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Management article
Reference no. 5372
Published by:
Harvard Business Publishing (2003)
in "Balanced Scorecard Report"
14 pages


This is an enhanced edition of HBR article R0311D, originally published in November 2003. HBR OnPoint articles include the full-text HBR article plus a summary of key ideas and company examples to help you quickly absorb and apply the concepts. What stands between you and the yes you want? According to negotiation experts David Lax and James Sebenius, executives face obstacles in three common and complementary dimensions: tactics, or interactions at the bargaining table; deal design, or the ability to draw up a deal at the table that creates lasting value; and setup, which includes the structure of the negotiation itself. Each dimension is crucial in the bargaining process, but most executives fixate on only the first two: 1-D negotiators focus on improving their interpersonal skills at the negotiating table, and 2-D negotiators focus on diagnosing underlying sources of value in a deal and then recrafting the terms to satisfy all parties. In this article, the authors explore the often-neglected third dimension. Instead of just playing the game at the bargaining table, 3-D negotiators reshape the scope and sequence of the game itself to achieve the desired outcome. They scan widely to identify elements outside the deal on the table that might create a more favorable structure for it. They map backward from their ideal resolution to the current setup of the deal and carefully choose which players to approach and when. And they manage and frame the flow of information among the parties involved to improve their odds of getting to yes. Lax and Sebenius describe the tactics 3-D negotiators use and cite examples from business and foreign affairs.


Agreements; Alliances; Communication; Conflicts of interest; Contracts; Legal aspects of business; Negotiations; Partnerships

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