Negotiation Genius: How to Overcome Obstacles and Achieve Brilliant Results at the Bargaining Table and Beyond
Deepak Malhotra is an associate professor at the Harvard Business School, where he teaches negotiation in the MBA program, the Advanced Management Program, and the Owner/President Management Program, in addition to providing negotiation consulting and training for businesses worldwide.
Max H. Bazerman is the Jesse Isidor Straus Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School and the author ofNegotiating RationallyandJudgment in Managerial Decision Making.
From the Hardcover edition.Becoming a Negotiation Genius
What is a negotiation genius? Let’s start with the simple observation that you often know a negotiation genius when you see one. You can see genius in the way a person thinks about, prepares for, and executes negotiation strategy. You can see genius in the way a person manages to completely turn around a seemingly hopeless negotiation situation. You can see genius in the way a person manages to negotiate successful deals–consistently–while still maintaining her integrity and strengthening her relationships and her reputation. And, in all likelihood, you know who the negotiation geniuses are in your organization. This book will share with you their secrets. Consider the following stories, in which negotiators faced great obstacles, only to overcome them to achieve remarkable levels of success. But we will not revealhowthey did it–yet. Instead, we will revisit these stories–and many others like them–in the chapters that follow, as we share with you the strategies and insights you need to negotiate like a genius in all aspects of life.
A Fight Over Exclusivity
Representatives of a Fortune 500 company had been negotiating the purchase of a new product ingredient from a small European supplier. The parties had agreed to a price of $18 per pound for a million pounds of product per year, but a conflict arose over exclusivity terms. The supplier would not agree to sell the ingredient exclusively to the U.S. firm, and the U.S. firm was unwilling to invest in producing a new product if competitors would have access to one of its key ingredients. This issue appeared to be a deal breaker. The U.S. negotiators were both frustrated and surprised by the small European firm’s reticence on the issue of exclusivity; they believed their offer was not only fair, but generous. Eventually, they decided to sweeten the deal with guaranteed minimum orders and a willingness to pay more per pound. They were shocked when the European firm still refused to provide exclusivity! As a last resort, the U.S. negotiators decided to call in their resident “negotiation genius,” Chris, who flew to Europe and quickly got up to speed. In a matter of minutes, Chris was able to structure a deal that both parties immediately accepted. He made no substantive concessions, nor did he threaten the small firm. How did Chris manage to save the day? We will revisit this story in Chapter 3.
A Diplomatic Impasse
In the fall of 2000, some members of the U.S. Senate began calling for a U.S. withdrawal from the United Nations. Meanwhile, at the United Nations, the United States was on the verge of losing its vote in the General Assembly. The conflict was over a debt of close to $1.5 billion, which the United States owed to the UN. The United States was unwilling to pay unless the UN agreed to a variety of reforms that it felt were long overdue. Most important, the United States wanted a reduction in its “assessments”–the percentage of the UN’s yearly regular budget that the United States was obligated to pay–from 25 percent to 22 percent. The problem was this: if the United States paid less, someone else would have to pay more. There were other serious complications as well. First, UN regulations stipulated that Richard Holbrooke, U.S. ambassador to t