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Getting Past Yes: Negotiating as if Implementation Mattered

Many deals that look good on paper never materialize into value-creating endeavors. Often, the problem begins at the negotiating table. In fact, the very person everyone thinks is pivotal to a deal’s success–the negotiator–is often the one who undermines it. That’s because most negotiators have a deal-maker mindset: They see the signed contract as the final destination rather than the start of a cooperative venture.

What’s worse is that most companies reward negotiators on the basis of the number and size of the deals they’re signing, giving them no incentive to change. The author asserts that organizations and negotiators must transition from a deal-maker mentality–which involves squeezing your counterpart for everything you can get—to an implementation mindset—which sets the stage for a healthy working relationship long after the ink has dried.

Here's a snippet of Getting Past Yes: Negotiating as if Implementation Mattered:

The Danger of Deal Makers

"It’s easy to see where the deal maker mindset comes from. The media glorifies big-name deal makers like Donald Trump, Michael Ovitz, and Bruce Wasserstein. Books like You Can Negotiate Anything, Trump: The Art of the Deal, and even my own partners’ Getting to Yes all position the end of the negotiation as the destination. And most companies evaluate and compensate negotiators based on the size of the deals they’re signing.

But what kind of behavior does this approach create? People who view the contract as the conclusion and see themselves as solely responsible for getting there behave very differently from those who see the agreement as just the beginning and believe their role is to ensure that the parties involved actually realize the value they are trying to create. These two camps have conflicting opinions about the use of surprise and the sharing of information.

They also differ in how much attention they pay to whether the parties’ commitments are realistic, whether their stakeholders are sufficiently aligned, and whether those who must implement the deal can establish a suitable working relationship with one another. (For a comparison of how different mindsets affect negotiation behaviors, see the exhibit “DealMinded Negotiators Versus ImplementationMinded Negotiators.”)"

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