotiation. Leaders, he says, should think of negotiation as a game of strategic interaction among intelligent players for which it pays to be prepared with a reasonable investment in research and analysis. The nuances are almost endless, and Watkins delves into them all, providing negotiation tips, frameworks, assessment tools and strategies. Helpful charts and checklists appear throughout the text, and his takes on the finer points of the many types of negotiations-one-time transactions, for instance, versus relationships in which future agreements loom-brim with insight. This logical, thought-provoking guide is a useful tool for leaders, new and old.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Michael D. Watkins is a Professor of Practice at INSEAD and founder of Genesis Advisers, a leadership and strategy consultancy.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press; 1 edition (July 10, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1422102521
  • ISBN-13: 978-1422102527
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #846,107 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Robert Aiello on August 4, 2006
Format: 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.
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Format: 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).
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Format: 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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Format: 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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Format: 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.
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