16 Steps to Accountable Negotiation

One of the first steps in setting up accountability after making a request or receiving one from another person is negotiating an agreement. If you are interacting with other people, at some point you will be required to negotiate. Negotiations can be simple or complex. What follows are 16 ideas about negotiation.
Negotiation is listening to and considering other points of view with the purpose of coming to an agreement.
Negotiations can be simple or complex. They can involve two or more people on each side. Accountable negotiators have a clear picture of what negotiation requires. Some things you can do to negotiate effectively are:

  1. Establish a non-threatening environment. Do not become adversarial. Be open to considering what the other side wants.
  2. Know exactly what you want and what you don’t want. Be prepared with some idea of what is an absolute requirement and what you are willing to compromise.
  3. Ask for what you want.  
  4. Identify early your “best alternative to a negotiated agreement” or BATNA. This is what you will do if you cannot come to an agreement.
  5. Allow the other parties to share what they want.  
  6. Listen and ask questions to hear and understand the other side accurately.
  7. Document what both sides want. Make notes or share on a whiteboard.
  8. Focus on negotiating one point or one interest at a time.
  9. Get clear about what the other party wants that you and they perceive is different from what you want. Clearly define what they mean when they ask for something; get the details. 
  10. Identify the fear of potential loss that the other party perceives if they don’t get what they want. Obstacles to success in negotiations are almost always driven by the perception that the other person or team will lose something if they give in. 
  11. Identify the fear of potential loss that you and your team perceive if you don’t get what you want.
  12. Explore solutions with the other side to reduce or eliminate those perceived potential losses. Sometimes those losses are misperceptions or less likely to occur than what we and others think.
  13. Come to an agreement in increments based on generalities and objective criteria. 
  14. Identify and explore the details and fine-tune the agreement.
  15. Make compromises that are necessary to create an agreement or be willing to walk away and apply your BATNA. Sometimes, if you are not willing to walk away without an agreement, you have very little leverage.
  16. Confirm the agreement.  

Negotiations do not have to be complicated. They may involve only one or two interests or differences. Be prepared to apply these tactics if you want to maximize your effectiveness. 
There have been many books written on negotiation. The best of the best that came out of the Harvard Negotiation Project was by Roger Fisher and William Ury: Getting to Yes.
©2022, ChoiceWorks Inc., Leading Accountability for Results®

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