Book summary: Secrets of Power Negotiation

Behavioral advice

  • Be willing to live with ambiguity
  • Be resilient
    • Maslow hierarchy of needs
      1. Survival
      2. Security
      3. Social
      4. Self-esteem
      5. Self-actualization
    • Be willing to live beyond stage three most of the time – surpass the need to be liked
  • Don’t be conflict adverse

Dealing with the decision maker

  • When present with a proposal, don’t ask for something specific in return but let the other person offer up an item for exchange
  • Get the other person to commit first
  • Always flinch when proposed something
  • Never say yes to the first offer
  • Ask for more than you expect to get
  • Never be too eager to close the deal – they will give away half of his/her negotiating range
  • Shut up and wait after delivering a rejection or delivering the details of a proposal
  • Always negotiated in absolute numbers instead of percentages
  • Convince them that you are the only one that could solve the problem

Finding the decision maker

  • Ascertain the person you are dealing with is the actual decision maker
  • Do not present yourself as the decision maker
  • When possible always defer to higher authority. The more vague and abstract the better
  • Seek to neutralize the other person’s Higher Authority Gambit ( also watch out for good cop and invisible bad cop)
    • Appeal to their ego
    • Get their commitment that they will take the proposal to the committee with a positive recommendation
    • Use the qualified subject to close (assume close)
      • Example: let’s sign the deal and put in the condition that it will be closed unless the following conditions occur

Things to watch out for

  • The value of a service greatly diminishes after its been performed
  • Negotiated your fee before you do the work


  • Impasse
    • incomplete disagreement over one issue that could kill the whole agreement
    • solution:
      • Propose to set aside the issue and discuss the other details based on the assumption that we will be able to sort out this issue as some point
      • Create momentum by solving other smaller issues first
  • Stalemate
    • both sides are still talking but not making progress
    • Solution:
      • Create momentum by solving other smaller issues first
      • Change the dynamics by altering one of the elements
  • Deadlock
    • lack of progress frustrated both sides causing conversations to come to a halt
    • Solution:
      • bring in a 3rd party
        • mediator
        • arbitrator
    • Keep an open mind about deadlocks – they happen sometime

Tactics to watch out for and utilize

  • Good cop / bad cop
  • Red Herring – they ask you for something impossible to divert attention so as to get something they want out of you
  • Cherry picking – if on the receiving side, Don’t deal
    • ask for itemized breakdown
    • Learn so much about your competitors that they would see it as a waste of their time to go talk to them
  • The deliberate mistake
    • They offer a good deal to you and then realize from their boss the terms no longer apply
  • Acting dumb to make their feel OK and cause them to let their guard down
  • Don’t get thrown off by their tactics just focus on the concession you are targeting for

Powers of concern

  • Reward power
  • Coercive power
  • Reverent power –
    • When people invoke the power of traditions. The power accumulated by doing things consistently
    • How to neutralize it:
      • Demonstrate exceptions do exist
      • Demonstrate that times have change
  • Situational power
    • Always do enough research so that you can challenge the situation

Book Summary: Influence without Authority

Chief Objective: Figure out how you can address their concerns and still get what you want

  • Behavioral dos and don’ts
    • Do not confuse personal desire for what needs to be done –
      • decide clearly is the one single goal you want to accomplish
      • The narrower your request, the higher likelihood for success
    • Do not assume receiving party would get angry or retaliate after receiving a proposition. Test all ideas and assumptions
    • Do not discriminate or judge the motivations of people. Understand the mechanism and use them.
    • The proposed value must appeal to the receiving party
    • Do not assume other’s will recognize what you see as true (or a better mouse trap) and simply give in
    • Do not write off people who do not come to see things from your point of view as deficient
    • Do not resent having to go out of your way to effect an influence
    • Do not treat others as you would like to be treated, they may not have the same taste
    • Allow others the opportunity to tell their *story*. It is possible to convey and understanding without a corresponding agreement
    • Become aware of what makes you worked up
  • Context <> Attribution biases
    • Organizational situation a person is in plays a much larger role than their own personality.
    • Understand the language and jargon of the group
    • Spend time to understand operating context
    • Do not demonize or stereotype the other party:
      • leads to self fulfilling prophecy
      • The pygmalion effect
      • None cooperation is due to temporarily mismatch with currencies you can muster
    • The way people are measured and rewarded shapes a lot of their behavior
    • Areas with the highest level of task uncertainties gets the most attention
    • Macro economic forces
    • Micro economic forces
    • Explain proposal in terms of costs and benefits to the recipients when possible
  • Currencies for exchange
    • Inspiration related:
      • what vision can you share with them to inspire them?
    • Task related:
      • what tasks can you help them accomplish?
    • Position related:
      • what positional influence do you have that could help further their cause?
    • Relationship related
      • rapport that was build up through constant contact
    • Personal
      • Relationship established with person outside of working situation
  • Benefits of a good, open and trusting relationship
    • Communication is more complete
    • More open for influence
    • More flexibility in terms of what currency to use to pay back
  • Trend toward knowledge based economy
    • Bosses need to influence through the gaining of respect
  • Roles and inclinations
    • Sales representatives
    • Finance person
    • Engineers
    • Human resource personnel
  • Further readings
    • Power Up: Transforming organizations through shared leaderships

Book summary: Nelson Mandela – the long walk to freedom

Impressionable statements

  • A man who takes away the freedom of another man is a prisoner of hatred
  • To make peace with an enemy, one must work with that enemy. The enemy becomes one’s partner
  • After being branded a radical revolutionary, to be perceived as a moderate was a novel experience. I knew I could react in one of two ways, i could choose to scold him for his impertinence or choose to listen to him. I choose the latter.
  • In family issues we remain friends but Politically we are in opposite and antagonistic camps
  • Like the reign of all great leaders, he keep his people united. People of all walks of life and different points of views all remained loyal to him not because they all agreed with him but because he listened to and respected all different opinions
  • There is nothing like returning to a place unchanged only to find ways in which you yourself has altered


Book summary: Start with No

  • focus on goal – action and behavior u have control over. E.g dont act needy in negotiations
  • do not focus on objective – results/outcome U have no control over. E.g. Closing the deal
  • define mission and purpose: it should be based on adversary’s world view
  • dont say no for adversary. Let him take responsibility for his decisions
  • don’t think win win – aka forget about the need to give up ground
  • always phrase questions to elicit any objections he might have – this will help get pass emotional issues to essential issues that need addressing
  • Ask interrogative lead questions to unpack the subject
    • who …
    • what …
    • when …
    • where …
    • why …
    • how …
    • how much …
  • Avoid verb lead questions to avoid skewing the subject’s response
    • can we do …
    • is it …
  • A leaders job is to paint a clear VISION of the PAIN as well as the SOLUTION to remove the PAIN
  • Avoid triggering off too much negative or positive emotions
  • budget – always set the budget U want to allocate for a specific negotiation
    • Time n Effort = 1X
    • Money = 2X
    • Emotions = 4X
  • keep a close watch on the budget and make sure the opponent does not drive it above budget
  • never compromise on ur mission and purpose just because u think u have already blow your budget
  • figure out the pain and corresponding budget of the adversary
  • decision maker: figure out who is that person and what is his pain and what is driving his cost
  • Blocker: figure out who are the blockers and use interrogative questions to get around them
  • Blocker: important to have him feel ok

Summary: Difficult Conversations


Conversation Part 1: Focus on what happened

  • start by talking from a keen observer’s perspective and then move on to exploring each other’s stories
  • Don’t assume they meant it: disentangle intent from impact
  • Focus on how we could rectify the error

Conversation Part 2: The feelings conversation

  • Talk about the feelings and the actual sensation that is going on within both people
  • Figure out how to manage each others’ feelings

Conversation Part 3: The identity conversation

  • Keep your balance. Understand and explain that the implication of the conversation in no way detracts from your self-image.
  • avoid having all or nothing identities, such identities are very fragile and prevents conducive acceptance of negative feedback