resim 577
resim 577

What if negotiation could go beyond power struggles? In his most recent book, Split the Pie, Barry Nalebuff, professor at the Yale School of Management, presents a new approach based on principles of fairness. What if we simply reconsidered the value of the “cake” we would like to share with others?

Why should negotiating your piece of the pie necessarily be a tour de force? After all, it would be enough to treat all the parties present at the negotiating table fairly to better distribute power. This is precisely the solution proposed by the author: to reconsider the value of what is really at stake in order to get out of the struggles of domination. Using case studies, the author, who sold his Honest Tea company to Coca-Cola in 2008, teaches how to focus on the true value of the “cake” to be split.

Money, opportunities, relationships, reputations: the greater the interests at stake, the more stressful the negotiation can become. “Negotiation can bring out the worst in people, as they try to take advantage of the situation or simply naively emulate the fierce negotiators they have heard of. Negotiating Mistake #1: Focusing on the total amount of the pie instead of the gain we could make if we worked together. “The hardest part of negotiating is measuring the pie correctly,” says the author, who encourages us to focus on the added value that would be created as a result of an agreement. Remember: The best negotiation is not the one that aims to get the biggest piece of the pie, but the one that leads to an association giving access to a “bigger” pie, in order to make the most of this alliance.

In a negotiation, some people will use arguments based on power. “One of the parties could thus say that she is ‘entitled’ to a larger share because she is bigger, because she brings more to the table, because she can walk away more easily, because that she has more options, and so on. ” Result ? We will then have the reflex to divide the cake proportionally according to the size of the parties involved (units, income, profits, dollars invested). This is another error: rather, each party’s share should be calculated according to its contribution. On the question of division, the author then introduces the Talmudic approach – 2000 years old – as an equitable method, distinct from the option of proportional division. The solution of the Talmud is to grant each party what has been conceded to it by the other and to divide what remains in equal shares between the parties.

Negotiation often rhymes with emotions. Fortunately, logic can calm the ardor. Nevertheless, “it is completely rational to be empathetic”, pleads the author. The strength of empathy is to get out of self-centeredness to better understand the other party’s goals. “If you can combine logic and empathy, you’ll get the best of Mr. Spock and Captain Kirk.” In practice, we can show empathy by showing that we understand the position of the other. Something to start getting along with before even reaching an agreement!