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Negotiations in Times of Crises The Wharton School Challenges in Strategic Negotiations August 2011. Gilead Sher. The Art and Practice of Negotiations. Some practical advices…. Relate to needs, rather than positions Never accept the first offer

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Negotiations in times of crises the wharton school challenges in strategic negotiations august 2011

Negotiations in Times of CrisesThe Wharton School Challenges in Strategic NegotiationsAugust 2011

Gilead Sher

The art and practice of negotiations

The Art and Practice of Negotiations

Some practical advices…

  • Relate to needs, rather than positions

  • Never accept the first offer

  • Never lose your temper: use a neutral and relaxed language

  • In other words: keep calm and carry on

  • Always give only against consideration

  • Stay focused on final objective

  • Express appreciation to the other party

  • Understand your deal before signing

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Phase IPreparations, Diplomacy, Staff Work

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Phase II

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Phase III



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Phase IVThe Negotiation – Team Work







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Phase V

Reporting-Addressing spoilers-Concluding

How to create value on a lasting basis

How to create VALUE on a lasting basis

The right parties?

The right issues?

The right sequence?

The right table?

And then: 1. tactics (AT the table)

2. deal design (creative agreement on the surface and below it) 3. set up (extends to actions AWAY from table, to create most promising situation)

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Reference List

  • Identifying the problems and barriers; Depersonalize them

  • Strategic policy design and goal definition

  • Setting priorities, accommodating public interests

  • Sequential targeting; specific objectives

  • Media, consensus building and public opinion

  • Constituencies: legitimize “the other”

  • Perceptions and gap analysis; standards, norms

  • Process management in multi-issue, multi-party, multi-level set ups; Discipline

  • Signing

  • Timing: identifying opportunities; time issues

  • Mandates, coalitions, spoilers – participants, opponents and other players…

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Reference List (Cont.)

  • Personalities; Mindsets

  • Momentum and leverage; walk away alternatives

  • Improving options; Creating a larger pie

  • Adapting to changes in conditions and circumstances, reframing; fresh thinking

  • Creativity in general; Being purposive, neither reactive nor passive

  • Psychological and social dimensions

  • Rolling re-assessment

  • The behavior of leaders and principals

  • Getting commitments and certainty

  • The International Arena

  • Getting to Closing.

Different approaches to resolving a complex conflict

Different Approaches to Resolving a Complex Conflict

Key negotiation issues:

  • What is the immediate and long-term purpose of the negotiations; and then -

  • What decisions need to be made now in order to achieve those aims?

  • Who can influence those who possess power (political parties, interest groups, media, individuals);

  • Who has the formal power and who is in fact the decision maker.

Planning the negotiations

Planning the Negotiations

Roger fisher beyond machiavelli seven elements of negotiation in a conflict situation

Roger Fisher, Beyond MachiavelliSeven Elements of Negotiation in a Conflict Situation

Have the parties explicitly understood their own interests? Do the parties understand each other priorities and constraints?

  • Interests

  • Options

  • Legitimacy

  • Relationship

  • Communication

  • Commitment

  • Alternatives

Are sufficient options being generated?Is the process of inventing separated from the process of making commitments?

Have relevant precedents and other outside standards of fairness been considered? Can Principles be found that are persuasive to the other side? To us?

What is the ability of the parties to work together?Is there a working relationship between their negotiators? Are the parties paying attention to the kind of relationship they want in the future?

Is the way the parties communicate helping or interfering with their ability to deal constructively with the conflict? Are mechanisms in place to confirm that what is understood is in fact what was intended?

Are potential commitments well-crafted? Does each party know what it would like the other party to agree on? If the other side said yes, is it clear who would do what tomorrow morning?

Does each side understand its Best Alternative to Negotiated Agreement – its BATNA? Are the negative consequences of not settling being used to bring the parties together?

Verint March 2010 Strategic Negotiations

Media consensus building and public opinion

Media, Consensus Building and Public Opinion

  • Preparation of Public Opinion

  • Advocacy; lobbying; gaining legitimacy (internally and externally)

  • In critical negotiations, concerted effort and attention must be given to continuous, comprehensive public relations

  • Leadership must keep in touch with the groups that would be likely to experience the heaviest loss as a result of any agreement

Perceptions and symbolism

Perceptions and Symbolism

  • Perceptions vs. Objective Facts and Evidence

    • Symbolic Images

    • In such negotiations one always needs to keep in mind the dignity, symbolism, tradition and heritage that the other party is concerned with.

  • The key to close a deal would not be the “truth”, the "justice" or the objective facts, but what’s in the minds of the respective parties.

  • If you mistakenly analyze the other side’s perception regarding its own objectives, you will constantly misread its conduct throughout the negotiation process

Negotiation in times of crisis

Negotiation in times of Crisis

Process Management

Binding Mechanism

Clear Benchmarking






How words can help negotiation

How words can help negotiation

Process management

Process Management

  • Process management may be as vital as the substance and content of the negotiations themselves

  • Primarily when there is a high-level third party involvement, a rigid framework that ensures progress is needed with a binding agenda from which the parties cannot be allowed to depart

  • It is essential that the facilitator require all negotiating parties to give their responses at every stage; to dictate a clear agenda, to compose a check list of who does what, when, and follow up its implementation.

Signing and timing

Signing and Timing

Signing and timing1

Signing and Timing

  • Never leave the negotiation table before signing a document, once you have the final agreed draft ready

  • Constantly read the battlefield map, plan ahead

  • Simplify closing procedures

  • Identify windows of opportunity and aim at focusing events

The oslo process timeline

The Oslo Process timeline

The theory of constraints

The Theory of Constraints

Mandates and coalitions

Mandates and Coalitions

  • When you have a number of negotiating counterparts, you need to know their place in their system that has sent them, their authority within that administration and the amount of leeway they have

    • Mobilizing resources, constituencies and stakeholders;

    • Identifying policy allies, looking for natural coalitions and shared interests; asking yourself how motivated these potential coalition partners are/might be;

    • Relationship mapping – locating who the real decision maker is. Who influences him;

Bridging the gaps through creativity

Bridging the Gaps through Creativity

  • Every person comes to the negotiations they’ve been sent to with his/her own vision, made up of their beliefs, interests and personal experience

  • Gain empathy, reverse roles

  • Harvard’s Professor Robert Mnookin:Problem Solving is an orientation that seeks to create value both by minimizing transaction costs and by actively and creatively searching for trade-offs. The goal is to search for solutions that best serve your interests, while also respecting the legitimate needs and interests of the other side.

Momentum and leverage

Momentum and Leverage

  • Maintaining positive momentum

  • Confidence building measures:

    • It is essential to create the momentum of conceding little things along the way, in order to bring the other side to closing event

    • Seek to show visible, tangible change

    • One needs to know that one has “earned” concessions from the other side; it is deeply rooted in human nature

Adapting to changes in conditions circumstances

Adapting to Changes in Conditions & Circumstances

  • Situations are constantly changing and you have to adapt yourself to such changes in accordance with the conditions and the mood of the people on the opposite side

  • Think quickly, systematically and functionally

  • Every change is important – but nothing is more significant than getting the substantive agreement concluded and, subsequently, implemented

  • Follow your intuition



  • Negotiations from the leaders’ perspective are merely a mechanism for communicating in order to implement strategies

  • A leader should be concentrating on leadership, setting out principles and general policy, not on the actual mechanics of the negotiations

  • The loneliness of the leader at the decisive moment should be addressed sensibly

International and political negotiators

International and Political Negotiators

  • All negotiators need to strive for the pie to be potentially enlarged

  • Waiting for ever more ripeness versus the risk of failing and then overcome the heavy price of resuming negotiations after such failure

Getting to closing

Getting to Closing

  • In the best-case scenario, the negotiators might be able to bring the parties to a point from which an agreement is achievable

  • This is the point of balance where the compromises of one side meet the interests of the other and vice-versa

Thank you shalom salam

Thank you, Shalom, Salam

August 2011

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