Negotiations: Four Steps Toward a More Constructive Approach

By Harvard Business Review
October 20, 2017

Building relationships, learning and collaboration are among the necessities for reaching the often sought but rarely achieved optimal agreement.

Professional negotiators and researchers alike hail the BATNA (Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement, or “walk away” outcome) as a negotiator’s primary source of power.

BATNAs, however, are not designed to facilitate relationship building, exploration, creativity or collaboration, all of which most researchers and practitioners agree are necessary to reach the often sought for, but rarely achieved, optimal agreement.

Here are some practical steps to take toward a more constructive approach to negotiations:

Think mutual dependence, not just alternatives: Ascertaining why and how deeply one’s counterparty needs what you’re offering is central when it comes to relative power. You and your counterpart would do well to spend your efforts focusing on the power inherent in your mutual dependence.

RELATED: How to Have a Friendly (But Firm) Negotiation Process

Find power in your context, not your feelings: Power in a negotiation is NOT based on your subjective view of what you have to offer, but rather the objective reality of what you have to offer in relation to the need of the other party. Feelings of power are irrelevant. Focusing on mutual dependence can again be helpful here.

Focus on learning, not buying or selling: Your priorities during a negotiation should be learning as much as possible about the person and entity with which you are dealing and ascertaining as much as possible about their circumstances.

MORE: Find Other Articles Related to Finance for Physician Leaders.

Treat the unknown as a place of hidden potential, not a frightening minefield: Do your research, but don’t feel bound by the limitations of that information. The most emotionally challenging aspect of preparation involves embracing the unknown as a place of potential in the negotiation. The discovery of information on both sides of the table provides opportunities for creative solutions.

Copyright 2017 Harvard Business School Publishing Corp. Distributed by The New York Times Syndicate.

Topics: Leadership

Drugmakers Master Rolling Out Their Own Generics to Stifle Competition
Hiring for Culture Fit Doesn't Have to Undermine Diversity
Advertisement
Transform your organization - Get leadership training from the experts!

Popular Articles

Advertisement
Fundamentals

About Physician Leadership News

Now more than ever, physicians are leaders in their organizations and communities.

The American Association for Physician Leadership maximizes and supports physician leadership through education, community, and influence. We promote thought leadership in health care through our Physician Leadership News website, bimonthly Physician Leadership Journal and other channels.

We focus on industry leadership issues such as patient care, finance, professional development, law, and technology. Association announcements and news of association events can be found.

Send us your feedback at news@physicianleaders.org.


Journal Submission Guidelines

AAPL's award-winning print publication, the Physician Leadership Journal, welcomes originally authored manuscripts for peer review that meet competency, formatting and preparation criteria. To review these guidelines and other information regarding submissions, click here.