Getting to Yes

Getting to Yes

One of the books that we have in our catalog for the leadership program is Getting to Yes by Roger Fisher, William Ury, and Bruce Patton.  It is a treat and really speaks to me.  There's a lot to unpack.

Don't Bargain Over Positions

This chapter really sets up the ones after it.  Positions that are arrived at separately often are not optimal and do not feature mutual gain.

Separate the People from the Problem

This chapter focuses on the social aspect of negotiation.  Seeing the other party as a problem-solving teammate is better.  They will usually be relatable, but it's also important to note that they may come from a significantly different background and have things that cannot be related to.  More than anything, the person is not the problem; the problem is the problem.

Focus on Interest, Not Positions

This chapter builds on the previous one by steering the focus on interests.  In order to reach other solutions, it's important to realize that other parties want to accomplish a lot of things.  Sometimes by solving an underlying interest, you may be able to steer away from options that are undesirable options.

The author uses an example of one side wanting an orange peel and the other side wanting the inside.  After negotiating positions they each end up with half an orange.  If they had focused on interests, they would have been able to land on a better solution for both parties.

Invent Options for Mutual Gain

Inventing multiple options takes away some of the burden for coming up with the perfect solution right off the bat.  Coming up with a few options and merging them is helpful.

Insist on Using Objective Criteria

This chapter spoke about using an outside standard for setting up the negotiation.  The chapter used language like "market price" here that makes sense.  It steers negotiating parties away from coming up with terms that are only backed by self-interest and will.

What If They are More Powerful?

In this chapter, there's some debate as to making a redline called a BATNA (Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement).  The authors say to make a redline but to stay flexible. 

What If They Won't Play?

In this chapter, the authors suggest staying the course and trying to redirect the other side to focus on the problem

What If They Use Dirty Tricks?

In this chapter, the authors recommend three parts: ignoring the trick and pressure, drawing attention to the trick, and negotiate over the means of negotiation.


This book is worth a second read.  Many of the points that they make can come into play when doing problem-solving.  While reading this book, I realized that many situations do turn into negotiations.  The case that this book makes is not how to get want you want, it is how to get what you and the other party need.


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