How to negotiate with the Mutual Gain Approach ?

Negotiation occurs at many stages and layers of organizations life and it can be frustrating. I want to highlight the existence of an approach that has the advantage to respect the rights and duties of each member of the negotiation. In spite of fighting for resources the mutual gain approach allows to create more value for all participants. The main idea and aspiration is to develop a setup which benefits the members of the negotiation.

The main principles are the following: (inspired by the Mutual Gain association website
  1. Identify common interest – You always come to the table with at least one common interest. Find it and build your dialogue on your common interest not your differences.
  2. Consider as many options as your imagination permits – be creative and imagine all potential solutions even the ones that technology does not allow. This will allow you to find innovative way to find mutual agreement. You may in the end combined two ideas to achieve the negotiation goals.
  3. Generate criteria or standards - They are maybe pre-existent criteria and standards in your industry that can limit and help the negotiation. In case no standards or criteria exist, generate a document that will list all the authorized action within the negotiation. Clarifying the rules of the negotiation will permit a better understanding of what is acceptable or not and will avoid conflict or cultural misunderstanding.
  4. Understand all your alternatives – in a negotiation you always have a choice to accept, reject or offer modification to the proposal. In order to negotiate effectively determine your Best Alternative to the Negotiated Agreement (BATNA). What happens if the negotiation fails?
  5. Build relationship – Make sure to build a negotiation based on facts, open and clear communication (do not hesitate to ask for clarification or give more details if you feel the need to), and respect. As a consequence, the connection you created with the other person remains even if the negotiation fails. In the future, you will be able to negotiate with this person again with trust and clear communication.  

Prepare for the negotiation:

Before going to any negotiation try to answer the following questions. If you fail to answer some of them you should try to answer those questions during the negotiation.

During the negotiation your feelings may be triggered. You should allow yourself to exit the situation if your emotions are taking over your rational thinking. In case of “emergency” you can:

After the negotiation, take the time to assess your success in answering the following questions:

I suggest that you write down question to ask during the negotiation and even prepare a speech about the way you would like to process the negotiation. It is important to clarify your intentions and needs to the other side in order to allow them to do the same. The mutual gain approach is not commonly used in negotiation and may disturb people at first. When they understand its benefits they will for sure participate more actively.

Do you have any tips to share with us to achieve a successful negotiation? Write it as a comment. 

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