Four Principles of Harvard Negotiations
The four principles of Harvard Negotiations came from the Harvard Negotiation Project which states the principle for coming to a mutually acceptable agreement. The four principles are (1) separate the people from the problem assumes an individualist value set, (2) focus on interest not positions assumes a not-too-large power distance, (3) inventing options for mutual gain assumes a tolerance for new solutions and (4) insisting on using objective criteria assumes that there is a shared objective between the parties.
Step 1: Separate the people from the problem
Whether you are taking part in budget negotiations, discussing prices and purchase quantities with a supplier or the conditions of employment in your ward with your assistant doctors – you are not dealing with abstract representatives, but with human beings. Humans who are motivated by emotions and values, or who have conflicting points of view are not necessarily predictable. This human aspect may be helpful when negotiating, but it can also be troublesome. A close personal relationship, trust and respect cause us to give in more quickly. Anger, fear and frustration stand in the way of a positive outcome.
Therefore, it is recommendable not to let personal relationships interfere with factual debates when negotiating. In order to achieve this aim, you first need to understand your counterpart as a human being. Only this will enable you to prevent different ideas, emotions or misunderstandings from standing in the way of a good, appropriate negotiation outcome – if the ideas are not precise, try to specify them. If emotions boil over, find ways of lowering the level of agitation. In the case of misunderstandings, improve the communication.
Raise the issue with the other side explicitly ‘Let’s look together at the problem of how to satisfy our collective interests'. Sit on the same side of the table, .Try to structure the negotiation as a side-by-side activity in which the two of you with your different interests and perceptions, and your emotional involvement jointly face a common task.
Step 2: Focus on Interests, Not Positions
In order to achieve satisfactory results you need to look beyond the words your counterpart has chosen to describe his point of view. Try to recognize his/her interests what are the real motives behind his position? Imagine, for example, the following unfortunate situation: your terminally ill patient asks you to help him die. Obviously, there is no way you can grant him his wish – a seemingly unsolvable conflict. If, however, you realize that his position I want to die actually implies a completely different longing, namely I want to be freed of my pain, then you certainly are able to help him by providing him with palliative medical treatment. The most effective way of looking beyond the position and finding out the interests including your own is by asking the question Why?. Why does my 80-year-old patient not want...