People, Problems and Process / Negotiating Responsibly by Alain Lempereur, ESSEC Professor
Alain Lempereur, Professor at ESSEC Business School presents the key elements of a successful negotiation. The three elements of negotiation are: people, problems and process. The first important sequence in negotiation is to show empathy. Then you have to choose between being cooperative or competitive. Cooperation from both sides will leat to a win-win equilibrium. When negotiating you should always look to create value.
Video transcript :
You negotiate all the time within your family, within your company, organizations and Nations negotiate. So what is negotiation all about? It's about three pillars. It's about people, it is about problems, it's about process. People first. You know what's going on when something goes wrong between two people, when there's a conflict. How do I behave when I hear the other side? Very often I will accuse the other side. I will accuse the other side of everything that goes wrong. That's what we call the accuser's bias. How we make a lot of attributions, accuse their character, accuse their personality. Hell is the other, Sartre said Well it is the other problem. In that situation, I tend to excuse myself of everything. I've never done anything wrong. That's what we call: the excuser's bias. The road to hell for the other side is paved with good intentions. I do not see, I come accross, I will always attribute my behavior to the situation. How do we overcome this first challenge? One very important sequence in negotiation is to show empathy first. Put yourself in the other person's shoes. Start looking at the perspective of the other side and then of course make sure that you are assertive. Be good at listening first and then be good at speaking. Put yourself in the other person's shoes make them go in your own shoes. And then we also said that negotiation is about the problem. It's about problem solving. But what is the challenge here? There's another challenge. The challenges is you have to choose and the other side has to choose. You have to choose between being cooperative or competitive and so does the other side. So that's the negotiators' dilemma. If we both cooperate, there is no problem. Then you will reach the win-win equilibrium. But if you don't cooperate, or the other side doesn't cooperate, we are in this win-lose situation, that will very often lead us to the lose-lose, worst equilibrium for everyone. So how do we overcome this challenge? Again, we need to put in place a good sequence. What do we do first? The first move here is to create value, to be cooperative because it will make the pie bigger. You will of course take some risks but if you do that, then you have to be competitive. You have to make sure you take away some profits for yourself. Cooperate first and compete second. Create value first, claim value second. Third challenge in the process. My process is also very important. What is the dilemma here? You heard about the negotiators' dilemma for the problems. There is also an agents' dilemma. Very often, you will negotiate on behalf of someone and for that negotiation you need to be good at two things you need to be good at representing you own boss but you also need to make sure that you preserve your reputation on the other side. So what is this sequence? Well the sequence is just that. Make sure that you are a very good delegate. So that you act on behalf of your principal very well. On the other side you need to be good at being a trustee, someone who will act on behalf of their principal effectively with the other side. You are good at the mandate on one side but on the other side also you will be good at crafting the deal and implementing the deal. You build internal loyalty on one side and your reputation on the other side. So you see, being a good negotiator very often beyond managing the three pillars is managing attention. And the three equilibrium are linked. You need to find the equilibrium in terms of empathy and assertiveness on the people. you need to find the equilibrium between competition and cooporation for the problems and you need also to build the right equilibrium between internal loyalty and external reputation. If you do this I'm pretty sure you will be a much more effective negotiator.