Tips and Tricks about my MBA experience

Article :: HBR :: Shadow negotiation

The shadow negotiation doesn’t determine the "what" but the "how".


  • Power Moves can help bring someone to the table
  • Process Moves can reshape the negotiation’s structure
  • Appreciative Moves can alter the tone or atmosphere so that a more collaborative exchange is possible.


1. Power Moves

Power Moves can bring reluctant bargainers to the realization that they must negotiate: they will be better off if they do and worse off if they don’t.


1.1 Offer Incentives

Whether it’s money, time, cooperation, communication, the other side need to understand the benefits they will get from this negotiation. Creating value and making it visible are key power moves in the shadow negotiation and help to start negotiation.


1.2 Put a Price on Status Quo

If the other side does not want to negotiate, let them know about alternative solutions. This will help to start the negotiation.

ex.: salary increase could be negotiated if the person is being headhunted.


1.3 Enlist support

Ensure that you have allies that will help you to have the negotiation started. Allies are important resources in shadow negotiation.


2. Process Moves


2.1 Seed ideas early

When your ideas are ignored for discussion, you can try to meet each person instead of the whole group and make each of them aware of your idea.


2.2Reframe the process

If the process of negotiation does not seem fair (talk the loudest, hold out the longest…) try to reshape the process to have more equity.


2.3 Build consensus

The first process move aims to gaining a hearing for your ideas, Build consensus should be used to make each person of the group to buy your idea. Growing support will help to isolate blockers and weaken the forces of resistance.


3. Appreciative Moves

3.1 Help others save face

Sometimes, negotiation is impossible because people feel that proposing them one solution will weaken their management roles. Propose the an array of solution and let them make the final decision may help to have the negotiation going on.


3.2 Keep the dialogue going

Some people need some time to approve something, so don’t give up after a refusal and keep the discussion going with improved information each time.


3.3 Solicit new perspectives

Don’t be stubborn to your perspective and open your discussion with other stakeholders to ensure that all perspectives were considered. Other stakeholders will be glad to be heard and this will facilitate the negotiation process.


Source: HBR OnPoint Summer 2008

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