A Contrarian's Guide To Better Negotiations
With twenty years of experience as a negotiation coach, Jim Camp challenges many of the assumptions that have been taken for granted during personal and business negotiations. The first assumption he tackles is the myth of the win-win model of negotiation. He writes that win-win is hopelessly misguided as a basis for good negotiating, and explains that win-win negotiating is the worst possible way to get the best possible deal. He blames this win-win strategy for grinding many businesses into the ground.
To understand Camp's system of negotiating, one must understand the dangers that are inherent in win-win negotiations. He writes that compromise is a poison that lurks "at the heart of the big lie that is win-win." Although he advocates bargaining and negotiating in good faith, Camp also wants negotiators to be aware of the negotiating sharks who have studied the weaknesses of win-win and have devised their own "cost optimization" and "supply systems management" programs to benefit from negotiators who believe in the win-win mantra. He warns that the negotiators for many of the dominant multinationals are tigers who are ready to pounce on smaller devotees of win-win. He writes, "Win-win and compromise are a defeatist mind-set from the first handshake." Using clear stories from the real world of business, Camp demonstrates how many smaller companies have been cheated out of their true value by negotiators who used their win-win strategy against them.
Emotion-Based Negotiating Vs. Decision-Based Negotiating
Camp reminds negotiators that the people on the other side of the bargaining table are not their friends. He writes that those who will be negotiated with should be thought of as adversaries or respected opponents, rather than the friends they might pretend to be. Start With No refutes all emotion-based negotiating and presents decision-based negotiating as an alternative. By helping negotiators focus on what they can control (the means) rather than what they cannot control (the end result), Camp offers a system that teaches them how to control what can be controlled in a negotiation, such as their own actions and decisions. He also explains that politely walking away from a negotiation can be considered a success in some situations.
Camp writes that the guiding principle behind the "Start With No" system is based on the understanding that "no" is a real decision. Plus, it helps you maintain control while giving everyone something to talk about. Another principle he details is the idea of "No Closing." He explains that, rather than "closing" in the usual sense of the word, deals "come together" through vision and decision, over weeks, months and maybe years. Camp's system is based on the idea that negotiators should be more concerned with making sound decisions than winning.
Missions and Purposes
Each chapter of Start With No takes one of the 14 principles that make up Camp's system for better negotiations and expands on ways that it can be put into use during bargaining. The first principles help negotiators become prepared for the negotiation, and later principles take them into the nuts and bolts of the structure of the negotiating process, including agendas, budgets, presentations, missions and purposes. Some of these principles include:
- Your Greatest Weakness In Negotiation: The Dangers of Neediness. Humans and other predators often take advantage of the vulnerable and the needy.
- The Columbo Effect: The Secret of Being "Not Okay." By allowing an adversary to feel in control, you are actually in control.
- Success Comes From This Foundation: Develop Your Mission and Purpose. If you have a valid mission and purpose, and the results of a negotiation fulfill this mission and purpose, the negotiation is worthwhile.
- Quiet Your Mind, Create a Blank Slate: No Exceptions, No Assumptions, No Talking. As a serious negotiator, you must learn to recognize expectations and assumptions and set them aside because they only work against you.
Why Soundview Likes This Book
Start With No takes a contrarian's perspective and reveals the logic behind an alternative to accepted norms of negotiation. Camp's straightforward language and numerous real-world examples of negotiation efforts that could have benefited from his bargaining system provide the details and the backbone to support his unique negotiations method. By breaking down his theories into simple, concise principles that are spelled out in clear language and detailed with colorful stories that illustrate his experience and wisdom, he provides strong support for those who want to "dance with the tiger" and get more from the negotiation process.