Posted on March 1st, 2010 in - Brian Egan, Communication, Management, Reference Material | No Comments »
By Brian Egan, PMP
Getting Past No – Negotiations in Difficult Situations by William Ury, Bantom Books, 2007, is the sequel to Getting to Yes (Fisher and Ury, 1981).
First published in 1991, ten years after Getting to Yes, this book continues the argument in favor of principled negotiations by addressing roadblocks to principled negotiations that have been encountered over the years.
Like its predecessor, Getting Past No remains a best seller, many years after it was first published. It is one of the rare gems of management literature. The book is short, easy to read and packed with helpful ideas.
Read it second
While Getting Past No can be read on its own, I would recommend reading it after Getting to Yes (see Getting to Yes). Past No assumes that the reader is firmly grounded in the terminology and perspectives outlined in To Yes and then takes the reader further into the techniques needed to overcome obstacles.
Principled negotiations – good in principle
In Getting to Yes the authors introduced principled negotiations in which the standard positional style of negotiation is abandoned in favor of a more problem solving style.
However it is easier said than done. Negotiating with reasonable people is easy. It is unreasonable people that are tricky to deal with. Wanting everyone to be problem solvers will not make them so.
How can people whose experience is rooted in traditional, adversarial style of negotiations be convinced to negotiate on the basis of principles? That is the question answered by Getting Past No. And it is a long answer.
Attack the issues not the people
Getting Past No focuses on how to deal with unreasonable people. It explains how to circumvent everyone’s natural tendency towards becoming emotional, narrow minded and combative.
In short the message is to not give up. Even in the face of unreasonable, narrow minded behavior don’t fall into the same trap yourself. Insist on principles. Be reasonable while standing firm to your ideals. The other side can either give in or give up.
The book is short, well written and has lots of examples. While not quite as universally applicable as Getting to Yes, Getting Past No will have resonance for anyone who understands the need to preserve relationships at the same time that you negotiate price.