Sunday, September 5, 2010

Getting to Yes

Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving InGetting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In by Roger Fisher

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Reviewing schoolbooks is a hit or miss for me because there are some schoolbooks I would rather not dwell on more than I have to. However, the tenets of negotiation are something worth ruminating out of the academic forum. We all negotiate every day. Some negotiations are trivial – where to eat out, for example, while others carry more weight – those examples vary depending on individual priorities, etc., so I’ll let you decide what negotiations are weightier for you.

While the writing bogged down occasionally as business and psychology books are apt to do, “Getting to Yes” offers practical suggestions for reaching better agreements in our day-to-day lives in any type of setting. Some of the big “takeaways” for me include the idea that we need to more actively separate the person from the problem. We cannot expect resolution if we do not meet people’s basic needs as part of negotiations. If we don’t listen and validate, people will not want to work with us. Also, even more impactful, is the idea of working together to create options that will satisfy all involved in the negotiation. So often, I am inclined to do what is quickest or to say that “I don’t care” in order to take the path of least resistance. That is not the way to live.

I should present the additional information that I am reading for my Power, Influence, and Negotiation class. The environment of our first class was intense, borderline scary, and exhilarating. Learning how to communicate better in high stakes situations where the outcomes really matter or emotions are threatening to destroy reason is something I need to do. This book will not be enough for me to magically be a better negotiator, but “Getting to Yes” does give me more tools for my arsenal. Now it’s just up to me to practice….

ps. This book is probably just a 3.5 for me, but I have to choose a whole star rating....
(Don’t hate me for reviewing four books in quick succession. I had been putting these off for a while. Plus, I am short on my goal of how many books I wanted to read this year, so I am going to be attempting to step up my literary game….)


Meg said...

I still have yet to finish this book. I look forward to reading it though. Unfortunately, I did drop the class, you'll have to let me know how it goes. I ended up getting the internship to count for class credit. :)

C.J. said...

As a quasi (former, for all of two seconds?) professional negotiator--in theory, anyway--I've had a chance to use my so-called "skill set" in a few real world applications, most notably building our house. I've discovered that it all boils down to one decision tree:

1. What's in it for the other guy?

2. If it's not immediately obvious what's in it for the other guy, then something's horribly wrong.

The more stuff happens, the happier I am that I gave up being a lawyer in favor of being a stay at homer. Which is in no way a plug for women staying at home and staring at babies. I'm just not, you know, terribly ambitious. But I digress. One of the major reasons we went ahead and bought our house was, we didn't want to give this jackass who's suing us any more power over us. It was hard to respond non-emotionally to his tactics. Now that we have a nice house down the road from where we're ultimately trying to build (which at this point won't happen for 5 years at the earliest, I think), it's a lot less stressful. I don't know if we'll ever get to yes with this guy, but at least it's easier to ride out the "no" portion of the event :-)